Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology
SriniVas Sadda, MD
President & Chief Scientific Officer
Later today I’ll fly to the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) annual conference in Taipei, Taiwan. I make the trip because I like to hear first-hand about the challenges and concerns our colleagues are facing in that region and to advance our collaborations across the region.
Today the APAO is comprised of ophthalmologic experts working in Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. By attending the annual meeting and organizing one of the symposia, I can be sure that Doheny’s presence is seen, felt and understood as genuine and engaged.
I’m also personally intrigued by the history and reach of the APAO, so I’ll share a bit about the origins of the organization, which I find as interesting as its work today, and a good indicator of the potential for increased impact in the future. Founded in the 1960s by a European doctor practicing in Hawaii, the organization began by uniting efforts in the pacific islands with Australian opthalmalogic experts. Efforts moved eastward, encouraging cooperation in battling diseases that caused blindness in Australasia. Over the decades the work gained momentum, supporting critical research and offering treatment to thousands of patients.
In 2010, the World Health Organization published data indicating that more than 180 million of the 285 million visually impaired people in the world reside in the Asia-Pacific region. This Global Data on Visual Impairments makes a clear case that ophthalmologists in the Asia-Pacific region are vital in the global fight against preventable blindness.
It is my pleasure to serve on the international advisory board of the APAO because I know that the capacity of the organization to help doctors serve the region has been significant and continues to grow. What started as an effort to unite experts in eradicating eye disease in an era when there was no choice but to sail or fly across the ocean has morphed into a continuous online collaboration, including a web-based education component of the APAO’s work, to ensure that doctors in rural and impoverished settings can stay connected to state-of-the-art clinical practice and research.
Stay tuned for more news from the Asia-Pacific region, and our efforts at Doheny to support innovative international research and treatment of eye disease.