Mrs. Laura Malkin-Stuart interviews Dr. Francisco Contreras during the Pan-American Congress in Lima, Peru. English transcription of the interview is available below. (5:08)

Interview with Dr. Contreras – Congress PAAO 2017 (Lima, Peru)

I am with one of my favorite personalities in the world of ophthalmology, Dr. Francisco Contreras who has been appointed honorary president of the thirty-third Pan-American Congress, Dr. it is an honor to be here with you, I have enjoyed everything you have taught me over the years. What does it mean for you to be honorary president and to see the development of the Pan-American congresses because you were in the first one that was in 1962, in the inauguration ceremony and then in year 1983 and now in 2017? What does that perspective teach you?

Well first, I would like to thank Laura for the opportunity you give me to speak with such an important magazine and important publication as oftalmologoaldía and Review.
If we go back and reminisce we see that PAAO has grown over the years, not only in volume but also in its objective. At the beginning, it was focused more on the educational part and now it has extended to the preventive and promotional areas, visual health care in general. PAAO’s feels the pulse of what is needed in the world of ophthalmology.

How can a general ophthalmologist who is worried about their daily work, their clinic, also be involved in blindness prevention? Are these two compatible or does the doctor have to be dedicated exclusively to an area?

Prevention should be a part of their daily work, and all ophthalmologists have to realize that the preventive part and the service to the community increases not only the effectiveness but the quality of the service. PAAO has evolved and kept up with the times, you can see how it has grown over time and delved deeper into experiences not only for ophthalmologists but also in different areas such as visual health care, prevention, and it’s concern that eyecare be available not only for the most privileged class, but also for people with access barriers due to not only economics, but also cultural and geographical. Latin America is a multicultural continent, has a series of geographical nuances that influence the cultural part and the PAAO provides a guidance within the teaching to provide knowledge and appropriate technology depending on the situation that the region is living.

Any message for ophthalmological youth?

These international events unite us, fraternize, exchange experiences. It is very useful because it also stimulates us to move forward during the progression of ophthalmology, teaches us to mature in a series of ideas and at the same time complete them.
The professional advancement of Latin American ophthalmologists owes a great deal to PAAO’s contribution. I personal owe a great deal to the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology and to all its leaders who guided its work during the years.