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Today's Practice | Jan 2011

5 Questions with Anders Behndig,MD,PhD

1.What has been the most rewarding aspect of serving as President of the Swedish Ophthalmological Society?
I think the most rewarding aspect thus far has simply been being a part of this organization, with all of its members doing a fantastic job—often for free—just to help their fellow ophthalmologists. The Swedish Ophthalmological Society has a history of more than 100 years and is still a vital organization, with more than 900 members, including corresponding, retired, and honorary members. Every year, the society organizes a meeting for all Swedish ophthalmologists. Our last meeting was held in beautiful Visby, on the isle of Gotland, Sweden. These meeting are generally attended by 300 to 400 ophthalmologists, and, in addition to a rather ambitious scientific program, social activities are also planned. The Swedish Ophthalmological Society also organizes courses for residents. These courses, which are not mandatory, are quite popular. Being a member of the society for several years is a prerequisite for attending the courses. Almost all residents in Sweden join the society, and they tend to remain members throughout their careers.

2.What do you still hope to accomplish during your term?
The most important questions for me and for the society to address at present are related to education. The health care authorities in Sweden have initiated a large ongoing reformation of specialist training. This reformation is, and will be, a challenge for the society. For example, it has become mandatory for physicians to perform scientific work to become a specialist, and the society has to provide a framework for this work, in many cases including expert reviewers and tutors for this part of the specialist’s training. Additionally, a board of experts nominated by the society will now evaluate all applications for specialist competence. These and other tasks mean new and interesting challenges for the society. I am looking forward to tackling these questions.

3.What surgical procedures do you find most enjoyable to perform and rewarding once successfully completed?
I have been a cataract surgeon for many years. You might think one would get tired of performing only cataract surgeries, but for me it is still enjoyable. Cataract surgery is an elegant and effective procedure that produces great results. The procedure has also undergone fantastic developments over recent decades. Small-incision surgery and improved IOLs and phaco machines have taken cataract surgery to a new level. My colleague Björn Lundberg, MD, and I introduced the concept of intracameral mydriatics, a field of research in which we are still involved. I will participate in a course on this and other related subjects at the upcoming American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Annual Meeting in San Diego. Additionally, I am involved in the Swedish National Cataract Registry, in which more than 1 million cataract procedures have been registered. It is fascinating to follow this development and be a part of it.

4.What is your greatest motivator to practice medicine?
My biggest motivator to be a medical practitioner is helping patients with their visual problems. In many cases, restoring eyesight is my major motivator. What makes going back to work Monday morning most worthwhile is meeting grateful patients.

5.What are your interests outside of ophthalmology?
I have always been interested in music. I play the guitar, write musical arrangements, and I have also started singing in a choir recently. I think it is valuable to have interests that differ from one’s daily work. Although I like my work a lot, doing other things broadens my perspective.