Colin Kerr

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

]Professor Béatrice Cochener-Lamard addressing the Opening Ceremony of the 37th Congress of the ESCRS in Paris,France.

The phenomenal success of the ESCRS has been built on a culture of innovation and a desire to keep pace with the evolving needs of its members, said ESCRS President Professor Béatrice Cochener-Lamard.
Announcing the launch of a five-year strategic plan at the Opening Ceremony of the 37th Congress of the ESCRS, Prof Cochener-Lamard said it was important for the society to innovate and fine-tune its mission to better serve its members through high-quality clinical research and education.
“This aspiration is captured in the vision statement of our strategic plan, which states that by 2025 we want the ESCRS to be the leading community and trusted source for science, education and professional development in the fields of cataract and refractive surgery,” she told the 37th Congress of the ESCRS in Paris, France.
The other key component of the strategic plan is the mission statement, which will position the ESCRS as “an independent platform to share latest scientific results and clinical knowledge, to promote research and to provide education, thereby supporting our members in continuing their professional development and delivering the best possible eye care”, she said.
The plan will focus on five principal areas, said Prof Cochener-Lamard: the members, research and education, partnerships, representation of interests and organisation and finance.
“We are here to serve you, the members, and promote a European vision of a Society that we can all participate in for the ultimate benefit of our patients,” she said.
Prof Cochener-Lamard said that the ESCRS is currently providing funding of €4 million for a wide variety of research projects in cataract and refractive surgery, with two new projects approved this year.

President Cochener-Lamard presented the Binkhorst Medal to Ehud Assia MD, at the Opening Ceremony.
The capacity to “think outside the box” and not be afraid to challenge conventional thinking represents a powerful means to advance medical science and has been the creative starting point for many key innovations in cataract surgery, said Dr Assia.
“In order to come up with new ideas and innovations we often need to think differently, to approach things from a different perspective or in an unconventional way so that we can see things that we have not imagined or thought of before,” he said.
In a wide-ranging lecture, Dr Assia spoke about the power that comes from challenging conventional thinking and how this approach directly led to his own various innovations in the field of cataract surgery.
Innovation is a continuous and ongoing process, said Dr Assia, citing the amusing quote of the Commissioner of the United States patent office Charles Holland Duell, who in 1889 stated that “everything that can be invented has been invented”.
“I think he got that one wrong,” said Dr Assia, noting that there are now over 10 million patents in the United States alone and the number continues to increase every year.

Béatrice Cochener-Lamard at the official Opening Ceremony of the 37th Congress of the ESCRS

Professor David Spalton delivered the second ESCRS Heritage Lecture at the Congress. Prof Spalton’s lecture focused on the origins of cataract surgery, taking delegates on a journey through ancient Egypt, classical Greece, ancient Rome and the medieval period right up to the advent of extracapsular surgery in the 18th Century.
He revealed the trials, tribulations and triumphs of cataract surgery as practised through the ages, describing a rich tapestry of medical history interwoven with characters such as Galen, Kepler, Rembrandt and many others.
At the end of the lecture Prof Spalton received the ESCRS Heritage Lecture Trophy from Prof Cochener-Lamard.

The winner of the ESCRS Peter Barry Fellowship Grant was Dominika Wróbel-Dudzińska.
The Fellowship of €60,000 is to allow a trainee to work abroad at a centre of excellence for clinical experience or research in the field of cataract and refractive surgery, anywhere in the world, for one year.