Testimonials from 2016 European Board of Ophthalmology Diploma award winners
Quentin de Bosredon, France, Overall Award Winner 2016
The standardisation of theoretical knowledge was the main motivation for me to take this exam. To me, being a Fellow of the European Board of Ophthalmology (FEBO) is mandatory to start a fellowship with a solid foundation. It is also a symbolic way to end the residency programme.
The viva voce part of the examination was the most interesting, as you can discuss cases with a wonderful panel of examiners coming from the European Union. It can be stressful if you are not trained to speak in public, and even more so if you are uncomfortable not speaking your mother tongue.
It was very gratifying being with my residency classmates, who all passed the exam, and receiving the overall winner award. There was a strong and positive emulation among us during our residency training and I want to thank them for that. It was a very positive experience overall. I would encourage any EU resident to take the EBO examination in order to be recognised as a fully trained ophthalmologist, with global knowledge on the wide spectrum of ophthalmological subspecialties.
My future plans in ophthalmology are a clinical fellowship at Bordeaux University Hospital in the Anterior Segment Department run by Prof David Touboul, for the next two years. My work will be focused on glaucoma, cataract/FLACS and refractive surgery. I am currently working on the SOMAL study, a prospective study on glaucoma imaging. Working with leaders in their fields and cutting-edge technology is very exciting.
Jonathan C P Roos, UK, Joint 2nd Place Overall Award
There were several reasons behind my motivation to take the EBO exam. As an expatriate Swede who has lived mainly in France and Switzerland, I feel loyal to the bigger European family, and from a personal viewpoint I want to be part of that larger European ophthalmological community. I also wanted to have some formal practice in preparation for the FRCOphth exam in the UK, where I am in my fifth year of training.
I found the EBO exam a real privilege to take – the examiners were engaged and enthusiastic, very keen to extract but also impart experience and knowledge. I learned a lot from taking it. It wasn’t easy and I was not sure I had passed.
It was a very positive experience. It was professionally run and administered, and for a huge number of candidates. That so many European colleagues would give up their time and effort to come and examine was heart-warming.
I would definitely recommend other residents take the exam. I made some good friends and greatly enjoyed getting to know some great ophthalmologists from the UK whom I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to meet, such as Prof Wagih Aclimandos and Mr Gilbert Ozuzu. The exam represents a standard for practising as an ophthalmologist in Europe. Also, from an insurance point of view, it might be helpful to show that one has achieved an internationally recognised standard of competence.
For the future, I am excited about a career in orbital surgery and am exploring fellowship options with leading centres in Europe and the US, including Prof Freitag, Dr Bohman, Mr Malhotra and Prof Rose.
Vincent Qin, Belgium, 3rd Place Alan Ridgway Award
My initial motivation for taking the EBO exam was mandatory professional recognition. In Belgium, the EBO examination, among others, counts as the national examination at the end of residency in order to be recognised as a specialist ophthalmologist. Furthermore, all of my predecessors at university took the same exam over the years, which establishes a strong precedent and tradition.
I also viewed it as the ideal opportunity to systematise and consolidate all the knowledge that we acquired during our residency years, as examinations are still the surest way to assess theoretical knowledge. Finally, a pan-European professional recognition seemed to me as an attractive way to achieve a given European standard in terms of ophthalmological competence, at least from a theoretical point of view.
Overall, taking the exam was a positive experience. It is a wonderful challenge to take, and a gratifying experience to feel “knowledgeable” after the exam is over. Meeting up with hundreds of other European residents or young ophthalmologists was definitely a cool thing. I think the EBO label is becoming more popular across Europe.
AIt is also great to be part of the same European professional certification, which reaches beyond our national borders, and being all in the same boat.
For the future, I am planning to do a fellowship either in anterior segment surgery or in oculoplastics, and in the longer-run will be developing my career in those fields.