Meeting forges links

The ESCRS Winter Meeting in Belgrade featured new educational programmes and exciting symposia

Colin Kerr

Posted: Thursday, March 1, 2018

Béatrice Cochener, president of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, with Branislav Đurović, president of the Serbian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, at the 22nd ESCRS Winter Meeting in Belgrade, Serbia

For the first time in its history, the ESCRS convened its Winter Meeting in Belgrade, Serbia.

More than 1,150 delegates attended the meeting, held in conjunction with the Serbian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, at the Sava Centar.

“The Winter Meeting is very important, as in recent years it has been held in countries where ophthalmologists cannot easily access the main ESCRS Congresses,” said Béatrice Cochener, President, ESCRS. “This has allowed us to forge links with many of the emerging countries in Europe, working closely with their host national societies. Through these exchanges, ESCRS contributes to ophthalmic education all over Europe.”

“I would also like to give special thanks to the President of the Serbian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (SSCRS), Professor Branislav Đurović, for his invitation to Belgrade and for his hospitality,” said Dr Cochener. “I must also thank Dr Sava Barisic, our young ophthalmologist representative from Serbia, for all his efforts and energy in helping us to organise and promote the Meeting. The ESCRS is very grateful for the support of all the members of the SSCRS and I hope that they enjoyed a very successful meeting.”

There were very good attendances at Cornea Day (organised in conjunction with EuCornea), the Young Ophthalmologists Programme and the Cataract Surgery, Refractive Surgery and Cornea Basic Optics Didactic Courses. There were also Cornea, Cataract and Refractive Free Paper Sessions, Moderated Poster Sessions and Symposia.

For the first time the European Society of Ophthalmic Nurses and Technicians held an ESONT Didactic Day. The Serbian Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery also organised a “Near Live Surgery” session.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for their contribution to the scientific programme,” said Dr Cochener.

“With so much on offer, it will have been impossible to attend every session. However, if delegates log on to the Education Portal on the ESCRS website, they can access the sessions and didactic courses on ESCRS On Demand and ESCRS iLearn,” said Dr Cochener.

A prize of €1,000 was awarded to the best Cataract and Refractive ePoster presentations of the Meeting.

The Cataract ePoster prize winner was Alexey Vasilyev, Russia, for his poster on “The analysis of the effectiveness of IOL pneumocompression method during phacoemulsification in prophylaxis of development of lens posterior capsule opacification”.

The Refractive ePoster prize winner was Marina Dragovic, Serbia, for her poster on “LASEK for myopic anisometropic amblyopia in paediatric patients: long term results”.

Another meeting highlight was the symposium on “Keeping Calm: Stress Management During Cataract Surgery”, organised by the Young Ophthalmologists Committee.

As part of this symposium, delegates were given the opportunity to learn breathing techniques for stress management with Stig Severinsen. Mr Severinsen, MSc Biology & PhD Medicine, Freediving World Champion and multiple Guinness World Record Holder, delivered a talk on “Stress Control For Your Next Surgery”, and gave a practical demonstration on how breath control can assist in stress management during cataract surgery.

“You can use breath control to become a better surgeon in general. You can be the best surgeon in the world, but if you don’t perform under high pressure, that doesn’t matter. In critical situations, you can get better outcomes with breathing exercises and breath control,” said Mr Severinsen.

This year’s Winter Meeting also marked Dr Cochener’s first Winter Meeting as ESCRS president. “To be elected president of ESCRS is a great honour, but it is also a great responsibility,” she said. “I am following in the footsteps of the prestigious presidents who preceded me and it is my duty to ensure the continuation of the successful development of this outstanding Society.”