The 6th ASEAN Ophthalmology Society Congress: Celebrating a Decade of Vision and Innovation

Written by: Dr. Faye Levina, Dr. Jose Carlo Artiaga

The 6th ASEAN Ophthalmology Society Congress (AOS) marked a significant milestone as it celebrated its 10th founding anniversary in conjunction with the Annual Congress of the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology. This remarkable event brought together ophthalmologists and eye care professionals from ASEAN nations, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Held from October 18 to 20, 2023, at the SMX Convention Center in Metro Manila, Philippines, this congress was a momentous face-to-face meeting following the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1858 local and foreign delegates in attendance.

The theme of this year’s AOS Congress was “Global Trends Through a Regional Perspective,” which emphasized the importance of sharing knowledge and insights from the international ophthalmological community. The event showcased updates and innovations in ophthalmology and explored a range of relevant topics such as Community Ophthalmology, Ophthalmic Education, Careers in Ophthalmology for young graduates, and the Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eye care. This diverse array of subjects reflected the importance of ophthalmology in the context of regional healthcare and global health trends. Industry lectures, plenary sessions, and a total of 41 symposia were held, featuring the expertise of 69 local faculty members and 70 foreign speakers, offering invaluable insights into the latest developments in the field.

AOS Council Members at the AOS Council Meeting held at Conrad Hotel. 

Beyond the academic sessions, the congress also included social and cultural elements of the host country. A Presidential and Welcome Reception took place at Palacio de Memoria, which witnessed the presence of esteemed leaders of the ASEAN Ophthalmology Society, the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology, as well as those of its member subspecialty and chapter societies. The PAO Dinner reception, held at the prestigious National Museum of Fine Arts, brought together PAO Council members and key Organizing Committee heads for an evening of cultural enrichment and strengthening of professional bonds. A special event for young ophthalmologists, “Cocktail Hour with the Experts,” allowed mentors to share their experiences and insights, and to guide young practitioners through the challenges and opportunities that mark the beginnings of their careers. One of the most memorable highlights of the congress was the Fellowship night, with the theme “Pista,” which showcased the vibrant Filipino culture. Attendees enjoyed Filipino cuisine and were treated to mesmerizing dance performances of Filipino ophthalmologists which were inspired by cultural festivals in the Philippines. 

PAO Executive Council 2022-2023 during the PAO Dinner reception held at the National Museum of Fine Arts (L to R: Dr. Rainier Victor A. Covar – Treasurer, Dr. Maria Margarita Lat-Luna – Immediate Past President, Dr. Maria Donna D. Santiago, Dr. Miriam Louella D. Fermin, Dr. Lyll Karen B. Arriola – Secretary, Dr. Mary Ellen A. Sy – Vice President, Dr. Vicente Victor D. Ocampo Jr – President, Dr. Ruben Lim Bon Siong, Dr. Roseny Mae C. Singson, Dr. Jeffrey C. Lim, Dr. Raymond Nelson C. Regalado, Dr. Charisse Ann S. Tanlapco, Dr. Norman Eric F. Fajardo) 

As a testament to the AOS Congress’s commitment to innovative education, delegates will continue to enjoy on-demand access to lectures until January 20, 2024. Those who were unable to attend in person can still register online until November 20, 2023 through the AOS 2023 official website. The 6th ASEAN Ophthalmology Society Congress was a resounding success, uniting the ASEAN ophthalmology community in a celebration of vision and innovation. We look forward to the next AOS Congress which will be hosted by the Brunei Ophthalmology Society.

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