PAAO President’s Message

September 2022

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

Dear Pan-American friends,

This month we chat with Dr. Martin Arrúa Caballero, president of the Paraguayan Society of Ophthalmology.

I had the honor of giving the Keynote Lecture at the XIII Paraguayan Congress of Ophthalmology, September 1-3, in Asunción. Dr. Arrua and the Paraguayan Society organized an excellent meeting.


Paulo E.C. Dantas, MD PhD
PAAO President

PD: Dr. Arrúa, many Pan-American colleagues do not know in detail what Paraguayan ophthalmology is like, the demographic distribution and the performance of the Society. Tell us a little about Paraguayan ophthalmology

MAC: The Paraguayan Society of Ophthalmology (SPO) is the scientific and professional association that brings together Paraguayan ophthalmologists. It was founded on October 24, 1956 and currently has 229 active members. Although the majority of ophthalmologists are distributed mainly around the city of Asunción and the metropolitan area, there is an increasing growth in the cities of Ciudad del Este and Encarnación. The SPO is in charge of organizing athenaeums, symposiums, courses and congresses, as well as providing advice to national health authorities in all matters related to the prevention of blindness, ophthalmologic care and the resolution of local and regional health care problems. In relation to the association, the SPO works in the harmonization and defense of the interests of our sector.

Martin Arrúa Caballero MD

Office: Adriano Irala 448, Asunción, Paraguay
Phone: +595 21 391-091
email: [email protected]

  • President, Paraguayan Society of Ophthalmology

PD: The Paraguayan Society of Ophthalmology was one of the first national societies to join the NATIONAL SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP program. What is the importance of this affiliation?

MAC: Belonging and being an active member of the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) has always been a source of pride for the SPO, being part of the National Society Membership program has been highly gratifying since it has allowed us to have a presence through courses or symposia in the different Pan American events, as well as making it possible for all our members to have more affordable registration fees for the PAAO Congresses; In fact, in the Congresses of Cancun 2019 and Lima 2017 a large number of national colleagues have been able to attend them thanks to this great benefit.

PD: I recently attended a Paraguayan national Congress with high attendance and success. I think it was the first one after the pandemic. Tell us how it happened from the beginning (planning, organization, etc.).

MAC: The SPO has organized the XIII Paraguayan Congress of Ophthalmology from September 1-3, 2022 at the Events Center of Paseo La Galeria in Asuncion, which has really turned out to be a success. It has been our first massive event since the beginning of the pandemic and we have counted with the presence of important national and international colleagues; the organization was a challenge at the beginning due to the fear of a new wave of COVD-19 that would delay or difficult its development, apart from the initial fear of the colleagues to attend an event of great concurrence, but we have overcome all these difficulties satisfactorily. It is worth mentioning the great support of the industry and laboratories for its development, betting on Paraguayan ophthalmology, since we know that the pandemic has hit all sectors economically. Based on these positive results, we are already planning all our scientific events in person for 2023.

PD: Few people know that in Paraguay the official language is Guarani Avañe’ẽ and Spanish is a second language. Do you think this has any influence on the communication with the population’s education plan.

FBR: Guarani or Avañe’ẽ, is the mother tongue in many Paraguayan homes, inherited from our ancestors. It is spoken by almost 90% of our population and is present in day-to-day communication with our patients. Guarani is a language mainly used orally, which has been transmitted from generation to generation without losing its strength. Nowadays, it is compulsory from primary to tertiary education and its presence is predominant in all the towns and cities of the interior of our country. Any education campaign aimed at the population should be designed and disseminated using Guarani as the main communication tool, which will allow for a greater impact. It should be noted that Guarani or Avañe’ẽ has always acted as a connecting and cohesive element throughout Paraguayan society.