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Editorial: Learning opportunities – Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill

ESCRS is a valuable resource 
for young ophthalmologists, says Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill

Sorcha Ni Dhubhghaill

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I have yet to meet a resident in ophthalmology who is not eager to learn cataract surgery. I am sure they exist, but the vast majority of residents are itching to get some hands-on experience.
Unsurprisingly, competition among these young surgeons in the making can be fierce. Time spent in the operating theatre is a scarce commodity, and not every patient or surgery provides equal learning opportunities. Much like the lottery, you’ve got to be in it to win it, but being in the theatre alone is not much of a guarantee you’ll get to learn much that day.
But there’s a lot you can learn outside the theatre by joining YO, the Young Ophthalmologists of the ESCRS. YO gets you five years of ESCRS membership for free, and the ability to attend the main event, the summer and winter meetings, at a reduced price. But that discount is just the icing on the cake.
If you have never had the chance to touch an eye, you can start out at the YO sessions at the annual meetings. These are presented by some of the biggest names in the game like Findl, Nuijts, Vannas, Malyugin and others like Richard Packard. His didactic cataract surgical course is a must for beginners and more experienced young surgeons alike.
The topics and discussions at these sessions are tailored to YOs, full of learning opportunities, yet not overwhelming. No wonder they are usually really well attended.
And the lessons you learn from them will come in handy when you encounter the biggest challenge starting out – convincing your trainer to let you actually do things.
When you’re a little bit further on, and your phacos have hit the triple digits, you start to select harder cases. As a result, your complications may increase. Again, the ESCRS has your back. Didactic and video-based courses on hard lenses, tough cases and how to manage complications are available at every meeting. The wetlabs on anterior vitrectomy really helped me keep my cool when I needed to do them in real life.
Last but not least, the ESCRS has a lot to offers outside the conferences too. The ESCRS YO website at yo.escrs.org is full of resources and opportunities including the iLearn platform, access to landmark articles, and updates from the field.
* Sorcha Ní Dhubhghaill is Professor of Anterior Segment Surgery at Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) and a Consultant Surgeon at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery (NIIOS)