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Up Front | Jun 2011

Editor’s Page

This month’s cover focus is dedicated to trends that affect ophthalmology. Five interesting subjects are covered in this issue, all of which have some impact on how we practice today.

One topic is dedicated to achieving a good work-life balance, most specifically related to women in ophthalmology. More women study medicine today, and consequently the number of women pursuing a career in ophthalmology is growing every year. Lynn Gordon, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs and a Professor of Ophthalmology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, describes how motherhood and work can be balanced—not always an easy task and often underestimated by us men. I would like to express my admiration for two women in particular, both of whom are featured in this issue. First, Jacqueline Koller, MD, is not only one of the leading ladies of ophthalmology in Belgium, but as the president of Ophthalmology Worldwide she is also very much involved in charity work. Dr. Koller describes her mission work in Congo as part of this month’s bonus feature on the humanitarian effort. Second, I recently had the privilege to get to know Vikentia Katsanevaki, MD, PhD, this month’s featured guest in the Five Questions column, during two International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) courses. Dr. Katsanevaki is an inspiration to me, and I admire her determination and professional skills.

Principles and guidelines for resident training is another topic covered in this issue. It is not always easy to educate young people to become skillful eye surgeons. Successful resident training programs require good communication skills, patience, and perseverance from the program directors. I congratulate the International Council of Ophthalmology’s Task Force on the Education of Program Directors of Ophthalmic Residencies for its efforts in developing 2-day instructional courses to instruct ophthalmic educators from around the world. This program has already been well received in many countries.

In Europe, we are not familiar with integrated eye care, but I can see many benefits to working closely with optometrists. Two US optometrists, Derek N. Cunningham, OD, FAAO; and Walter O. Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO, describe the key benefits of integrated eye care in their article. In the near future, when baby-boomers will seek our help, we will not be properly staffed to provide sufficient medical specialty eye care. Therefore, it is better to start thinking about models of integrated eye care now, weighing their advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, by understanding how integrated eye care works in the United States, we can learn from their successes and failures. Two other topics covered in this issue are social media and digital media. According to a 2010 Digitas Health survey, Europeans are more likely than Americans to use social media to search for health information.1 This statistic came as a pleasant surprise to me. With so many social media platforms available, one cannot possibly use them all. However, as one Cairo activist succinctly put it, “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”2 As I see how my daughter communicates with her friends, I fully agree with that statement.

Social media are a tremendous source of rapid, easy-to-use information. However, information can be used against you as much as it can be used to promote you. When sharing news with an online audience, it can spread like bushfire all around the world. This is true whether the news is positive or negative, in good taste or in bad taste. It is hard to undertake damage control when you are dealing with social media. Whenever you take part in this realm of the Internet, remember that your good name might be soiled within hours if not properly managed. Lastly, Eyetube.net is a valuable resource for us to share tips and tricks we use in our daily surgical routine. I would like to encourage each one of you to submit an interesting video to Eyetube.net.

I think you will tremendously enjoy this trendsetting issue.

  1. Europe edges US in social medial for health info,says study.www.mmm-online.com/europe-edges-us-insocial-media-for-health-info-says-study.Accessed May 10,2011.
  2. Miller-McCune Web site.The Cascading Effects of the Arab Spring.http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/the-cascading-effects-of-the-arab-spring-28575/.Accessed May 26,2011.