PAAO President’s Message

April 2020

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

The practice of Medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.
~ Sir William Osler, 1903

In these uncertain times of social distancing and isolation, we need to effectively reinvent the ways in which we examine and offer treatment to our patients, with the goal of protecting our patients as well as the physicians and all health care providers. The use of telemedicine has played a very important role in the diagnosis and management of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ophthalmologists continue to see patients with specific ocular diseases – that because of their nature, cannot wait to be diagnosed and treated. Our participation in the care of our patients – many of whom are in the high-risk group for this terrible viral infection – remains crucial, and telemedicine has offered many benefits during this particular crisis.

However, the use of telemedicine is not restricted to the current situation. Indeed, it has many other applications in the field of medicine and ophthalmology, acting as a bridge for medical training, enabling difficult diagnoses, sharing cases, and understanding rare diseases. In this regard, the PAAO has been a leader in this field, using telemedicine to teach and encourage discussions in several areas of Ophthalmology. In fact, the PAAO continues to offer all members high quality webinars in various fields of Ophthalmology, from cornea to retina and the optic nerve. The PAAO has a great deal of experience in these virtual lectures, which has become even more relevant during the current viral pandemic.

Due to the competence and fantastic work of our webinar experts – Eduardo Mayorga, Eduardo Viteri and Helena Filipe – the PAAO is in a unique position to offer a huge gamut of virtual lectures to its members. Even our last Executive Committee Meeting, with the presence of all 15 members, was a virtual one coordinated by our team of experts.

Following in this light, the PAAO has established a new opportunity for medical education, discussion and growth for the ophthalmological community: the PAAO Virtual International symposium (PAAO VIS). For the very first time, our association will be offering not a single webinar but rather an international symposium in various fields of ophthalmology with the goal of maintaining our community connected, learning from one another and discussing the most current aspects of our field. From May 4 to June 29, a total of 9 weekly webinars of 90 minutes will be presented each Monday at 4pm EST, each with one coordinator and 2 speakers on a particular expertise.

Click here to see the excellent program. Four webinars will be conducted in English, 3 in Portuguese and 2 in Spanish.

As your President, I am extremely grateful to our colleagues who have accepted the invitation to participate in this very first PAAO Virtual International Symposium. I know they have done so with a great deal of enthusiasm and thinking of you, the PAAO members.

We know that the current circumstances are challenging for all of us and we continue to think of all of you, your families and friends and of course all of our patients. We hope that this symposium is one of the many ways that the PAAO can continue to support you during this difficult situation.


Miguel N. Burnier Jr. MD MSc PhD

PAAO, President