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In Conversation With: Professor Bernie Chang - President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Eye News spoke to Professor Bernie Chang, President of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, about his highlights so far, the curriculum update being delivered tomorrow, and the innovations required to run the Congress this year.


Steve Thomson, of Heidelberg Engineering, presents his artwork to Nick Smith. Nick generously donated to Fight for Sight, and told Eye News the piece will be a gift. Find more information on Steve's art, their titles, and how and why to donate here - alternatively, come and admire them in-person at Stand 24!

Nick Smith (left) is handed by Steve Thomson (right) a beautiful work of art (centre).


In Conversation With: Denize Atan (UK-EGG)

We spoke to Denize Atan, co-president of the UK Eye Genetics Group, about their upcoming meeting in June, and her recent session entitled ‘Neuro-ophthalmology Nightmares’.


WATCH: We had a go on the Eyesi Surgical cataract simulator, from Haag-Streit, with suitably worrying results! See our trials and tribulations on our Instagram page.


Your trusty Eye News team continue to bring you updates live from the RCOphth.


In Conversation With: Niven Smith (Glaukos)

Eye News spoke to Niven Smith about Glaukos, exciting products and developments, and how they plan to innovate.


Guide Dogs: Guiding the Way - How we can Support Our Patients (Carron - 8:30am)


The early session on Tuesday considered the role of guide dogs in ophthalmic services, and how clinicians can better understand how and when to recommend them.

The sessions began with an overlook at the foundations which should be laid before guide dogs are considered a possibility for the visually impaired. The Guide Dogs group recommend that children and young people with visual impairments become accustomed to being around and taking some responsibility for dogs in their early years. The group announced a UK-wide curriculum which focuses on habilitation for dogs within the home, and for children around dogs. One of these services are 'buddy dogs' - animals which do not make the grade as guide dogs, but which are ideal in offering companionship for children and young people with visual impairments and their families.

The second talk was held by Mike England. Mr England examined the intricacies and potential difficulties for the recommendation of guide dogs within the ophthalmic sector. Guide Dogs utilise specialist rehab officers for the visually impaired, and recommend the use of functional visual aids such as technology appliances and apps before guide dogs enter the conversation. Guide Dogs recommend clinicians view their website in order to better understand the wide range of services they offer: 

Mr England emphasised the necessity to manage patient expectations when guide dogs enter the conversation. He broke down the roles which form the guide dog-owner relationship. The dog takes on the role of the pilot, and the owner that of the navigator. Guide dogs are trained to walk in a straight line, make their way around obstacles, and stop when told to do so. Whilst they may be able to locate a button at a pedestrian crossing, they are unable to look both ways and follow the Green Cross Code. As Mr England elaborated, guide dogs are not an equivalent to Google Maps.

The owner maintains full responsibility for the guide dog, and must continue to train, exercise and build a relationship with it. Clear roles must be in place, and a high level of trust. Orientation and mobility skills are key, as guide dogs, often beginning their work at two years old, require consistent stimulation, exercise and work. 

The talk underlined the importance in understanding the complexities of the dog-owner relationship. That relationship, however, has the capacity to be life-altering for the visually impaired. As Mr England concluded, with a quote from a guide dog owner: "I waited 14 months for a dog, now I've got him and he's amazing. I now have confidence when going out, even when it gets dark. The dog had made an amazing difference to where I can go, and what I can do socially."


Hello, good morning, and welcome, to Day 2 of the RCOphth Annual Congress, brought to you by Eye News. 

We will have more interviews, reports and competition updates throughout the day. Keep your eye on our social media channels for pictures and live reports. Read through our highlights from Day 1 with your morning coffee here.


Click here for RCOphth Annual Congress - Day 3