As 2022 draws to a close, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year 2023!
May you enjoy a peaceful time with your families and loved ones and realign your mind and energy to fulfil your passions and dreams, whether for personal or professional purposes.
As the compliments of the season come with reflection, I would like to take this chance to not only thank everyone for being with EAOO in 2022 but also to share this year’s successes and next year’s opportunities.
Many exciting events took place this year. The three main highlights I would like to share are:
- A successful Academy conference in Dublin in May 2022, the first in-person gathering since the pandemic hit our societies. Over time, the Academy has proven that scientific conferences organised every year are essential momentum for advancing Optometry and Optics across Europe. We were very pleased to see again so many delegates from different countries, participating in workshops, attending lectures, and enjoying networking in Dublin.
- A renewed EAOO board team with new leadership dynamics and increased interactions. The European Academy of Optometry and Optics was presented at the SILMO’22 Paris Optical Show, September 23-26. We had the pleasure of meeting many of the EAOO members, contributors, supporters, friends, and all other visitors, including young people opticians and students. It was a great opportunity to renew relationships, make new connections, discuss inspiring topics around optometry and optics in Europe, and promote our next annual conference EAOO 2023 in Poland.
We recently launched our new online identity (website) works at: https://eaoo.online. The field of professional development is still under construction. We would like to hear from contributors willing to share content (posters or presentations) from previous EAOO conferences to appear on the website.
The EAOO’s Academy Hour is a new initiative with open access to anyone who is interested in eye care to come together with Academy members and Fellows to share/learn/discuss current topics in the sector. This is a friendly interactive forum for sharing ideas and collaborating with others in the profession.
- The European Academy of Optometry and Optics’s new Strategic Plan, an ambitious but attainable 2023-2024 roadmap. I want to thank the people who made it happen.
These are, first of all, the trustees. After each Board meeting, I gained more and more confidence and inspiration. The meetings were always very constructive, and the discussions developed in good harmony and with respect for each other’s arguments. Thank you, trustees, and also thank you members of the Educational Committee for your ongoing commitment to the Academy’s values and strategic goals.
2023 is set to be an exciting and tough year; with the world facing a deepening economic crisis, a war in Ukraine, worsening climate impacts, and continuing Covid-19 recovery, the eye care profession is at the heart of these challenges. However, it is also a unique opportunity for all of us to build on our foundations (knowledge, skills, network, values…) and provide an adapted roadmap for optometry and optics to address the challenges of the changing world.
Albert Einstein was a brilliant but absent-minded professor. It so happened, that he handed out to each of his students a completed test to answer again. Approached by his assistant who told him of his mistake, he replied: “The questions may be the same as years ago, but today the answers are different.”
If I had to prioritise three of many initiatives to focus on in 2023, I would mention:
- The main event – our annual EAOO conference will take place from 11-14 of May in Poznan2023;https://eaoo2023.com The broad theme “Eye care in the changing world” will be motivating you to travel with the promise of getting new answers and solutions to the challenges of the changing world.
- Every year our Fellowship programme recognises and rewards individual members of the Academy who have made a significant contribution to optometry and optics at a local, national and/or international level. Next year we expect new Fellows to join us.
- Lunch of our Educational platform – аn important priority for the Academy will be to open up its online services to extend its reach to a larger and wider audience. We will provide opportunities for educational discussions outside of the Annual Meeting through the Academic Hour forums, virtual lectures, and workshops. For all the above initiatives and more to come in 2023 , please stay tuned and follow us on the EAOO’s social media : LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Finally , let me share some more personal thoughts .When I accepted the role of President, I did not expect that I would go through such times. On the one hand, I feel the challenge of these difficult times, the restrictions on operational freedoms, on the other hand, I know that I can count on the great work of the Board of Trustees the members of the Education Committee , and last but not least the administrative support of our partners from the Association of Optometrists in Ireland (AOI). But the greatest motivation and inspiration are you – the members and fellows of the Academy.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I feel confident that we will grow our success in 2023 and beyond !
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