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Today's Practice | Jun 2010

5 Questions with Armin Scharrer,MD

1.What differentiates the DOC annual meeting from other ophthalmic conferences?
The DOC is an international congress of German-speaking ophthalmic surgeons that draws approximately 5,000 participants every year. The meeting is a 4-day event that features a live video surgery session on challenging cases from various operating theaters in Germany, and roundtable and panel discussions that explore controversies in ophthalmology. The meeting also offers instructional courses, wet labs, and a seminar series. Scientific free papers that cover all fields of ophthalmic surgery are also presented.

2.What is the most challenging aspect of being the president of two ophthalmic organizations?
Overseeing two organizations requires an immense amount of time and energy. The tremendous staffs that I work with make my jobs manageable.

The DOC has an outstanding international program committee, which includes Susanne Binder, MD (Austria); Eduard Haefliger, MD (Switzerland); Bernd Kirchhof, MD (Germany); Michael C. Knorz, MD (Germany); Gunter K. Krieglstein, MD (Germany); Rupert M. Menapace, MD (Austria); and Thomas Neuhann, MD (Germany).

We are also proud to have an excellent scientific advisory board: David J. Apple, MD (United States); Patrick I. Condon, MD (Ireland); Eduard Haefliger, MD (Switzerland); Klaus Ludwig, MD (Germany); John Marshall, PhD, FRCPath, FRCOphth (Hon) (England); Charles McGhee, MD (New Zealand); Klaus Miller, MD (Austria); Marc Mullie, MD (Canada); Thomas Neuhann, MD (Germany); Manuel Ober, MD (Germany); Thomas Olsen, MD (Denmark); and Emanuel S. Rosen, MD (England).

The BDOC has an outstanding management team in Eva Hansmann and Uta Webersin, and a highly experienced board of German ophthalmologists that includes Kaweh Schayan-Araghi, MD; Monika Gamringer, MD; Ulrich F. Giers, MD; Bernd Kirchhof, MD; Norbert Körber, MD; and Andreas Mohr, MD.

3.What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in assuming a leadership role?
To be a successful leader requires hard work and exceptional organizational skills. Beside the necessity of having an excellent team around you, it is imperative that you learn to focus on the truly important issues to avoid wasting time on things that do not matter.

4. Since you first entered practice, what surgical technique has had the biggest impact on vision?
In my opinion, the development of bimanual phacoemulsification and intravitreal injection of medications to treat posterior segment disease, specifically bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech, Inc., San Francisco), ranibizumab (Lucentis; Genentech, Inc.), and pegaptanib sodium (Macugen; ([OSI]EyeTech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Palm Beach Gardens, Florida), have most significantly improved patients' vision.

5.What have you not yet done that you would like to accomplish in the future?
In the future, I would like to spend much more time with my wife Barbara, and my kids, Sarah, David, and Lisa.