The concept of Young Ophthalmologists was popularised by the formation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. ( AAO )YO committee. But, recently I learned from my Danish friend Dr Danson Muttuvelu (Past Chair, FAYO) that their YO society ( FAYO ) was formed way back in 1981 and has been doing some incredible work in uplifting YOs in their country.
European Society of Ophthalmology ( SOE ) YO established in 2011 has been able to build an extensive network of YOs from across the European countries and has done a great job in connecting and educating them. Similarly the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO)YO has connected YOs from all across Americas.
The Young Ophthalmologists Society of India ( YOSI ) was established in 2014 and is affiliated to the All India Ophthalmological Society ( AIOS ). It has slowly grown to be one of the biggest groups of YOs and is working extensively on providing YOs with a suitable platform, generating relevant resources for them and escalating their concerns to higher authorities. It is currently led by Dr Digvijay Singh ( President ) & Dr Diva Kant Misra as the Secretary.
Singapore Society of Ophthalmology (SSO) formed in 2016 is a very active YO group and is presently led by Dr Wong Chee Wai. Hong Kong Ophthalmological Society (HKOS) YO led by DrJoy See Leung and Dr Lawrence IU is another prominent YO committee in the Asia Pacific region. Indonesian Ophthalmologists Association (IOA) has a Young Ophthalmologist Division led by Dr Bayu Sasongko.
Malaysia Ophthalmology Society (MOS) has recently started the Malaysian Young Ophthalmologists Special Interest Group presided by DrSudhashini Chandrasekaran. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has a Young Fellows Advisory Group.
Most recently, we have started making efforts to form an Asia Pacific YO group. We have been joined by YO representatives from 22 Asia Pacific countries and hopefully we will soon have a common YO platform.
The Ophthalmology Society of South Africa (OSSA) YO led by Dr Sanushka Moodley is a prominent YO committee in the African continent and Young Ophthalmologists of Morocco (YOM) has been recently constituted under the leadership of Dr Imane Tarib.
Young Eye Surgeons (YES) of American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery , Young Retina Specialists (YOURS)of Euretina, ESCRS YO, Young Ophthalmologists Retina Imaging Society ( YORIS) are some of the sub-speciality YO groups from around the world.
It is extremely important for YOs to travel and communicate beyond national boundaries. I have been lucky to be part of some very vibrant Global YO programs like the one organised by DrJanice Law (Chair, AAO YO) and her YO team at AAO 2019, San Francisco, Global YO sessions at Turkish Ophthalmological Association Annual Conference 2019, Antalya organised by Dr Çağatay ÇAĞLAR,Dr Murat Hasanreisoglu and theTOD GO Team and the Global YO symposium at 35th Singapore-Malaysia Joint Meeting 2020 in Singapore under the leadership of Dr Marcus Ang ( Past Chair, SSO YO) and Dr Wong Chee Wai ( Chair, SSO YO). APAO Congress & APVRS Congress have been regularly conducting YO symposiums. All these sessions have been such a wonderful experience and have helped me extremely to evolve our own YO sessions back home. It has helped us to build friendships and relationships globally.
International travel and conferences might be affected for some time in the future. But, we live in a digital age and it has never been easier to connect and network with our ophthalmology colleagues from around the world through the various video conferencing tools at our disposal.
There is need to develop a global platform where we can bring together YO leaders form all over the globe and have a multi cultural and multifaceted exchange of ideas and resources. All of us face unique challenges and we can help others from our experiences and learn from theirs as well.
As YO’s we hold the future of our profession in our hands and this global partnership will open up unprecedented avenues for collaborative projects, research and training opportunities.