All of us have had to adjust to new ways of working and living in the last year as we face a global pandemic. The SOC is no different and the Autumn meeting this year was the first ever virtual SOC meeting, hosted in partnership with Eyenews. With this in mind, the theme of the meeting was “firsts”, with the four main speakers reflecting on something they encountered in their careers that went to change or shape their clinical practice or research direction. Delegates were invited to submit entries for e-posters, which were hosted on the eyenews website. The use of teleophthalmology and virtual clinics were a common theme in the poster entries, as well as some from engineering students about future ophthalmic imaging and diagnostic tools. Submissions were also invited for the best OCT image and for short videos from trainees talking about a “first” for them, such as the first time they performed a particular procedure or saw a particular condition and how that potentially influenced their practice.
The meeting kicked off with SOC president Bal Dhillon welcoming over 200 delegates to the first ever virtual SOC meeting.
Dr Lloyd Warren then presented his winning e-poster on the use of an unstructured data mining tool to audit the NHS GG&C uveitis service, looking at visual outcomes and systemic side effects of second line immunosuppression in patients with sight threatening uveitis.
We were then treated to talks from four of our Professors in ophthalmology in Scotland. First up was Professor Gordon Dutton talking about research and writing his first ever paper. He went on to outline some very useful advice for trainees thinking about starting research and writing articles for publication.
He was followed by Professor Carrie MacEwen who talked about a clinical case of blow-out fracture in a paediatric patient that she learned from and that changed her clinical practice and also paved the way for research interests in her future career. She also described how this enabled her to teach and train others.
Professor Brian Fleck then spoke about how an early experience with retinopathy of prematurity as a senior registrar influenced his career path, choice of subspecialty and the different research that it led to him becoming involved with.
Finally, Professor John Forrester described how the clinical problem of non-resolving vitreous haemorrhage that he encountered inspired him to consider this at a molecular and cellular level and led him into laboratory research. This initial interest continued to develop and influenced his interest in uveitis which continued throughout his career.
The meeting closed with a Q&A session with the four main speakers and the announcement of the three other prize winners:
The next SOC meeting is due to take place in February 2021.
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