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Editorial: A new normal

Oliver Findl

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As Chairman of the ESCRS Young Ophthalmologists Committee, I have observed with great pride over the past few months the courage that our YOs have shown in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am very pleased to see that some of these YOs have contributed to this issue of EuroTimes, which has a special focus on Young Ophthalmologists.
When elective ophthalmological procedures were shut down in our clinics in the early months of the pandemic, YOs were called on to join the frontline teams treating patients who had contracted the virus.
Some junior residents were retrained to work in emergency departments, and others were given responsibilities that would have taken them outside of their comfort zones as trainee ophthalmologists.
As we begin to return to “normal” work, our YOs will face many challenges in the months ahead. They will have to relearn some of the surgical skills they had been perfecting as opthalmologists starting out in their careers. They will also have to resume their studies as they prepare to sit examinations that will decide their future career paths.
There has been a lot of talk about the New Normal, but we may be surprised how quickly we return to our old patterns of living and working. Of course, we cannot forget the continuing threat of COVID-19, but we must hope that a vaccine will be found to treat the virus and to reduce its threat to society.
As my friend and colleague, Professor Rudy Nuijts, President of the ESCRS, has pointed out, one regrettable casualty of the COVID-19 crisis is the 2020 live ESCRS Congress, which was to be held in Amsterdam in October. Instead, we will host our first ESCRS Virtual Congress on Friday 2 October through Sunday 4 October.
The good news is that our face-to-face meeting will be replaced by a Virtual Meeting, which will include the Young Ophthalmologists Programme. The ESCRS Programme committee has been very busy preparing for the meeting and we can look forward to virtual presentations featuring world-class research in an interactive setting.
Watch for more details about the meeting in EuroTimes and at www.escrs.org and I look forward to meeting you “virtually” in a few months’ time when we will take the opportunity to renew old friendships and make new friends in our ever-expanding ESCRS family.
Stay safe, and see you in October.
Professor Oliver Findl is Chairperson of the Young Ophthalmologists Programme and Secretary of the ESCRS.