VIENNA — Improving education and opportunities for young ophthalmologists across Europe is one of the priorities of the European Society of Ophthalmology, according to a speaker.
The results of the EBO Surgical Skills questionnaire, disclosed at the SOE meeting by Marko Hawlina, MD, PhD, chairperson of the SOE Education Committee, highlighted a situation of extreme disparity between study curricula for ophthalmology across Europe, in addition to a chronic lack of opportunities for surgical training in most countries. Offers for fellowships are also few and seldom publicized.
“We oscillate between the two extremes of the U.K., where extensive surgery is required and training takes 7 years, and some countries where residency is 2 years and not a single cataract operation is performed. In other countries, such as Switzerland, intraocular surgery is not a part of the core curriculum and is only learned during additional years of fellowship,” Hawlina said.
Most countries agree that surgical training should be part of the core curriculum and that a realistic minimum number of procedures should be defined and accomplished. Most countries also agree on the need for further developing surgical skills during fellowships.
In continental Europe, however, few centers offer fellowships, and the information on what is available and where often does not reach potential beneficiaries.
The SOE is currently developing an action plan to identify university centers capable of providing formal fellowships in continental Europe, to raise financial resources, and to create a Web platform to provide information and publicize fellowship opportunities, linked to the SOE Young Ophthalmologists program. The plan will also include actions for gradual harmonization of medical study curricula across Europe. — by Michela Cimberle
Disclosure: Hawlina reports no relevant financial disclosures.