“There Is a Commitment to the Training Centre” – Interview with Congress President

The DOG 2014 is bound by the motto “Qualification: Our Commitment”. Congress President Professor Johann Roider explains why he has chosen this motto, what is new and what the participants can look forward to.

Question: Professor Roider, you have chosen the congress motto “Qualification: Our Commitment”. What commitment is this?

Roider: First of all, this is between trainers and trainees. Unfortunately a competitive situation now often arises between teachers and former students. For example, if a hopeful specialist – after having finished his training and now working in private practice – tries to gain an advantage over the health insurance companies by declaring that he could perform a particular operation very quickly, this fellow should not forget that he himself was once slow before he was trained! If the give and take between the generations breaks down and the mutual commitment pact is terminated, then who is going to guide young physicians in the future? There are great facilities which qualified doctors can buy into, but they do not train themselves; would it not be right and proper if they paid transfer fees to the universities? This presumably does not happen in medicine, but poignantly portrays the problem! But the knowledge that one has acquired is a commitment. This includes ensuring that clinically active doctors present their findings and put forward their findings for discussion. In the United States this is routine. There retinal practice, for example, works together with the university and clinical research has proportion and weight. We must face open discussion, otherwise knowledge is lost.

Question: In recent years there have been some innovations in the congress. What awaits the congress visitors this year?

Roider: The “DOG Kontrovers” format is new. We want to display essential facts for and against, to clearly identify what is good and what is bad for both new and established therapies. Straightforward talk format to some extent, TV broadcasts, but also American congresses have inspired me. As topics, for example, Ocriplasmin versus vitrectomy, femtosecond cataract surgery, crosslinking and dietary supplements are envisaged. Also worth debating is silicone oil, which is used increasingly often and in my estimation is related to unclear vision loss. Mention should also be made of radiotherapy in AMD, which is being pursued with a vengeance, although its significance has not yet been described.

Question: What scientific highlights can the participants look forward to?

Roider: In my view, the laser symposia should definitely be included. We live in an injection-stressed era, the laser seems to have fallen behind. However, in some diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, a lot is happening in this area. Repeated and gentle lasers can today bring about a stabilisation of the disease. In addition, we find symposia on topics which do not necessarily belong to the established training canon; for example on Thursday ocular lymphoma, and on Friday the “mystery vitreous” or “The innate immunity in the retina and choroid”. Another highlight: On Saturday, Michael Trese, the proven premature infant specialist from Detroit, will contribute “How to understand ocular biology and optimize intravitreal therapies”. And of course the Consilium diagnosticum is one of the highlights!

Question: What is, in your view, particularly relevant for practice?

Roider: Certainly the DOG-Update. There, experts will present all relevant changes that are important for established and primarily clinically active ophthalmologists.

Question: Your personal tip for the Congress?

Roider: I am particularly looking forward to “DOG-Kontrovers” on the retina and anterior segment which should be exciting. Also the Geriatrics Symposium is a promising subject area which has, without doubt, been under-represented in the field of ophthalmology.