PAAO President’s Message

October 2023

Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President, 2022-2025

Dear Pan-American friends,

This month we chat with Dr. Gustavo Avilés Calderón, president of the Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology in Peru.

I had the opportunity to be invited as speaker to the INCCA 2023 meeting (9th International Congress of Cornea Refractive and Cataract 2023) in Lima, Peru, last June and met Gustavo there.

Gustavo is a right person, in the right moment, to lead the Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology in this delicate economical scenario in Lima, Peru.

I took the opportunity to met him and chat personally with him. Below is a summary of our conversation.


Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President

PD: What are the most pressing problems or challenges currently facing the field of ophthalmology in Peru?

GAC: The economic limitations of the country are also reflected in the horizontal teaching of medical specialists in training, at the hospital sites due to the various shortages of logistical resources, especially at the time of the pandemic.

Therefore, to enhance the academic education of medical residents in training, the SPO after a marketing and feasibility study invested in a self-financed project, buying a cataract surgery simulator and then made an agreement with the pharmaceutical industry providing full scholarships to do the course to 100% of medical residents regardless of universities, hospitals or cities in the country, providing them with a modern and unique academic tool for everyone.

PD: Can you share any advances or recent advances in ophthalmology that have had a significant impact on patient care in Peru?

GAC: The Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology has in its organizational structure 9 Peruvian chapters and 3 working groups representing each of the subspecialties. Each of these 12 groups meet once a month from March to November, developing virtual academic activities of high academic level with the participation of international speakers and assistants thanks to technology, and this academically capitalized with the sponsorship of the Medical School of Peru and some university support, which provides valid points for recertification as a specialist, a necessary document to practice the specialty in the country.

Dr. Gustavo Avilés Calderón MD PhD

Office: Av. Javier Prado Este 4473, Piso 8, Centro Empresarial OPB, Urbanización Neptuno, Santiago de Surco, Peru
Phone: (+01) 405-6781; (+51) 946-432-475; (+51) 985-025-880
Instagram: glaucomasalud
Facebook: GlaucomaSalud – Clínica Oftalmológica
LinkedIn: glaucoma salud
emails: [email protected]; [email protected]

  • President, Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology (Peru)
  • Medical Director, Glaucomasalud Clínica Oftalmólogica
  • Presidente del Comité de Especialidad Residentado médico en Oftalmología de la Universidad San Martín de Porres (USMP)
  • Post-graduate faculty, School of Human Medicine at USMP
  • ExPresident and founder of the Peruvian Chapter of Glaucoma
PD: How is the Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology working to ensure that ophthalmic care is accessible and equal for all Peruvians, regardless of socioeconomic status or location?

GAC: We are working on a multidisciplinary project between the 4 health sectors of the country (Ministry of Health, Social Security, Armed and Police Forces and other private institutions) to increase the number of corneal transplant surgeries. Historically we have managed to bring together the 4 sectors in this specific objective and as SPO we are leading their training with workshops by international experts in different surgical techniques of corneal transplantation, as well as channeling as SPO the efforts with the corresponding authorities to unlock the regulatory bureaucratic obstacles, and subsequently implement a campaign to raise awareness and generate a culture of donation.

From left to right: Dr. Ivy Eléscano de Avilés (Peru); Dr. Gustavo Avilés Calderón (Peru), President of the Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology; Dr. Paulo Dantas (Brazil), PAAO President; Mrs. Agda Rosatelli (Brazil); Dr. Neto Rosatelli (Brazil); Dr. Germán Bianchi (Argentina)
PD: What initiatives or programs is the society involved in to promote eye health awareness and education among the general public?

GAC: We have incorporated to the SPO a team of publicists, where we have implemented a virtual micro newscast in which we periodically develop and upload to our social media useful information, directed to the general population, in order to raise awareness of the importance of certain ophthalmologic diseases and generate in them a culture of prevention of eye health in various diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, amblyopia, etc.

In this sense, we recently spoke out on television and in our social media about the importance of understanding the photothermal damage that would be generated by the direct visualization of the lunar solar eclipse on October 14 and the preventive measures to avoid complications of this natural phenomenon.

For the World Glaucoma Week, every year we also hold virtual lectures for patients during the 5 days of the week on very specific topics, called “talking to the patient” by members of the Peruvian Chapter of Glaucoma, and we urge as Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology, with letters to all heads of ophthalmology services in the country to develop ophthalmological campaigns regarding the date and occasion.

This same exercise is replicated for the celebrations of the world day of other frequent pathologies.

PD: Can you tell us about any upcoming events or projects that the Peruvian Society of Ophthalmology is planning to support the advancement of ophthalmology in Peru?

GAC: We are organizing together with the Elena Barraquer Foundation, to develop by the end of April 2024 a surgical campaign with the objective of reaching in 1 week 1,500 cataract surgeries to a Peruvian population without eye health coverage in the interior of the country.