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Editorial March 2017 – Listen and learn, says Anat Loewenstein MD

One of the key functions of EURETINA is to ensure that young retinal specialists are trained to the highest standards

Anat Loewenstein

Posted: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It is with great pleasure that I am writing this editorial for the first special retina edition of EuroTimes in 2017. I was recently in Vienna, where EURETINA hosted its 7th Winter Meeting. The Winter Meeting is a smaller meeting to our annual congress, but it is very important to us as it offers us the chance to meet in an informal setting and discuss some of the hot topics in our subspecialty.
We had some excellent presentations on neovascular age-related macular degeneration, geographic atrophy and computational image analyses, and the meeting was a great success.

As General Secretary of EURETINA, I am especially privileged to attend our meetings, which continue to go from strength to strength. As my colleague Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth pointed out at last year’s EURETINA Congress in Copenhagen, the growth of the society has 
been remarkable.
Sixteen years ago at the inception of the society in Hamburg, we had a gathering of only 200 delegates. Last year we welcomed over 5,000 delegates to our 16th Congress and we are anticipating another big attendance when we hold the 17th EURETINA Congress in Barcelona in September.
I am glad to see that some of the hot topics we will discuss in Barcelona are covered in this issue of EuroTimes. I took a special interest in the cover story which focuses on retinal vein occlusion. The development of new imaging techniques and novel intravitreal treatment approaches is ushering in a new era in patient management in this area and I look forward to hearing about some of the exciting developments with this when we meet in Barcelona.

‘What does the future hold?’ is a question we frequently ask ourselves when treating our patients, as we look for better drugs and better therapies to give us better outcomes.

However, I would also point out that, while it is important to learn from the past and look to the future, we should not lose sight of the present. This is especially important when we are training young ophthalmologists. Some of our trainees will become great surgeons, but before we teach them exciting new techniques, we must ensure that they learn the basics.
The most effective surgical instruction is hands-on training with students being coached by experienced surgeons during surgery and I always urge my students to listen, look and learn.

One of the most important functions of EURETINA is to ensure that our young ophthalmologists are trained to the highest standards, and for that reason, I would urge trainees to join the newly formed Young Retina Specialist Group (YOURS) and to take part in their first programme in Barcelona.

In conclusion, I would like to again thank EuroTimes for giving me this opportunity to share my views, and I encourage you to carefully read the excellent articles in this magazine and future editions.

Prof Anat Loewenstein is Chairman of the Division of Ophthalmology, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Israel, and General Secretary of EURETINA