Editorial from Dr Nino Hirnschall – Supporting YOs

Young surgeons can present their own cases and discuss them with their peers

Nino Hirnschall

Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The first members of the Young Ophthalmologists Committee of the ESCRS (YO) were selected at the ESCRS in Vienna in 2011 and I had the honour to be part of this highly active group for the first four years.
The YO Committee is chaired by Prof Oliver Findl, who deserves a lot of credit for supporting young ophthalmologists in the ESCRS.
Since the first days following the establishment of the YO Committee, the ESCRS has given YOs the opportunity to influence the ESCRS programme and to add symposia specifically designed for young surgeons.
I especially like the fact young surgeons are allowed to present their own cataract cases and to discuss them with Profs Findl, Morselli and Vannas during the Young Ophthalmologists Programme.
This year in Belgrade at the ESCRS Winter Meeting the case presentations were a big success with a large number of listeners and a lively discussion with the audience. These case discussions are always wrapped up with talks concerning single surgical steps and their hurdles for beginners. I am proud to say that I was invited to talk about biometry in this session in the last years.
But there is much more, such as the YO session with a different topic each year, dedicated instructional courses, surgical corneal and cataract wetlabs, just to name a few.
A couple of years ago, the moderated poster sessions were introduced. In these sessions several posters are presented by a moderator together with the first author of the poster. These sessions are often used by YOs to present their studies in front of a smaller audience and to ask questions.
There are also other benefits for YOs, not directly connected with the annual meetings. One example is the ESCRS Observership grant that allows young surgeons to visit another clinic and to get a €1,000 reimbursement for their stay. Another example is the iLearn platform, which is an excellent online course with more than 30 hours of material explaining all topics of cornea, corneal surgery, cataract surgery and refractive surgery (it is for free for ESCRS members).
The Peter Barry Fellowship Fellowship, introduced in 2017, is given to a surgeon each year. Last year there were three winners and I was deeply honoured to be one of them. The Fellowship allows YOs to spend 12 months in another country to perform research, clinical and surgical work. In my opinion the Peter Barry Fellowship is a great idea to promote young ophthalmologists and at the same time to value the tremendous efforts of Prof Peter Barry.
I should not forget to mention that the ESCRS membership is free for the first five years for residents. For more information visit:

  • Dr Nino Hirnschall, VIROS – Vienna Institute for Research in Ocular Surgery, Hasnusch Hospital, Vienna, Austria