Our heartfelt congratulations to those who have successfully completed their
IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowships!

Dr. Pius Kamsang Beyiah from Cameroon, Oculoplastic
Supervisor: Dr. Christine Nelson
Kellogg Eye Institute, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“I want to start by expressing gratitude to my sponsor, Prof. Babar Qureshi, and host, Dr Christina Nelson. This opportunity was a unique learning experience for me, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to go into oculoplastics. My host institution had the most serene and culturally diverse environment, which made learning very rewarding. It suffices to say I am a better surgeon now than I was three months ago, as my skill set has been refined to meet current practices. I see myself setting up a thriving oculoplastic practice upon my return, with a  focus on training and continuing education. I would say this was the most fascinating experience I have had as an ophthalmologist, coming from Africa it’s interesting to see how despite a comparable knowledge base practice is entirely different as a result of advances in research and innovation. Of particular interest to me was patient follow-up and evaluation with thyroid eye disease and ptosis. it far exceeded my expectations and the way I now look at a patient with TED or ptosis is completely different going forward. I had the opportunity to see extensively varied lid tumour excisions with reconstruction as well as some ocular surface tumors.”

Dr. Matyas Tilahun Tesfaw from Ethiopia, Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz ML
University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: Topcon Medical

“This fellowship is really helpful in increasing the quality of eye care services in developing countries! Please keep it up!
It was an honor for me to receive the three-month Ioff subspecialty fellowship in cornea and external eye with generous support from Topcon Europe Medical B.V. Saarland University Medical Centre Department of Ophthalmology which hosted my fellowship is one of the centers of excellence in teaching and clinical research. I learned far beyond my expectations from the teaching hands of prominent Ophthalmologists including Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz who has a rare complete set of expertise in teaching, clinical, research and Leadership.
I would like to say thank you so much to my sponsor Topcon Medical and my host Saarland University medical centre department of Ophthalmology.””The IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship Program has been a transformative journey, providing me with a unique blend of rigorous academic learning and practical. Being guided by some of the leading experts in ophthalmology has not only deepened my understanding of the field but also inspired me to pursue excellence in my career. Interacting with fellows from diverse backgrounds and working together has broadened my perspective and enriched my professional network.”

Dr. Dianita Veulina Ginting from Indonesia, Neuro-Ophthalmology
Supervisor: Dr. Deniz Atan (left in the picture)
University Hospitals Bristol, Dept. of Opthalmology, in Bristol, UK

Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation, Germany

“The IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship Program has been a transformative journey, providing me with a unique blend of rigorous academic learning and practical. Being guided by some of the leading experts in ophthalmology has not only deepened my understanding of the field but also inspired me to pursue excellence in my career. Interacting with fellows from diverse backgrounds and working together has broadened my perspective and enriched my professional network.”

Dr. Ogbu Nneka from Nigeria, Oculoplastic
Supervisor: Dr. Swathi Khaliki
LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I want to say a very big thank you for giving me this great opportunity to get exposed in Oculoplastic in such a distinguished hospital LV Prasad Eye Institute, with the experience I have acquired, I can now be able to attend to many Oculoplastic cases which I had not any clue on how to manage. This knowledge acquired will go a long way in alleviating the burden of Oculoplastic cases in my centre. It was really a smooth observership I had with a very big impact in my Oculoplastic knowledge.”

Dr. Anju Gurung from Nepal, Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Joshua Ehrlich
Supervisor: Dr. Sangeeta Khanna
Kellogg Eye Institute in Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I’d like to express my gratitude to AAO for generously sponsoring my stay in the USA. Without their support, the dream of pursuing a fellowship in the USA would have remained nothing more than a distant dream. The training I received at Kellogg Eye Center, under the guidance of intellectual mentors, has equipped me with invaluable skills and knowledge. I am confident that these will serve me well upon my return to my homeland. I am deeply grateful to IOFF and I consider myself very fortunate to have my portrait among the esteemed gallery of IOFF.”

Dr. Assel Konkayeva from Kazakhstan, Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Nicholas Volpe
Supervisor: Dr. Shira Simon
Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I think that this program is excellent! Thank you to both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the neuro-ophthalmology department at Northwestern University for this invaluable opportunity. During my stay, I gained extensive knowledge from leading specialists and advanced my skills using cutting-edge technologies. I am eager to implement these new techniques and insights in my practice to enhance patient care. Your support has been instrumental in my professional growth, and I am deeply grateful.”

Dr. Lilit Shakhbazian from Ukraine, Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Dr. Lars-Olof Hattenbach
in the picture: Dr. Salaheddin El Mourad Dr. Yousef Al-Akhrash
Klinikium Ludwigshafen, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Ludwigshafen, Germany

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“I just want to say i am very lucky and grateful to participate in this program. I hope i get the chance to work with the IOFF in the future. It was a wonderful experience and opportunity.
This Fellowship was an experience of a lifetime. I can’t be thankful and grateful enough for this opportunity to CBM organization and Ludwigshafen clinic, especially Prof. Hattenbach for his kindness. This experience wouldn’t have been possible without their support. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Dr. Mekonnen Dagmawi Abebe from Ethiopia, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Supervisors: Dr Snehal Ganatra and Dr Virender Sachdeva
LV Prasad Eye Institute, India

Sponsor: Light-for-the World, Germany

“I would like to thank all the IOFF team for covering all the financial needs and facilitating  the necessary legal processes  and also I would like to thank LV Prasad Eye Institute and  my brilliant and inspiring mentors Dr Virender Sachdeva and Dr Snehal Ganatra for their excellent mentorship and am 100% sure that I will make a positive impact on pediatric and neuro-ophthalmology care and service  in Ethiopia.”

Dr. Syed Wajahat Ali Rizvi from Pakistan, Oculoplastic
Supervisor: Mr Hugo Henderson
Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK

Sponsor: Zeiss
Medical Technology, Germany

“The IOFF fellowship has been a wonderful experience and a unique opportunity to hone my expertise in Oculoplastics. During my stay, I was able to witness various aspects of Oculoplastics under the mentorship of Dr Hugo Henderson, Dr Nick Koutromanos, and Dr Michelle Ting. I get to see many interesting cases in the clinics and had fruitful discussions about their management with the attending. In theaters, I had the opportunity to observe endonasal surgeries, lid reconstruction, blepharoplasties, and many others. Moreover, I cherished the meticulous handling and logical reasoning of every surgical step by all the consultants.
Towards this end, I also wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Dr Saurabh Jain, Ms Cordula Gabel-Obermaier, and the sponsors for making this possible.
It has been an excellent learning experience and I hope to implement the things that I have learnt in my clinical practice for the benefit of my patients.”

Dr. Sri Hudaya Widihastha from Indonesia, Medical Retina
Supervisor: Dr. Michael B. Gorin
University of California, Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“One of the most striking impressions from my fellowship was the level of expertise and dedication exhibited by the faculty and staff. From the very beginning, I was welcomed into an intellectually stimulating environment. The faculty members were not only highly knowledgeable but also deeply committed to mentoring fellows. Their willingness to share insights, offer guidance, and encourage independent thinking was truly inspiring.
Working in the Retinal Disorders and Ophthalmic Genetics Department exposed me to the forefront of ophthalmologic clinical practice. I had the privilege of observing and participating in cutting-edge treatments. These experiences underscored the transformative power of modern medicine and the importance of continued research and development.” 

Dr. Mfungwa Jean-Aime Kibala from DR Congo, Medical Retina
Host and Supervisors: Prof. Moncef Khairallah and Prof. Bechir Jelliti (left in the picture)
Fatoumatta Bourguiba EPS de Monastir, University Hospital, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Monastir, Tunisia

Sponsor: La Fondation Théa, France

“I would like to express my immense gratitude to the IOFF and the THEA Foundation for sponsoring my internship. I would also like to thank my host, the Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Monastir, Tunisia. Special thanks to my supervisors Professor Béchir JELLITI and Professor Moncef KHAIRALLAH. This internship has enabled me to acquire knowledge and skills that will improve the quality of my patient care.”

Dr. Erbil Seven from Turkey, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Bristol, UK

Sponsor: OmniVision GmbH, Germany

“Thank you very much, my sponsor, OmniVision GmbH, for the award you gave me through IOFF. Thank you, my host, Dr. Rebecca Ford, for providing to this clinic. Thanks to your support, I gained professional experience during the three months of my education life and had the opportunity to learn new clinical and surgical approaches. I look forward to sharing and applying the experiences I gained here in my clinic. I also got the chance to meet new colleagues and discover new places. During this process, we had the opportunity to share our experiences mutually with my colleagues. Your support to ophthalmologists eager for training, especially in developing countries, to gain new experiences in a different clinic is admirable.”

Dr. John-Sam Yetunde Olamide from Nigeria, Glaucoma
Host: Dr. Ihab Saad Othman
Supervisor: Dr. Hesham Mohamed Gharieb (to the right in the picture)
Eye World Hospital in Giza, Egypt

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“My experience at the training center was great and impactful. I observed glaucoma surgeries that i have only read in text books. it was amazing seeing it done physically. it gives me joy and hope that with the basic surgical skills i have acquired and regular wet labs session on what i have seen done at my host center i will be able to touch the lives of my patients positively.I write to say thank you to the ophthalmology foundation for the opportunity of subspecialty training.
To my host at Eye World Hospital, thank you for the skills and knowledge you have released to me, I am blessed knowing you sir. I hope to contribute to the field of glaucoma subspecialty in meaningful ways.
Thank you once again.”

Dr. Pratima Rajendra Vishwakarma from India, Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Dr. Claus Cursiefen
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Björn Bachmann
University of Cologne, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Cologne, Germany

Sponsor: Verein Rhein Mainischer Augenärzte, Germany

“My name is Dr. Pratima Rajendra Vishwakarma and I have recently completed my cornea fellowship at the L. V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India and I am currently practising at S.M. Vishwakarma Memorial Eye Hospital, Nagpur. I was selected for the IOFF-Association of Ophthalmologists from Rhein-Main Area Subspecialty Three-Month Fellowship Award in Cornea and External Diseases at the University of Cologne, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Cologne, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Björn Bachmann from February 1, 2024 to April 30, 2024. I would like to sincerely thank my benefactors Prof. em. Thomas Kohnen and Prof. Lars-Olaf Hattenbach for giving me this great opportunity. I got to observe a lot of surgeries, especially DMEK & EndoArt and learnt different types of surgical techniques. My supervisor Prof. Dr. Björn Bachmann & host Prof. Dr. Claus Cursiefen are excellent surgeons who have taught me a lot and were helpful throughout my fellowship. I also got to observe surgeries done by Prof. Dr. Mario Matthaei and Dr. Simona Schlereth and observed different case scenarios & their management in the clinics. Apart from these, I got good research opportunities too. All my colleagues were supportive and we had great clinical discussions.
This has been a superb experience for me and hope I can apply the knowledge that I have cultivated in my clinical practice and impart it to my future students too.”

Dr. Mahtab Mengal from Pakistan, Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Derek Tole (in the picture)
University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Bristol, UK

Sponsor: Oysterpoint
Pharma, USA

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to International Fellowship of Ophthalmology Committee for accepting me to the IOFF sub-specialty application and to Dr. Rebecca Ford, Dr. Derek Tole and Miss Helen for accommodating me in Bristol Eye Hospital. i would like to thanks Oysterpoint Pharma for the kind sponsorship.
It was a great experience with top notch ophthalmologists and working in one of best and high tech. hospital was really a great honor. During my time in here in BEH, I learned new surgical techniques and ways to improve the ones I was already performing. I gained an insight in how to improve resident training, research programs and patient care in my own country. I have got the opportunity to see the techniques and diseases that were mentioned in the text books, but I have never seen them in my personal clinical experience, as those conditions were not prevalent in our country and more common in western countries. It was a memorable experience and I am motivated to implementing and sharing the learned skills and gained knowledge with colleagues and juniors in my country to help poor and needy patients and to improve the health care system.”

Dr. Nguyen Dai Quang from Vietnam, Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Dr. Claus Cursiefen
in the picture: with Prof. Dr. Thomas Dietlein
University of Cologne, Dept. of OPhthalmology in Cologne, Germany

Sponsor: Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz and friends

“I am deeply appreciative of the support form Prof. Berthold Seitz, Mrs Cordula Gabel-Obermaier, Prof Claus Cursiefen and Prof Thomas Dietlein for my fellowship in Germany.
With the three months fellowship in the University Hospital of Cologne, It was a great honor for me to be supervised by Prof. Thomas Dietlein and Prof. Claus Cursiefen, experts on ophthalmology in Germany. I could learn more pearls in clinical examination as well as follow up glaucoma patients. Moreover, I could get more skills in glaucoma surgery, especially minimal invasive glaucoma surgery.
This fellowship was a great chance for me to broaden my knowledge and all clinical skills as well as surgical skills I learnt from the University Hospital of Cologne were incredible. I hope that I can apply these skills to save the sight of my glaucoma patients.”

Dr. Alejandra Gonzalez Dilbidox from Mexico, Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Mr Saurabh Jain
Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust, Dept. of Ophthalmology in London, UK

Sponsor: Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, USA

“My name is Laura Alejandra González Dibildox and I am a young Cornea specialist from Mexico, currently living and practicing in San Luis Potosí, The purpose of my letter is to thank you Tarsus Pharmaceuticals and the International Ophthalmology Fellowship Foundation for the opportunity given to me at the beginning of this year to do an International Fellowship at the Royal Free NHS Trust under the supervision of Mr. Saurabh Jain.
During that three-month period, I had many learning opportunities: I got to attend faculty and resident lectures, visiting professor lectures, also, I had the opportunity to attend a United Kingdom & Ireland Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons meeting and the Bowman Club Annual Meeting at The Royal Society in London. During clinic hours, I would accompany one of the two cornea consultants (Mr. Emil Kurniawan and Miss. Radhika Rampat) to see the multiple and complex cases that were referred to cornea clinic and tried hard to be particularly involved in the decision-making process of the treatment of these patients.
Besides, I had great exposure to Cornea surgery, watching a lot of In Vivo surgeries, especially endothelial transplantations (DMEK and DSAEK) that I had little exposure to beforehand. I also got to watch other procedures like intraocular lens exchange, complex cataract surgeries, pterygium removal, corneal cauterization.  
Now that i am back I can share all the knowledge with my colleagues and the residents in San Luis Potosi. This will be done implementing classes with the techniques I learned.”

Dr. Todrol Davadorj from Mongolia, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christoph Hintschich (to the left in the picture)
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“My time in Munich, Germany, was one of the best experiences an international ophthalmologist could have. Especially when you are from different cultures and backgrounds, I had the chance to see, study, and experience all the high standards of the German medical system and professionals. Nevertheless, my program at LMU eye clinic under Professor Christoph Hintschich was staggering and dazzling. The general feeling of the LMU-Eye clinic was that it has a rich and profound history in ophthalmology and medicine, which has become the protagonist in their ranks. Professor Hintschich is one of the great surgeons of his time.”

Dr. Ulyana Hurayevska-Olenchenko from Ukraine, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Dr. Gerd Geerling
Supervisor: Dr. Dr. Maria Borelli (right in the picture)
University of Duesseldorf, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Duesseldorf, Germany

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“The IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship is a great opportunity for further education abroad. Thanks to IOFF and the sponsor of my fellowship, CBM, for this opportunity. On the part of the host hospital in Dusseldorf, everything was also organized at the highest level! Here I had the opportunity to improve my skills in diagnosis, therapeutic and surgical treatment of many eye diseases, in particular in the subspecialty of oculoplastics. After returning to the hospital where I work, I will use the acquired knowledge and share it with my colleagues.”

Dr. Battuya Ganbold from Mongolia, Uveitis
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Quan Dong Nguyen (to the right in the picture)
Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I am immensely grateful to Prof. Quan Dong Nguyen at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University for graciously accepting me into the program and imparting invaluable knowledge and skills during my time there. His mentorship has been instrumental in shaping my understanding of Uveitis diagnosis and treatment.
I want to assure you that the knowledge and experience gained through this opportunity will not be confined to my own practice. Instead, I am committed to sharing my newfound expertise with fellow doctors in Mongolia, contributing to the advancement of Uveitis diagnosis and treatment in our country.
Once again, I extend my deepest appreciation to you and everyone involved in making this opportunity possible. Your support has not only enriched my professional journey but also holds the potential to positively impact the lives of countless Uveitis patients in Mongolia.”

Dr. Obaeda Mahmoud Almohamad Al Aber from Syria, living in Yemen, Cataract Surgery
(in the picture with Dr. Charudutt Kalamkar who is left)
Host: Dr. Charudutt Kalamkar
Supervisor: Dr. Bhavin Kumar Pathel (SICS) and Dr. Rohit Rao S. (Phaco)
Shri Ganesh Vinayak Eye Hospital in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“It is a very good program for training, I learned a lot from this fellowship and I hope to devlop my skills in future.”

Dr. Attiya Zehra Rizvi from Pakistan, Retinoblastoma
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Carol Shields
Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I would like to thank the IOFF and Wills Eye Hospital for hosting my stay and facilitating my learning process in every possible way. I was able to see a lot of challenging cases and their management strategies which will definitely improve my clinical practice. I will implement all that I have learned to improve the management and awareness of Ocular Malignancies in my country that will be directed towards saving more and more lives.”

Dr. Arsala Zaman from Pakistan, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Christoph Hintschich (felt in the picture)
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology, in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Bayer Vital GmbH

“I am honored to have been a part of the IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship at Augenklinik und Poliklinik des Klinikums LMU Munich. My heartfelt thanks to BAYER Vital GmbH for their generous sponsorship and Professor Christoph Hintschich for his exceptional mentorship. The enriching experiences and knowledge gained during my stay will undoubtedly shape my future contributions to ophthalmology, and I am eager to implement these learnings to enhance patient care and contribute to the advancement of the field.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” I am motivated to be a catalyst for positive change in ophthalmology, implementing the knowledge acquired to make a lasting impact on patient care and contribute to the progress of our field.”

Dr. Agapi Yohannes Vorperian from Ethiopia, Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Dr. Zubair Ansari (in the picture on the right)
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at University of Miami, FL, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“My time at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been nothing but an extraordinary experience. This opportunity has not only elevated the quality of my clinical skill but also played a vital role in providing me with valuable experience and exposure to standard clinical settings. It was my eye opener how other parts of the world are delivering patient care which gave me enthusiasm to strive for excellence.”


Dr. Pius Mwanja from Uganda, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology (one year)
Host: Dr. William Makupa
Supervisor: Dr Godfrey Furahini Mndeme and Dr. Mchikirwa Msina
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Dept. of Ophthalmology, in Moshi, Tanzania

Sponsor: CBM, Germany and KAKS, Germany

“In the first three months of my stay, the weather was hot and dry. Most of the land was barren or with little greenery, resulting in the sight of many withered plants.
However, with time as the weather improved and I grew accustomed, I quickly got into the groove and sailed through to complete my course.
I am forever grateful to CBM and KAKS for their generous sponsorship of my sub-specialty training. Dr. Furahini Mndeme and Dr. Mchikirwa Msina, my primary tutors at KCMC, were very instrumental.
I had a productive year of learning at KCMC in Moshi, Tanzania, where we focused on the diagnosis and treatment of various pediatric ophthalmology diseases. These included pediatric cataract, congenital and juvenile glaucoma, strabismus, ptosis, as well as several eyelid and retinal pathologies.
My recently-acquired skills will be used to fight childhood blindness in Uganda.”

In the picture: Approaching Dr William Makupa, the Head of Department, to receive the completion certificate

Dr. Asani Bienvenu Yogolelo from D. R. Congo, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Fatoumata Sylla
Institut d’Ophthalmologie Tropicale d’Afrique (CHU-IOTA) in Bamako, Mali

Sponsor: CBM, Germany and Bayer Vital, Germany

“I would like to thank my sponsors CBM and Bayer Vital GmbH for their financial support. I’m going to put everything I’ve learnt into practice in order to help the paediatric population through the various pathologies that come my way.”

In the picture, Dr. Yogolelo performs his very first Pediatric Cataract Surgery under supervision of Prof. Fatoumata Sylla (left).

Dr. Agnes Idza Kalu from Kenya, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Richard Bowman
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Dept. of Pediatric Ophthalm., in London, UK

Sponsor: Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, Belgium

“The International Ophthalmological Fellowship Foundation is doing a great job.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to express my sincere heartfelt gratitude to both my sponsor (AOI-Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis) and my host and supervisor Mr. Richard Bowman at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London UK and IOFF for the amazing opportunity this fellowship has accorded me. The IOFF-AOI Subspecialty Fellowship has greatly enriched my knowledge and skills in management of Pediatric Neuro-Ophthalmology, Strabismus and Anterior Segment, rare hereditary and non-hereditary ocular diseases. The experience has also enhanced my knowledge in utilisation of diagnostic tests especially in electrophysiology. I believe going forward, I will be able to practice Paediatric ophthalmology with more confidence and my patients will benefit greatly from the knowledge I have gained.
I am very enthusiastic to implement what I have learnt into my daily clinical practice back at my home institution and also share this knowledge with my colleagues.”

Dr. Marie-Francoise Astrid Saint-Dic from Haiti, Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec, Germany

“India shares similarities with my home country Haiti and what caught my attention is that the paying and non-paying patients have the same quality of service.
MGM Eye Institute has an excellent infrastructure that is good for training and learning with their quality of education and surgical exposure. All the consultants are highly skilled, very supportive, cooperative and approachable.
The patients from all social classes will benefit from my expertise and I will train young ophthalmologists with the same dedication in Haïti. A big thank you to MGM for allowing me to be in an environment that provides quality service at all levels. And an even bigger thank you to IOFF and Carl-Zeiss Meditec for making all this possible through their sponsorship.”

Dr. Ariunzaya Bayarsaikhan from Mongolia, Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Reeta Gurung
Supervisor: Dr. Indira Paudyal
Nepal Eye Program, Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, Nepal

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“First of all I am really appriciated and honoured to sponsered by AAO. I Hope this experience influence not only for me but also people with glaucoma in Mongolia. During past 3 months I had variety of exposure including, surgery (OT), outpatient clinic, laser treatment. I worked 6 days in a week which two morning days I attended residents class and one day our department fellows do presentation. I observed different kind of surgeries in operation theater which pediatric surgery was interesting and challanging. I learned new treatment strategy. For Glaucoma postoperative management is more important for surgery success so I had opportunity to see how they managed postop patients. During outpatient clinic, I saw different type of glaucoma patients and followed up them until they became stable. In Mongolia pediatric glaucoma prevalance is lesser compared to Nepal. So I had opportunity to see pediadric patients and see examination under general anesthesia and treatment strategy. Moreover, I also did yag laser peripheral iridotomy and yag capsulotomy. Beside of the hospital work I attended REMEH conference with department in Dulikhel and I made lot of international friends here.
Even though the fellowship was 3 months I thought it had changed my way of thinking clinically.
I am so satisfied with this fellowship program.”

Dr. Aramis B. Torrefranca Jr. from the Philippines, Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Michael Murray Jones
Supervisor: Dr. Caroline Catt and Dr. George Rennie
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Westmead, NSW, Australia

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I honestly think that there is nothing more to do but to continue this tradition of helping people globally. IOFF has done so much already in helping other nations! 🙂
With experiences, probably even if I was just an observer, the Children’s Hospital in Westmead treated me like I’m part of a team, more importantly, a part of a family. They were all very welcoming from the receptionists, the secretary, orthoptists and ophthalmologists. People were amazing! Even if I was just an observer, I was allowed to be involved in diagnosis and management of cases. Discussion of cases were the best because I get to see how things are done on the other side of the world!
Embarking on a distinguished program in Sydney, Australia has been a major win in my life. Not only was I able to experience the dedication to advancing pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus care, but I was able to make new friends and connections who openly offered a hand if I have difficult cases in my home country. The experience at the Children’s Hospital has been invaluable, allowing me to work with top professionals in the field, gain hands-on experience and contribute to the well-being of young patients facing visual challenges. I wish to appreciate the commitment of IOFF and AAO to supporting educational initiatives such as this because not only it has benefits on the personal and professional development of an individual, but it has enormous contributions to the overall growth and advancement of healthcare in one’s home country. Once again, thank you very much for your unwavering support and sponsorship!”

Dr. Anna Polinyk from Ukraine, Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Berthold Seitz
Supervisor: Dr. Shady Suffo and Dr. Alaadin Abdin
University Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to both my esteemed sponsor and the exceptional team at the University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany. The IOFF-CBM Subspecialty Three-Month Fellowship has been a transformative experience, greatly enriching my understanding of vitreoretinal surgeries, trauma cases, cornea transplantation, and advanced diagnostic procedures. I extend my deepest thanks to Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz, Dr. Shady Suffo, and Dr. Alaadin Abdin for their mentorship and guidance, which have significantly shaped my professional growth.
My fellowship allowed me to actively participate in a collaborative research endeavor, focusing on a rare eye condition. This intellectually stimulating experience not only broadened my knowledge base but also enhanced my research skills. I am excited about implementing the insights gained from this fellowship into my practice, particularly in the realm of vitreoretinal surgery and patient care. The exposure to cutting-edge medical practices, engagement in outclinic activities, and attendance at the ESCRS conference in Vienna have equipped me with the latest advancements in ophthalmology, which I am eager to apply in my future endeavors.
I express my sincere gratitude to CBM Germany, for their unwavering support throughout my fellowship. The experiences and skills acquired during this period will undoubtedly contribute to my professional journey, and I look forward to sharing my continued growth and success with the IOFF community. Thank you once again for this remarkable opportunity, and I am enthusiastic about the prospect of contributing to the field in meaningful ways.”

Dr. Senny Chapagain from Nepal, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Neil R. Miller
Supervisor: Dr. Nicholas Mahoney
Johns Hopkins University, Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, MD, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“It was an amazing experience overall.
I really appreciate the work IOFF Subspecialty Fellowship Program is doing. For someone practicing in South East Asia, these kind of experiences to learn from the experts of the field is a great opportunity. It not only helped me in my professional growth, this is a life changing opportunity. I am happy to have been a part of this program and I am sure my patients will be happier! Thank u my sponsors, Mrs Annamaria Hastings, The AAO and IOFF family.”

Dr. Sanjeeta Sitaula from Nepal, Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Prem S. Subramanian
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Aurora, CO, USA

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I had been dealing with neuro-ophthalmology patients at my hospital, did diligent reading on my part about all current literature while managing cases, reached out to experienced mentors for complicated ones but sometimes I felt the “impostor syndrome” overpower me. I simply wanted to assure that our patients were receiving the best possible treatment. I hoped to learn the nuances of Neuro-ophthalmology, but what I learnt was much more! My life was enriched by the many personal encounters and experiences I had during my stay. Neuro-ophthalmology faculty at University of
Colorado Health Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Eye Center were not only knowledgeable and great teachers, but they were also patient and kind to me. Each day was a learning adventure where I got to see the textbook findings in real life and solve the mysteries of unreckoned diagnosis. My interest in Neuro-ophthalmology and my confidence to handle neuro-ophthalmic problems has heightened even more by the end of these three months.”

Dr. Mohamed Aly Kolaib from Egypt, Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Mr. Sajjad Ahmad (left in the picture)
Moorfields Eye Hospital, NHS Foundation TRust in London, UK

Sponsor:
Trukera Medical, USA

“I am very grateful to the IOFF and Trukera Medical for sponsoring my visiting fellowship program. It has been an exceptional experience. I am very enthusiastic to implement what I have learned into my clinical practice at my home institution especially in the field of ocular surface diseases and stem cell transplantation.”



Dr. Anna Hryhoriak from Ukraine, Vitreoretina
Host and Supervisor: Prof. David Gaucher and Prof. Tristan Bourcier
University Eye Hospital in Strasbourg, France

Sponsor:
CBM, Germany

“My impressions of this training period are excellent.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to CBM. to Prof. Babar Qureshi, for the opportunity to do my vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at the Nouvel Hôpital Civil in Strasbourg to the President of the IOFF Prof. Dr. Peter Gabel, the Vice-President of the IOFF Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz, Mrs Cordula Gabel-Obermaier, the Head of the Retina Unit at the NHC in Strasbourg Prof. David Gaucher and his team and, of course, to the benefactors, who funded my fellowship.
During these three months, I had the opportunity to observe the various aspects of vitreoretinal surgery in the operating theatre and to examine patients in consultation with Prof. Gaucher and his team.
Now that I’m back home, I want to share and apply the knowledge I’ve gained.
In conclusion, I see this programme as a great enrichment and an opportunity to improve my skills.”

Dr. Jargalsaikhan Batsaikhan from Mongolia, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Huban Atilla
Supervisor: Prof. Banu Hosal
Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Ankara, Turkey

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I start immediately the followings:
– botulinum toxin injection for blepharospasm and entropion
– DCR surgery
– Lid reconstruction surgery
– Lateral tarsal canthoplasty.”

Dr. Kotob Doaa Ashraf Hessin from Egypt: Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Richard Bowman
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I can’t express my gratitude and appreciation for this amazing chanythat I had during this life changing journey.Away from the new model of treatment, diagnosis and management, my fellowship in Great Ormond street hospital was rich cultural and social experience. It was the first time to observe some rare conditions and diseases. After my return, I was able to start my pediatric ophthalmology career with more confidence.”

Dr. Ferdane Ataş from Turkey: Medical Retina
Host: Prof. Dr. med. Siegfried Priglinger
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor:
Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation

“IOFF offers a unique experience for my colleagues in developing countries who do not have the opportunity to gain different perspectives from different countries and colleagues. I am grateful for helping me to expand my perspective, renew myself in my profession, and gain many valuable experiences.”

Dr. Elif Ceren Yesilkaya from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz
University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec AG

“The program was very well planned to provide maximum benefit to the fellows. During my time, I saw advanced eye banking technology regularly and was involved in every stage of the cornea preparation process. I had the opportunity to work hard to improve my suturing technique at wet-lab and DMEK roll preparation at operating room and Prof. Seitz was particularly interested in this issue and gave valuable feedback. I had the privilege of observing a wide variety of surgeries in the operating room, including excimer laser assisted keratoplasties, double running suture techniques, lamellar keratoplasties (DMEK, DALK). Since it is one of the reference hospitals in the field of corneal diseases, I had the opportunity to observe the management of various and difficult cases both during clinic days and ward visits. Prof Seitz and other consultant doctors were generous and instructive in explaining each topic. In addition, I encountered a socially friendly environment and this was pleasing.           
Through the program, I made significant progress in preoperative decision-making, surgical techniques and postoperative patient care. I believe that I have become a more skilled corneal surgeon and that my patients in my country will benefit greatly from the experience I have gained here.”

Dr. Onyekachi Jane Ireka from Nigeria: Vitreoretina
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Henry Nkumbe
Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute in Yaoundé, Cameroon

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“My personal experience during my training is huge. It offered me the opportunity for development of self academically and socially. The exposure has built a better me. My knowledge and skills were enhanced. This was made possible by my host institution, the Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute (MICEI) Younde, Cameroon, a state of art and excellency in eye care whose mentorship program and services are top notch. I wish to express my gratitude to Dr Henry Nkumbe, the medical director of MiCEI, who was also my mentor for making the training seamless for me.
During my fellowship training in vitreoretina, I gained a vast in-depth knowledge in vitoretinal diseases; their clinical presentations, pre operative and post operative follow up of vitreoretinal patients. I learned practical and evidence based treatment modalities in vitreoretina. Also, I acquired knowledge in modern clinical, sophisticated diagnostic tools and their interpretation like Optical Coherence Tomography, OCTA, FFA etc. I also learned basic steps in retinal surgeries like Pars Plana Vitrectomy, Membrane peeling. I acquired skills in LASER like panretinal Photocoagulation, barrage lasers, laser hyoloidotomy, as well as research skills in the management of vitreoretinal diseases. My fellowship training has, in no doubt greatly improved my knowledge of vitreoretinal diseases and as well developed my professional skills. I have concluded my three months training with special thanks to Ophthalmology Foundation and team for providing the fund and to the benefit of vitreoretinal patients in Nigeria.”

Dr. Abdalrahman Ali Abdalkamel Battata from Palestine: Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Maj Gen Rehman Khan
Supervisor: Prof. Sumaira Altaf
Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Sponsor: The Sidra Tree Family Foundation, USA

“Really, I don’t know how to thank you for this great opportunity and how much surgical and clinical benefits that I got from Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital.
It was one of the greatest opportunities in my life.
I want to thank Dr Malik Kahook and Sidra Family for this opportunity.”

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Dr. Burak Mergen from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host:
Prof. Dr. Berthold Seitz
University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: Bayer AG, Germany

“I would like to thank Bayer AG for giving me this opportunity by funding my fellowship. This fellowship program on Cornea & External diseases has been a cornerstone in my career. I am grateful to Prof. Seitz and his team, and Mrs. Cordula Gabel-Obermaier for making my experience beyond my expectations.
I was assigned two different research projects on corneal biomechanics and one case report, and during these three months I was able to finish the projects. I also came up with the idea of an AI-based project on corneal neovascularization and Prof Seitz helped me with finding a relevant collaboration. I had the chance to finish this project as well.
I joined the eye bank that has the compliance with GMP conditions and attended all parts of the cornea banking process. I worked in the wet-lab and practiced cornea transplantation with the double running suture technique on pig eyes. Prof. Seitz also assisted me and taught the technique more precisely.
In the operating room, I observed excimer penetrating keratoplasties, double running suture technique, semilunar keratoplasty, lamellar keratoplasties (DMEK, DALK), amniotic membrane transplantation with sandwich technique, etc. Observing all these surgeries has been very helpful for me to learn how I can implement these techniques back in my country to improve the patient care.
All weekdays started with a morning meeting where all physicians and other healthcare employees discuss the current status of the patient care and interesting cases followed by a seminar. I had the chance to make two different presentations in the morning meetings during my visit. I attended morning ward rounds almost every morning.
Overall, this fellowship was very rewarding regarding my future career as a clinician-scientist on corneal diseases. Once again, I would like to thank Prof. Seitz and his team, and Mrs. Cordula Gabel-Obermaier for making my experience beyond my expectations and I would also like to thank my sponsor (Bayer AG) for their generous support to make this fellowship possible.”

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Dr. Astghik Kyureghyan from Armenia: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal (left in the picture)
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I am Astghik Kyureghyan, regional ophthalmologist from Armenia! I was awarded IOFF grant in cataract surgery for 3 months duration! Thanks IOFF, I could study Phacosurgery in India. My Host was MGM Eye Institute, Raipur, India! Special thanks to director MGM Hospital, Dr. Deepshikha A.. This institute provides highest quality training, including lectures, morning classes and hands on surgery… since the first day, I was included in study process with patients examination, selection and pre and post OP evaluation! Every steps of surgery was explained by high educated and qualified consultants, and during surgery consultants helped me and provided with safe surgeries for me and the patients! I participated in different classes about different ophthalmic pathologies. Thanks all consultants, especially Dr. Samrat for taking time and teaching me!! Thanks all sponsors ,thanks to them it became possible – necessary subspeciality training for the improved regional healthcare level in my country!!!”

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Dr. Adrien BIRONKWANINGUVU from Burundi: Glaucoma
Host: Dr. Henry Nkumbe
Supervisor: Dr. Martin Tchouyo
Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute in Yaoundé, Cameroon

Sponsor: La Fondation Théa, France

“I express my sincere thankfulness to the donor of sponsor, Théa Foundation and the host, Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute for their contribution to the success of that program.  
The skills from my learning and practicing of medical managing glaucoma will help me to reorganize our ophthalmology service in order to have a glaucoma guideline and a special program of taking care of patients with glaucoma.”

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Dr. Chibuzo Barbara Ekumankama from Nigeria: Vitreoretina
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
Supervisor: Dr. Anil Gangwe (right in the picture)
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: The Retina Research Foundation, USA

“I was overjoyed to receive the 1-year IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship sponsored by the Retina Research Foundation! It was a life-changing experience! I thank the IOFF immensely for this great opportunity.
I thank my host, MGM Eye Institute, in a special way led by the Director, Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal. I thank my trainers, Dr. Anil Gangwe and Dr. Swapnil Parchand for all their patience in teaching me the ropes of the Retina subspecialty!  It was not an easy task as I had no prior experience in Retina.
I am already applying what I learned and also teaching my resident doctors, thereby helping many patients.
THANK YOU”

Dr. Boma Ruth OBUOFORIBO from Nigeria: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Supervisor: Dr. Nikhilesh Wairagade
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“The experience was rewarding. The training was structured and good, gained a lot of skills and improved in patient handling. I particularly loved the wetlab exposure. It helped to build confidence and mastery in the steps in cataract surgery
I hope to set up a similar experience in my home institute to improve the surgical skills.”

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Dr. Ugur Tunc from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Ass. Prof. Sezen Karakus
Supervisor: Ass. Prof. Sezen Karakus
Johns Hopkins University, Wilmer School of Medicine, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Baltimore, MD, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“The IOFF offers a great chance for budding young ophthalmologists from various developing countries. I believe this organization can lead to significant global improvements, much like a butterfly effect. I have a strong desire to become a member of this respected organization in the future.”

Dr. Thiago Carvalho BARROS DE OLIVEIRA from Brazil: Pediatric Ophthalmology
(in the picture with Dr. Peter Campell)
Host: Dr. Kevin Winthrop
University of Oregon, Casey Eye Institute in Portland, OR, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation

“The program is spetacular, hopefully more spots will be available in the following years..”

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Dr. Shalva Skhirtladze from Georgia: Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Thomas Kreutzer
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Dr. Theiss Naturwaren GmbH, Germany

“It is really great experience to become IOFF fellow! I am very lucky to be chosen. I have gained great expertise and knowledge thanks to this fellowship opportunity.”

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Dr. Asha Udu Muhdhar Yusuf from Kenya: Glaucoma
Supervisor: Prof. Sirisha Senthil
LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“I would like to appreciate the International Christopher Blind Mission (CBM) and International Ophthalmological Fellowship Foundation (IOFF) managers for the golden opportunity in giving me a chance to do the 3-months short term fellowship in glaucoma.
I am very grateful to Professor Sirisha Senthil, the staff and fellows in glaucoma department at LV Prasad eye institute for the warm welcome and making my stay comfortable during my fellowship.
I had a memorable experience during my stay, and I achieved most of my objectives. Training sessions were a combination of grand rounds, clinics, wet labs and observing theatre procedures. During the period I learnt a lot in terms of diagnosis and management of glaucoma patients and I was also given a chance to scrub for some surgical procedures. I was fortunate to attend a glaucoma symposium which was held in the LV Prasad Eye Institute and even participated in some of the activities during World Glaucoma Week.
I strongly believe that patients in my country will get improved level of eye care services from the knowledge and skills that I have acquired from the institution.”

Dr. Belay Mulugeta Yizengaw from Ethiopia: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Christoph Hintschich
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Eyeclinic, in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

From the letter to the cponsor CBM
“I would like to thank you for sponsoring me to do my subspecialty fellowship in Oculoplastic at LMU (Ludwig’s Maximillian University), Munich from July 1st to September 30, 2022. It was a special chance for me to meet my goal, which could be impossible without your support. It is also an indirect donation to our community we are serving here.
I had been referring my patients to a far place for Oculoplastic service. The training I took is very important for the patents and me too. I will serve my patients with new surgical skill and this will avoid long travel and related expenses for the patients.”

Dr. Hilal Nalci Baytaroglu from Turkey: Oculoplastic
Host: Mr Saurabh Jain
Supervisor: Mr Nick Koutroumanos (in the picture to the right)
Royal Free Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to International Fellowship of Ophthalmology Committee for accepting me to the IOFF 3-month Oculoplastic Surgery Subspecialty Fellowship and my host Mr Saurabh Jain at Royal London NHS Foundation Trust.
During my time in here I met with many outstanding doctors. By observing the consultants and discussing the cases with them I learned new surgical techniques and ways to improve the ones I was already performing. By spending time with junior doctors and fellows, I gained an insight about how the healthcare system works in the UK. These interactions helped me form my own opinions on how to improve resident training and patient care in my country.
I would like to thank to my mentor Mr Nick Koutroumanos, as well. From him I learned not only many important tips and points for a better examination process and successful surgery, but also how to combine professionalism with humanity, which is especially important for a subspecialty where patients’ expectations and conclusions about the results of the treatment is almost as important as the objective goals of the surgeon. I sincerely believe that I finished this program as a more confident and more skilled oculoplastic surgeon, and my patients back in my country will tremendously benefit from the experience that I gained here. I can not wait to share what I learned here with my colleagues and junior doctors. I think that growing our knowledge by sharing it and by working together is one of the main goals of this program and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.
In addition to all my professional experiences, I also would like to mention about the lovely friendships that I formed with people I met both in and out of the hospital. A highly multicultural metropolitan city like London helped me gain insight about the lives of people from all around the world. I believe I formed friendships that will last a lifetime, and this is another reason to feel thankful for my time in London.”

Dr. Nadia Geilani from Libya: Glaucoma
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Elena S. G. Martin
Instituto de Investigaciones Oftalmológicas Ramón Castroviejosn Universidad Compultense Madrid in Madrid, Spain

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“During my time at the Ramón Castroviejo Institute for Ophthalmic Research in Madrid, Spain, as a fellow within the IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship Program, I am immensely grateful for the extraordinary experience I had the privilege to undertake. I am particularly appreciative of the support, guidance, and generosity extended by Prof. José Manuel Ramírez, Prof. Elena Salobrar García Martín, Prof. Juan Jose Salazar and the entire research team.

In reflection, my fellowship at the Ramón Castroviejo Institute for Ophthalmic Research was enriched not only by the remarkable research opportunities and cultural immersion but also by the collaborative and nurturing environment fostered by individuals like Cordula. This experience has not only deepened my passion for glaucoma research but has also solidified my belief in the power of mentorship, support, and shared goals in achieving meaningful advancements in the field of ophthalmology.
As I move forward in my career, I carry with me not only the knowledge gained but also the gratitude I feel towards Cordula, the entire research team, and IOFF for the unparalleled opportunity that has shaped my professional journey in such a profound way.”

Dr. Astghik Ara Kyureghyan from Armenia: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Thanks to your foundation for giving me opportunity to acquire new surgical skills and knowledge,which i will apply in my work. MGM eye institute was the best choice. There was high qualified teaching institute, which provided nice training.”

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Dr. Figen Bezci Aygun from Turkey: Medical Retina
Host: Prof. Anat Loewenstein
Supervisor: Prof. Sulamit Schwartz
Tel Aviv University, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Tel Aviv, Israel
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“It is very valuable to have such an organization and to support us in this regard. It is a great opportunity, especially for low-income countries. Thank you very much for helping me go to the hospital of my choice. I am glad I applied for this scholarship.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Ophthalmology Foundation and IOFF for sponsoring this fellowship program. Their support made it possible for me to embark on this transformative journey.
In addition, I owe a special debt of gratitude to Dr. Anat Loewenstein for hosting me at her hospital and sharing her invaluable expertise. Her mentorship and the welcoming environment of her hospital were instrumental in my growth and learning.”

Dr. Ana Silva Serrano-Ahumada from Mexico/Colombia: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Roberto Pineda
Massachussetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Dept. of OPhthalmology in Boston, MA, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“My 3 month IOFF Cornea Fellowship at Mass Eye and Ear was something that I had dreamt of since I was a first-year resident. To be learning from world-renowned surgeons like Dr. Pineda and walking the hallways of this institution that has contributed so much to the history of Ophthalmology was an surreal experience. I honestly and blindly recommend anyone who wants to widen their perspective on complex ocular pathologies to apply to this fellowship. You will never regret it.”

Dr. Mohammad Soleimani form Iran: Glaucoma
University of Illinois, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Chicago, IL, USA

Sponsor: German Ophthalmological Society (DOG) and Mrs Agnes Handwerk, Germany

From the appreciation letter to the sponsor:
“Ms. Handwerk and Mrs. Mele, I want to express my profound gratitude to both of you and to the entire DOG organization. Your faith in me, and the opportunities you’ve provided, have not only enhanced my professional journey but have also deeply impacted my personal growth.
In closing, I hope to continue to uphold the values and standards that DOG represents, and I am excited about the future, inspired by the experiences and learnings of the past. Once again, thank you for your unwavering support and belief in my potential.”

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Dr. Ashiqur Rahman Akanda from Bangladesh: Strabismus and
Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Jonathan Trobe
Supervisor: Prof. Monte Del Monte (in the picture to the right)
University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Take my due respect and gratitude. I am an Pediatric Ophthalmologist from Bangladesh. Here we are lacking in sub-specialty training. But the IOFF gives me the opportunity to do my training through their fellowship. And of course its make possible for your support. So nice of you sir. You help us to upgrade our service. We will be remain grateful to you and your institution. Hope this support and help will continue so that many ophthalmologists from the developing country will be enriched and give better service to their country. I feel more confident now in my subspecialty. I was able to cover most of my expenses with the IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship grant.
 I would recommend my colleagues to apply for an IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship award. So nice of you. Long live and be happy.”

Dr. Sahar Alawi Al Masmari from Yemen: Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Ihab Othman
Supervisor: Prof. Mostafa Azzab (left in the picture)
Eye World Hopital in Gizeh, Egypt

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

From the apprecition letter to the sponsor:
“… I was able to experience new culture, making new friends is another exciting apportunity provided by this fellowship.
Overall, I was able to meet the aims and objectives of my short-term fellowship, which I believe was very much productive and fruitful. I hope to integrate the knowledge and skill in my daily practice so that the patients of pediatric and strabismus can be benefitted in my country.. …”

Dr. Nada Osman Elsayed Ibrahim from Sudan: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Kevin Winthrop
Supervisor: Dr. Julie Falardeau
Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health and Science University

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I am Dr. Nada Ibrahim from Sudan. I finished my 3 months Neuro-Ophthalmology fellowship last April 2023, at Casey Eye Institute at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University), USA, and I would like to share my experience.
There were 5 Neuro-Ophthalmology clinics per week with 4 different wonderful providers. They were all very helpful, knowledgeable, keen and patient to me and to their patients. You always feel you are welcomed.
The system in the hospital was so organized and the residents attending the clinic during my stay were so helpful and nice.
I was also happy to join the Headache clinic twice with Dr. Brian Johnson where I observed patients with Migraine and learned how they were treated. Dr. Brian was so knowledgeable and welcoming.
There were weekly online meetings for residents, fellows and providers discussing challenging cases. Sharing the knowledge and experience was awesome.
The hospital’s environment was wonderful and the staff was so welcoming. On the other hand, the weather was so cold and there was snow on two occasions. I recommend people visit Portland on other seasons to see the beauty of Nature at Portland.
I am very grateful to the IOFF foundation officers (the president, vice president, treasurer and director), to Cordula and to Dr. Kevin Winthrop for this wonderful opportunity they gave me and my colleagues from Sudan and from around the world and I hope this transfer of knowledge will keep on going.”

In the picture from left to right: Dr. Amanda Redfern, Dr. Julie Falardeau, Dr. Gillian Paton, Dr. Nada Ibrahim and Dr. Kimberly Winges

Dr. Adnan Abdullah Yahya Alghobari from Yemen: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Supervisor: Dr. Nikhilesh Waigarade
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for all the support you gave me during my training for cataract surgery at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur. Thanks to your guidance, I have now started performing cataract operations with Phaco and surgery.
I would also like to extend my thanks to Mahatame Hospital and all the medical staff for their support and assistance. I appreciate your efforts in providing quality service to doctors like me.”

Dr. Hesham Saber Shehada Reham from Palestine: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Christopher Liu
University of Brighton, Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton, UK

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

From the appreciation letter to the spinsor:
“… I firmly believe that this clinical attachment will have a lasting impact on my future career in ophthalmology. …”

Dr. Pinar Kosekhaya from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Berthold Seitz
University of Saarland, Eyeclinic in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: Prof. Xiu-Wen HU, President from International Journal of Ophthalmology (IJO)

“Homburg was a real pleasure for me. Prof. Seitz and his team added so much to my practice. I have attended morning sessions, subspecialty days, DOG and developed my scientific knowledge. I have attended all surgery sessions of my mentor Prof.Seitz and developed my surgical knowledge. I have worked in wetlab with pig eyes and developed my surgical skills. Also, as a bonus, we have visited an essential ophthalmological manufacturing center, Zeiss company.”

Dr. Syed Abdullah Mazhar from Pakistan: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Huban Atilla
Supervisor: Prof. Banu Hosal (right)
Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Ophthalmology

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I am really thankful to IOFF and my sponsor AAO for granting me this scholarship and giving me the opportunity to learn more and polish my skills under supervision of Professor Banu at Ankara University. I am also very grateful to my host Prof. Huban for accepting my request and allowing me to do my fellowship in one of the best university hospitals. I plan to implement the knowledge and skills imparted in me by my supervisor to the patients in my hospital and my clinic to treat them and improve their lives. My aim will be to give them the best outdoor diagnostic and treatment services and offer them the best surgical care.”

Dr. Zurab Glonti from Georgia: Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Huban Atilla
Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Ophthalmology

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA

“I had my 3-month fellowship program in Ankara University Hospital, dept. of Ophthalmology – Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology. I want to thank American Academy of Ophthalmology for giving me this amazing possibility and generously supporting my fellowship.
The atmosphere in the hospital is so great. Prof. Atilla Huban is great person with huge knowledge and I would say – Human encyclopedia of Ophthalmology. I have never met doctor with such differential diagnostic skills. And I cannot express how kind and hospitable she is. There is also Dr. Pinar Bingol Kiziltunç, Assistant Professor. She is also great person who also shared her experience daily and I regularly attended her consultations also. It’s interesting that she also has been awarded with IOFF Grant earlier. And now she is one of the host and supervisor of me. And this could be an example of IOFF chain reaction.
I want to thank especially to Executive for IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowships – Cordula Gabel-Obermaier for her help and support me all this time.
Lastly, I love to express my deepest gratitude towards AAO team for awarding me this grant. I am sure this enables so many young doctors to broaden horizons in different sub specialities of Ophthalmology.”

Dr. Yeye-Agba Olabisi-Olayemi: Cataract Surgery
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Reeta Gurung and Prof. Sanduk Ruit
Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, Nepal

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“The IOFF Subspecialty Fellowship can be improved on by continually increasing the access of ophthalmologists in developing countries to this sponsorship as this fellowship gave me a better exposure to standard ophthalmic practice and high-tech equipment for clinical and surgical ophthalmic intervention which is mostly lacking in our locale.

The IOFF should continue to leverage on the good work they are already doing.”

Dr. Rodrigo Ernesto Barrera from Colombia: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Santen Deutschland GmbH

“Due to the support granted by my sponsor Santen Germany GmbH and also by my host the MGM Eye Institute, I was able to be in contact with a part of the society that has been abandoned, but fortunately, is also being rescued with the best quality of human attention in the area of ophthalmology. I was able to understand the value of simple things that unfortunately many times we do not properly value because we always have them at our disposal. Restoring vision to a person improves the quality and life expectancy not only of the person, but also of their entire family nucleus.”

Dr. Yalitza Lopez from Dominican Republic: Glaucoma
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Zubair Ansari
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, FL, USA

Sponsor: Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, USA

“Being able to obtain this 3 months Glaucoma IOFF Fellowship has been an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is such an incredible institution, being there and learning from some of the top glaucoma specialist was just surreal.  
I learned so much from decision making, to interpreting better glaucoma images, focusing always on the patient’s priority and well-being without forgetting to offer the best. I enjoyed a lot OR days since there are some MIGS which are not still available in my country, Dominican Republic.
One of my favourite things was glaucoma journal club every Friday. Research is a part we are far behind but that I would love to work furthermore in my country. I also am really excited to start putting all I learned in action and to be able to share with others what I learned.”

Dr. Abdelrahman Battata from Palestine: Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Sumaira Altaf
Al Shaifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Sponsor: The Sidra Tree Foundation, USA

“I would like to thank the The Sidra Tree Foundation for all the support.
I finished half of the time and it is a very wonderful experience from a scientific lectures, clinical and surgical experience.
I learned how to assess the squint and how to do orthoptic assessment for each case independently and how to take the appropriate decision for each case separately.
Head of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Department  Prof. Sumaira Altaf is a great teacher and helper for me in all of the process since I start until now, I want to thank her a lot.
Pakistan is a really nice beautiful country and I love the nature there so much.
My kind regards and thanks 
Dr. Abdalrahman Battata”

Dr. Simanta Khadka from Nepal: Medical Retina
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Dr. David Sarraf
Stein Eye Institute, Retinal Diseases and Ophthalmic Genetics Center at the University of California
in Los Angeles, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Apart from academic and clinical exposure I was able to experience the American culture firsthand. The learning of new culture, making new friends and meeting new people is another exciting opportunity provided by this fellowship.
Overall, I was able to meet the aims and objectives of my short-term fellowship, which I believe was very much productive and fruitful. I hope to integrate the knowledge and skill in my daily practice so that the patients of retinal diseases can be benefitted in my country. I truly am indebted to IOFF, my host institute and the sponsors for this opportunity.”

Dr. Özlem Ural Fatihoğlu from Turkey: Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
Host: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger
Ludwig-Maximilian University Dept. of Ophthalmoloy in Munich, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Oliver Ehrt

Sponsor: Ursapharm Pharmaceuticals, Germany

“It was my absolute pleasure to be a clinical fellow at Ludwig-Maximillian University Ophthalmology Department. Between 1 October and 31 December, I had the opportunity to have a unique experience in Munich. I learned a lot from Prof. Dr. Oliver Ehrt, Prof. Dr. Günter Rudolph, Dr. Theresia Ring, and Dr. Lieselotte Rudolph about how to manage different and challenging pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus cases during my observership under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Oliver Ehrt. I have been able to significantly enhance my surgical skills and knowledge of strabismus while I have learned various surgical techniques, some of which have never been seen before. During this time, I was also very lucky that I had the opportunity to assist the cases by entering the surgeries sterile which is not possible in most of the fellowship and observership programs. In addition to strabismus surgery, I had the chance to participate in other ocular surgeries and I had the chance to learn about different surgical approaches and update my knowledge. Also, the education hours that I attended in the mornings contributed a lot to me. During the fellowship period, I had the chance to attend Beyer-Machule-Kurs, 55. Weihnachtssitzung der Münchner Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft, and EPOS meetings. I updated myself scientifically, met new colleagues, and collected good memories.”

Dra. Carolina D. Mendoza-Zamora from Mexico: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Dr. Claus Cursiefen
Supervisor: Prof. Dr.Julia Fricke
University of Cologne, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Cologne, Germany

Sponsor: Verein Rhein Mainischer Augenärzte, Germany

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the congress of the Society of Ophthalmologists, to learn from the experts and their experience in different clinical settings and to update myself in different branches of ophthalmology. And to have had the opportunity to personally thank my benefactors at that congress where I also put my knowledge of the German language into practice. Something that was challenging at first was to read a lot of general ophthalmology in German to be able to communicate and quickly understand what was going on in the clinic and the surgeries. It was a big challenge but I am very satisfied with the knowledge and skills gained.”

Dr. Gulsah Gumus from Turkey: Glaucoma
Host: Dr. Saurabh Jain
Supervisor: Dr.Vikas Sharma
Royal Free Hospital NHS in London, UK

Sponsor: Academy of German Ophthalmologists, Germany

“During my IOFF Fellowship, I had the chance to observe both the glaucoma clinic and the operating theatre. In the glaucoma outpatient clinic, I had the chance to observe the post-operative management of patients, how to give indications for surgery, and how to choose the most appropriate type of surgery for patients. In the operating theatre, I could watch lots of surgeries which included very new techniques to me. When I return to my country, I am sure that the clinical knowledge and skills I obtained during my fellowship will be very useful in my clinical practice.”

Dr. Bijlani Madhavi Subhash from India: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Jonathan Trobe
Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“The attending physicians there made me feel very comfortable and were more than happy to teach and impart knowledge. They answered all my questions patiently and continue to do so even now via email. The consultants included Dr Jonathan Trobe, Dr Wayne Cornblath, Dr Sangeeta Khanna, Dr Lindsay DeLott and Dr Tatiana Deveney.
Case discussions with Dr Jonathon Trobe were one of the highlights every week. Dr Trobe had informal case discussions once a week with all the residents and fellows over coffee in the hospital cafeteria which was a nice way to break the ice as well as learn neuro-ophthalmology from one of the best in the field. We bought all our doubts to him at the end of the day and brainstormed for solutions together.
I also had the opportunity to share clinic space with Dr Trobe and learn his techniques of approaching a patient.”

Dr. Esra Vural from Turkey: Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Thomas Kreutzer
Ludwig-Maximilian University, Eyeclinic, in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: DOG (German Ophthalmological Society), Germany

“During this three-month period, I completed the vitreoretinal surgery fellowship program with a scholarship. I am honored to be one of the recipients of the IOFF-three months Subspecialty Fellowship Scholarship. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the IOFF scholarship team and DOG for considering me worthy of the scholarship.
The Ludwig Maximilian University Augenklinik family, who hosted me during this process, were very hospitable and friendly. In this period, I realized that I made the right decision by applying to this hospital in order to increase my surgical experience about vitreoretina. I think that it has increased my surgical experience a lot because it is a reference hospital and thus I can see many different cases.  I had the chance to monitor all surgeries one-on-one from the biomicroscope (…). I have gained a lot of experience on how to approach the surgical approach in difficult cases. I was also very happy with how generous and friendly Mr. Thomas Kreutzer was in sharing knowledge.  I would also like to state that I am very proud to know Mr. Thomas Kreutzer, who impressed me with his calm demeanor, smiling face and endless energy in the operating room.
As the host, with his smiling face, sympathetic, open to learning and original surgical approach, my deepest gratitude to Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger. It was great for me to watch his 3D surgeries with his Alcon Ngenuity imaging systems. Thus, with the help of the latest technology in vitreoretinal surgery, I learned about current applications. I’ve never had such an experience before.
Thank you again for funding me on this program.
Sincerely.”

Dr. Nor Sharina Binti Yusof from Malaysia: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Martin Zinkernagel
Supervisor: Prof. Beatrice Frueh
University of Bern, Inselspital in Bern, Switzerland

Sponsor: Friends and Family of Prof. Dr. Dr. Gottfried Naumann

From the apprecition letter to the sponsor:
“During my attachment, I had the pleasure of accompanying Professor Früh Beatrice and the ophthalmology team at the University Hospital of Bern. I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to assist her in various cornea surgeries. I had learned many surgical techniques, in regard to endothelial keratoplasty such as DSAEK and DMEK, to observe closely how she prepped the tissues prior to the surgery and tips and tricks in suturing PKP.
Besides that, I also joined the Eye Bank and worked together with the Eye Bank Technician in the procurement and processing of the cornea prior to the surgery. I was excited with their established eye bank as well as their technology of equipment and sophisticated workflow.
All weekdays started with a morning meeting where all consultants, staff nurses, and residents discussed the current status of patient care and interesting cases, followed by a seminar. I also participated in the departmental academic lectures and sat together with other consultants and residents discussing various interesting cases every morning in their auditorium. Apart from that, I also attended and ran a cornea and external diseases clinic together with Professor Früh every Thursday. I managed to observe rare and complex cornea cases and learn about their management plan. These new experiences really broadened my knowledge about the cornea and other diseases.
Overall, this fellowship program was very beneficial and rewarding for my future career as a cornea specialist. This training program has encouraged me to achieve my objective of gaining.”

Dr. Supreeya Atthavuttisilp from Thailand: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Dr. Claus Cursiefen
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ludwig Heindl
University of Cologne, Dept. of Ophthalmology

Sponsor: American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)

“On the first day I arrived in Cologne, I felt everything was very new and strange for me. I took the train from the airport to the University hospital and finally, I met Ms Bock and Professor Heindl, who always took care of and supported me all the time. Professor Heindl was very kind to me and taught me a lot of amazing surgical techniques.
Everything was super perfect. Thank you for the best opportunity.”

Dr. Valvita Reçi from North Macedonia: Medical Retina
Host: Prof. Dr. Gerd Geerling
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rainer Guthoff
University of Düsseldorf, Dept. of Ophthalmology

Sponsor: Willy Robert Pitzer Foundation, Germany

“I am deeply grateful and honoured to IOFF-Willy Robert Pitzer Foundation Germany Subspecialty Fellowship for the generous sponsorship of my three month fellowship for medical retina at University Clinic Düsseldorf  Germany and giving me this incredible opportunity. It was a unique opportunity for my professional growth as a young ophthalmologist. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Prof. Dr. Rainer Guthoff for his support and sharing his knowledge with me. I was lucky to learn from his experience in ophthalmology and also from his great personality.
I had the opportunity to participate in outpatient clinics of medical retina everyday and also in vitreoretinal surgery and various other surgeries. I gained clinical experience through exposure to wide variety of ophthalmological subspecialties. The process of clinical evaluation and discussing the cases with faculty helped me understanding the basic clinical approach, differential diagnosis and treatment modalities.
The IOFF Fellowship in University Clinic Düsseldorf had offered to me a perfect combination of academic knowledge, clinical improvement and cultural experience.”

Dra. Talia Nieto Quintana from Mexico: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I really like my experience….
I learned a lot…
I like the food…”

Dr. Deniz Kilic from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Suphi Taneri
Clinic at St. Francis Hospital, Dept. of Ophthalmology

Sponsor: Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, USA

“I would like to thank to all the clinical staff of Dr Taneri. They were all kind to me and their hospitality was excellent. 
In all, I am returning to my country with a great experience in the Subspecialty of Corneal and External diseases. Thank you again for funding me on this program.”

Dr. Johnson Calgano Kenneth Patricio from Chile: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
Bristol Eye Hospital in Bristol, UK

Sponsor: The Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Thank you again for your mission to improve ophthalmic care worldwide. My choice of Bristol Eye Hospital as my host institution was the best I could have made, and this experience has sparked my learning in the field of Neuro-Ophthalmology. I will be putting all the lessons learned into clinical practice back home.
Met caring and generous colleagues of vast experience in Neuro-Ophthalmology who have showed me to work and think in different new ways. The whole staff was welcoming and really felt supported to make the most out of my time in UK. My period at Bristol Eye Hospital was personally and professionally enriching.”

Dr. Florence Santiagu from Malaysia: Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Michael Jones
Supervisor: Prof. Stephen HIng
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Westmead, Australia

Sponsor: AAO, USA

From the appreciation letter to the sponsor:
“… I have learnt a great deal about Pediatric Ophthalmology, latest treatment modalities and different work cultures during my time at CHW. Upon coming back, I have shared my experiences with my colleagues and more confident in managing pediatric cases. I have been made Internal Liasion Officer for Pediatric Ophthalmology in my current department. Thank you again for a splendid opportunity!”

Dr. Farouq Zayyad from Nigeria: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Derek Tole
Bristol Eye Hospital in Bristol, UK

Sponsor: CBM, Germany

“It was an amazing experience. I got to witness various corneal transplantation techniques that I only read in the books. I wish to offer my sincere appreciation to my sponsor, CBM and my Host, Bristol Eye Hospital especially my mentor Dr Derek Tole, Dr Omar Elhaddad and Dr Lee Holland for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I have learned a great deal from this fellowship and my practice of Ophthalmology will never be the same again. This has given me the enthusiasm to continue to pursue a career in cornea and external diseases and Implement much needed changes in my center back home.”

Dr. Haque Obaid Imtiyazul from India: Medical Retina
Host and Supervisor: Dr. Deeba Husain
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, USA

Sponsor: Ocular Therapeutix, USA

“I am deeply grateful to Ocular Therapeutix and Mr. Antony Mattessich (President and Chief Executive Officer, Ocular Therapeutix) for the generous sponsorship of my IOFF three-month fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. The support has been instrumental in making my fellowship a success, and the impact that this sponsorship has made is immeasurable.
At the Institute of Ophthalmology, I will resume my position as registrar, and my career goal is focused on retinal research and academic teaching. I am looking to extend the extensive clinical and research skills that I gained during my fellowship and share them with my peers. I hope to train and inspire younger ophthalmologists to pursue research along with clinical skills. My aim is to start a dedicated center for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Inherited Retinal Diseases (IRD) clinic at my institute which will provide state-of-the-art care catered to these patients. I hope to continue developing my skills so I can serve where the need is greatest and share my experiences gained via this fellowship.”

Dr. Shariza Kanji from Tanzania: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Institute in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Academy of German Ophthalmologists (AAD)

“I would like to start by introducing myself in this letter of appreciation for the IOFF scholarship I received. My name is Shariza Kanji. I am an ophthalmologist from a city in Tanzania called Mwanza, which is also called rock city as it is full of rocks with a beautiful lake.
Mwanza is a large city which serves the entire lake zone and nearby areas. The city’s population is around 1.5 million people. But the entire lake zone area encompassing neighbouring regions would be around 5 million.
I was selected for the IOFF cataract three months fellowship. I would like to thank my sponsor Mr. Christian Gante CEO Academy of German Ophthalmologists for this sponsorship.
I would like to state that I did not even know how to hold the phaco probe when I started and now I can say that after this course at least I have a bit of confidence to do so.
I am also attaching a picture below of receiving a certificate from our Wetlab teacher at Mahatme Eye bank and Eye hospital, Dr. Santosh Sapate who has been a key figure in teaching me the phaco techniques, and the know hows, tips and tricks.
Lastly I would like to extend my thank you to the IOFF committee for giving this opportunity which seemed so far far fetched. This definitely shows that there is always light at the end of the tunnel always for those that seek it. Thank you very much. God bless you all.”

Dr. Olufunmilola Taiwo from Nigeria: Medical Retina
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
Supervisor: Dr. Anil Gangwe and Dr. Swapnil Parchand
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I appreciate Dr Deepshika my host, for making room for the training at MGM Eye institute and her unflinching support throughout the program.
I thank my trainers in particular Dr Swapnil for meeting my need even when it’s not convenient for him.
Although language was a huge barrier and some of the clinicians at the institution were not as receptive as expected, and paucity of clinical interactions experienced at some point.
But by and large I have been imparted with skills and knowledge.”

Dr. Pınar Bingöl Kızıltunç from Turkey: Strabismus and Pediatric Ohthalmology
Host and Supervisor: Dr. Saurabh Jain
Royal Free Hospital, Dept. of Ophthalmology NHS Trust in London, UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Thanks to Dr Saurabh Jain, I learned new surgical techniques about Strabismus and I improved my ability to make decisions about surgeries.
I had a big chance to improve my knowledge about Pediatric Ophthalmology and strabismus. I will apply the new knowledge I have learned in my own clinical practice after I return to my country.”

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Dr. Claudia Zepeda Palacio from Mexico: ROP and Pediatric Retina
Host: Prof. Kevin Winthrop
Supervisor: Prof. Petter Campbell
University of Oregon, Casey Eye Institute in Portland, OR, USA
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

From the appreciation letter to the sponsor:
“… I am very lucky because I had the opportunity to learn in Casey Eye the most of this disease
and it´s treatment. Now being in Mexico, I am committed to do my best with the knowledge
I learnt for preventing and treating ROP and also for training others and spread the
knowledge. …”

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Dr. Abeer Ali Salim Bazara from Sudan: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
Bristol University Dept. of Ophthalmology NHS, Bristol, UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Knowledge is in the textbooks, but experience is the big thing.
Thanks for being chosen to have this experience.
You really make a difference.”

Dr. Jessica Zarwan from Indonesia: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Reeta Gurung
Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, Nepal

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I am involved as an International Fellow in Cornea and External Eye Diseases and supervised by several faculties at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, which are Dr. Reeta Gurung, Dr. Leena Bajracharya, Dr. Rachana Singh Rana, and Dr. Bandana Khanal. I have rotations both in the outpatient clinic and operating theatre. I have seen many cases and have been involved in decision-making about diagnosis and management approaches to the patient. I was also exposed to many surgical procedures, mainly in corneal transplantation procedures, both full-thickness and lamellar thickness keratoplasty. This is my main goal when I apply for this fellowship. I also had the opportunity to do emergency corneal repair surgery, which was beneficial in improving my skill as a corneal surgeon.

During my fellowship, I also attend classes and presentations in general ophthalmology and corneal topics. I also made several presentations to present and discuss with other fellows and faculties. I encountered several rare corneal cases in Tilganga, and I have the opportunities and guidance from the supervisor Dr. Leena Bajracharya, to make a case report manuscript about these cases. This is an exceptional experience for me to have advice on making a good and interesting case report, so we have an excellent chance to publish it in the journal.
Apart from science activities, I was also involved in social activities with other fellows and residents. I feel glad and welcomed in Tilganga, and I hope to make a good relationship with them even after I come back to my country.

I am delighted with this fellowship program. Overall, I met my aims through this fellowship. I hope to apply and share my knowledge with my colleagues in my institution in Jakarta, Indonesia. I also hope to improve corneal services in my institution, specifically regarding corneal transplantation procedures. I will also pass the knowledge and skill that I got from Tilganga to my other colleagues and residents so they can treat the patients better and help contribute significantly to combat blindness in Indonesia.

Dr. Abdullah Ağın from Turkey: Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger
Ludwig-Maximilian University Eye Clinic in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Ursapharm Arzneimittel GmbH, Germany

“I am honored to be one of the recipients of the IOFF-three months Subspecialty Fellowship Scholarship. Thanks to Ursapharm for generous support for this fellowship.
Unforgettable memories, unique friendships, and experiences come to end in Munich. Thus, I have completed a process in which education is a tool and being happy in the life is the goal. I would like to thank IOFF for guiding me through this program with her guidance and contribution at every stage….
…During the training process, I had the chance to attend EURETINA, DOG and EPOS meetings. I updated myself scientifically, saw two beautiful German cities, Hamburg, and Berlin, and collected good memories. With the support of IOFF, we had a visit to the Zeiss center in Oberkochen. I would like to thank Nancy Rissmann for organizing this visit. It was a wonderful trip, and we had the chance to see the production of the tools we use every day on site.
The support of Ursapharm provide will make significant contributions to the development of world ophthalmology.”

Dr. Saif Aldeen Saleh Tawfiq Alryalat from Jordan: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Malik Kahook
Anschuetz University of Colorado in Denver, CO, USA

Sponsor: The Sidra Tree Family Foundation, USA

“I had the pleasure of accompanying Prof. Malik Kahook and the ophthalmology team at The University of Colorado. I gained clinical experience through exposure to wide variety of ophthalmological subspecialties, including clinic and surgery times. I participated in several wet labs on latest advances in the minimally invasive glaucoma devices, in addition to a conference that discussed recent advances in the field. I also had the opportunity to work with the team at the recently established artificial intelligence institute, which had great team of computer scientists. We initiated multiple research projects, and developed several artificial intelligence models. I was lucky to spend time with Prof. Kahook, learning from his experience in ophthalmology, and also from his great personality.”

Dr. Om Prakash Pant from Nepal: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ursapharm Arzneimittel GmbH, Germany

“I had completed three-month short term fellowship in cataract surgery. I would like to sincerely express my thanks to IOFF fellowship team and Ursapharm Pharmaceuticals for considering me worthy for the scholarship and awarding me the same. My special appreciation to Mrs Cordula Gabel-Obermaier for her professional guidance and assistance.
Furthermore, I would like to thank my host Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal and her team at MGM Eye Institute, Raipur for the pleasing opportunity to upgrade my knowledge and surgical skills in cataract surgery.
During my training at MGM, I got sufficient number of surgical cases and the trainers at the institution are very professional, well experienced and best teachers. The training program is well structured and highly organized. Beside the surgical part, I also participate in the morning conference and classes which was very interactive and it helped me in advancement of my surgical as well as clinical knowledge in diagnosis, treatment and recent advances.
During my training, I also got a wonderful opportunity to attend the State Seminar in Cataract Surgery and learn a lot from the experienced ophthalmologists.
Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity.”

Dr. Harikrishnan Marappan from India: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Prem Subramanian
Anschuetz Institute at University of Colorado in Dever, CO, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“My visit at University of Colorado hospital, Aurora was a very rewarding one.
This fellowship training gave me ample opportunities to upgrade my clinical knowledge/skills. I would like to note the high professionalism of the doctors at the institute with whom I had been working during the whole period of the observership. We worked with on daily basis. They accepted me very well and made my stay at their department very pleasant.
I will never forget the time I spent with doctors of Neuro-Ophthalmology department. They are excellent doctors and perfect teachers.
During my fellowship training, I attended outpatient clinics of Neuro-ophthalmology clinic every day. I had the opportunity to learn fundamentals of Neuro-ophthalmology and recent updates from the internationally well renowned faculties in the speciality. I observed surgeries in OR and also had opportunities to observe research activities.
I attended the residents teaching sessions and Grand rounds.
I learned a lot not only in outpatient department, but in their office and OR also. The process of clinical evaluation and discussing the cases with faculty helped me understand the basic clinical approach, differential diagnosis and treatment modalities.
This training program has definitely helped me to achieve my objective of understanding new and better techniques of Neuro-ophthalmology/ Adult strabismus/ Thyroid eye disease in order to implement the techniques on fellow patients for their benefit.”

Dr. Amna Dafalla Elbasheer from Sudan: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
Bristol Eye Hospital (NHS) in Bristol UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“It was amazing opportunity for me to expose to new culture and people. It was very interesting experiences. I hope many doctors have a similar experience.”  

In the picture is Dr. Elbasheer with Dr. Atan

Dr. Pareena Chaitanuwong from Thailand: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Supervisor: Dr. Heather E. Moss
Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“My time at Stanford with Dr. Heather E. Moss was excellent. I had the opportunity to attend a clinic in Stanford with her and other neuro-ophthalmologists. Dr. Heather also assisted me greatly with research, teaching me how to conduct “GOOD” research and increase my chances of publication.  
Thank you once more for your kindness and generosity. I promise you that I will work very hard and eventually give back to others, as a constructor ophthalmologist and hopefully by funding a scholarship to support future ophthalmologists from developing countries like mine.”

Dr. Ahmed Safa Magzoub Ibrahim from Sudan: Strabismus and Pediatric Ophthalmology
Supervisor: Dr. Mildred Ulaikere
Eye Foundation Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria

Sponsor: Santen GmbH, Germany

“It was big challanges for me starting from leaving home and live in different community but at the same time I really improved my skills in diagnosis and pattern of managment including surgical skills.”  

Dr. Diamond Tonye-Obene from Nigeria: Cataract and Cornea
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“…I was motivated to apply for the scholarship because I wanted to improve on my surgical skills in cataract surgery which was grossly inadequate. My enrollment into the fellowship program has greatly helped my skills to move to a very high specialty level and I’m extremely grateful. This skill will really help me and has already started helping me and my people back home in the reduction of blindness caused by cataract.
Since I came back home, I have been involved in about three free cataract surgeries with very good visual outcomes and my wealth of experience gotten from your program has been totally unquantifiable.”  

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/15f96v1gr0mxzmp6upe4g/TONYE-OBENE-Diamond_Nigeria.mp4?rlkey=u0h8rqxzhr0hp7ocjlau5wjls&dl=0

Dr. Damaris Hodelin-Fuentes from Cuba: Cataract and Cornea
Host: Prof. Christopher Liu
NHS, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Brighton, UK

Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Stiftung, Germany

“First of all, I would like to thank the Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation (Germany) for so kindly sponsoring me and giving me this incredible opportunity. Obtaining the IOFF three-month-subspecialty fellowship in Cataract Surgery was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It was a unique opportunity for my professional growth as a young ophthalmologist. I undertook the fellowship in the United Kingdom at the Sussex Eye Hospital, in the city of Brighton, from April to July 2022, under the supervision of the excellent Professor Christopher Liu OBE, PhD, an eminent ophthalmic surgeon.
Professor Liu and his team allowed me to observe in the operating theatre all cataract surgeries performed during that period, which gave me a better understanding of the phacoemulsification technique and the management of complications that can occur during surgery. One of the most important things was to learn about Immediate Sequential Bilateral Cataract Surgery (ISBCS), which is not commonly performed in my country. So now I know this procedure and will be able to complete it in Cuba.
I also had the opportunity to examine all the patients seen in clinics with anterior segment diseases. I participated every week in the assessment of cataract patients, as well as in the Emergency and Accident Department. Every Friday, I participated in the teaching afternoon, where new and essential lectures were given on cataracts and all ophthalmological diseases so that I could broaden my knowledge about the retina, optic nerve, pediatrics, etc. On some of those Fridays, interesting case discussions were held in which the consultant professors, fellows and residents participated. During the fellowship, I was studying Professor Liu’s book “Cataract surgery, pearls and techniques”. It is an important and valuable book that enriched my knowledge as an ophthalmologist.”  

Dr. Pradeep Bastola from Nepal: Vitreoretina
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India
Supervisor: Dr. Swapnil Madhukar Prachand

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I was immensely satisfied with the kind of clinical exposure I got during my fellowship. The supervisors in the vitreo-retina clinic well supported me throughout the training process. I have to say MGM Eye Institute provides some of the best hands-on clinical training in Ophthalmology, and in the retina too. Being part of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening and treatment was the highlight of my fellowship here, which also provided me an ample opportunity to gain knowledge about the prevalence of ROP, and prevention of blinding ROP through early screening and intervention in time. The fellowship also provided me with an opportunity to carry out research focused on ROP.”  

Dr. Saba Alkhairyi from Pakistan: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Huban Atilla
Supervisor: Prof. Banu Hosal
Ankara University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Ankara, Turkey

Sponsor: Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke and friends

“I had one of the best times of my life. The experience was one of a kind. Not only was I made very comfortable since day one but I was also encouraged to participate whole heartedly in all the academic activities be it case discussions, surgeries, diagnostics etc. Both, my host and supervisor, ensured that I get the maximum benefit from my experience there. It felt like once in a lifetime experience and I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to pursue a fellowship. The University, the people and the experience is something that will stay with me forever.”  

Dr. Anne Jelynne Marfori from Philippines: Low Vision and Rehabilitation
Host: Prof. Priglinger
Supervisor: Dr. Bettina von Livonius
Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Friends and Family of Prof. Dr. Dr. Gottfried Naumann

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to Prof. Naumann through Dr. Naumann of the IOFF for granting me a three-month fellowship in Low Vision and Rehabilitation. Not only financial support but a guiding assistance by Prof. Gabel, Prof. Seitz and Ms. Gabel-Obermaier. She saw me through the preparations of the program until the present, constantly meeting and openly communicating to meet the fellows’ needs. Lasting friendships were founded. 
I would like to extend my appreciation to my host institution – Ludwig Maximillian University Augenklinik through Prof. Priglinger (Hospital Director) and Dr. von Livonius (Low Vision & Rehabilitation Department Chief) for accepting me to train. During my first month, I was immersed in the low vision consultations. I was able to hear the patients’ concerns and fear of losing sight because of hereditary, congenital or acquired diseases. The woes may sound heavy and hopeless but I saw how Dr. von Livonius listened intently with empathy and concern so as to be able to reassure patients that there are means to enhance vision. Only, of course, with the patient’s acceptance and willingness to go on with life, learning new skills and discovering new means to maximize vision. The eyes may be dimming but the mind is still bright, as my Dr. von Livonius instilled in me!
I got to explore visual aids- lighting, high-add glasses, loupes, telescopic devices, electronic video magnifiers, CCTV systems, contrast enhancement filters to name a few. These were offered to the patients, tailor-fitted to their desires and goals. Orthoptists, Jessica Semmelsberger and Lisa Kast taught me a great deal and refined my skills with refraction and orthoptics of low vision patients. Mr. Ralph Emminger (Contact Lens Ambulance) has also been a fundamental part in addressing refractive issues that can be corrected by contact lenses in both pediatrics and adults. He emphasized on the proper handling, instructions and education to the patients and to their care-givers. He was precise, thorough and caring to all. 
Another crucial part of low vision management is the skills of daily living. These were imparted to me by Ms. Kathrin Schrek, Ms. Eveline Walisko and Ms. Sophia Dreher (Advise on technical aids Bavarian Federation of the Blind and Visually Impaired- BBSB). They showed me tips and tricks that can easily be applied by patients to their daily needs and safety at home, and also some advice on street-friendliness. This is an essential part of low vision management that helps in patients’ security and independence. 
During my succeeding months, I was not only confined to Low Vision but also to the department of Pediatrics & Ophthalmo-Genetics, Uveitis and Electrophysiology. Thanks to the warm generosity of Prof. Ehrt, Prof. Rudolph, Prof. Thurau and Ms. Christa Will, respectively. Spending time with them during clinics was enjoyable, fun-filled, and deep learning. They understood my wish to learn from them because low vision and their departments are very much interconnected. 
I thank all the assistants and residents Drs. Lisa, Max, Viki, Maurice, Franziska and Miranda to name a few who I worked with during my rotations. Thank you for your kind patience in translating to me everything in the English language, showing me around and making me feel comfortable. Thank you to the patients, our greatest teachers, who permitted me to talk to them, examine them and let me learn from them. 
Gratitude beyond words. The lessons you planted, I shall bring with me, and harvest the fruits back in the Philippines.”   – Dr. Ann Jelynne Marfori 

Dr. Isabel Cauende Queza from Angola: Retinoblastoma
Host: Prof. Joaquim Murta and Dr. Guilherme Castela
Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Coimbra, Dept. of Ophthalmology (European Reference Center for Retinoblastoma) in Coimbra, Portugal

Sponsor: La Fondation Théa, France

“I begin by thanking Almighty GOD for allowing this training to take place.
To the International Ophthalmological Fellowship Foundation (IOFF), Théa Foundation- Subspecialty Fellowship Program in special to Mr Didier Renault for this great project, for funding the scholarship and for betting on continuing education of professionals from countries with fewer resources in the pursuit of knowledge for excellence in eye care.
Helena Felipe for being the godmother and liaison between the Board of the National Ophthalmological Institute of Angola (IONA) and the entity sponsoring the scholarship. Always attentive and concerned with the continuous learning towards excellence.
There was the need to attend beyond the area of retinoblastoma other areas of interest, namely: oculoplastic and emergency in its clinical-surgical modalities, areas suggested by the Tutor and approved by the Director of the ophthalmology service.
My experience in retinoblastoma and oculoplastics was very profitable and gratifying, because it increased the theoretical and practical knowledge essential for the approach to retinoblastoma and not only. It also allowed to deepen knowledge without neglecting the previously learned, creating a harmony between the competences of the activity and the professional growth.
I could see that the success of the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of retinoblastoma requires a multidisciplinary team made up of: oncologist, radiologist, geneticist, psychologist and the ophthalmologist, without forgetting the important role played by the family in this team, because without their collaboration it would be very difficult to achieve satisfactory results.
In relation to oculoplastics we have learnt various surgical techniques, some of which have never been seen before, which will help in the clinical and surgical approach to these pathologies.
A report has been prepared where we briefly describe the activities carried out during the training in retinoblastoma at the Paediatric Oncology Reference Centre situated at the Coimbra Paediatric Hospital, which took place from 27 June to 27 September 2022 (3 months). This centre is a European reference in the treatment and follow-up of children suffering from this tumour. 
Other activities were carried out that contributed to the improvement of the knowledge acquired in ophthalmology, including attendance to morning meetings of the ophthalmology service.
We consider that the internship was an added value for personal/professional development, as it fostered self-confidence and the will to acquire new knowledge and learning.
I thank once again on behalf of the sponsor of the scholarship IOFF, being the sponsor for this great opportunity that give the National Ophthalmological Institute of Angola, could benefit from a training to one of its professionals. I learned a lot. I look forward to returning for another apprenticeship.
Attached are some photos of my daily life during the training period.
Thank you very much Mr Didier Renault and Théa Foundation.”

Dr. Rebecca Bapu Sapu from Dr. R. Congo: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Christoph Hintschich
Ludwig-Maximillian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: La Fondation Théa, France

“It’s a pleasure to come back to you after those 3 months of fellowship in Germany to announce to you that I’m already home, I am in good health and all my family too. I’m grateful for this opportunity given to me to do that training. One word to explain my gratitude: Thanks!”

Dr. Abdala Majdi  Abdulhamid from Libya: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: OmniVision GmbH, Germany

“My Subspecialty Fellowship Grant award and the delightful opportunity of the fellowship at one of the leading Indian ophthalmic centres.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the IOFF and OmniVision GmbH for granted me this fellowship and to Mrs Cordula Gabel-Obermaier for making my experience beyond my expectations.
I can’t express my grateful and appreciation to her, she helped me throughout my journey.
She provided me with professional advice and assistance. She was always quick to respond. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am to her.
I would like to address my thanks to Dr Vikas Mahatme and his team. The Mahatme Eye Hospital and Eye Bank is an important and influential centre for research and higher training in India.
During my training, I was fortunate to take part in the examinations of patients in the out patients department clinics, to observe rare and complex patients, and I have the opportunity to participate in the academic lectures and to share my experience with my colleagues.
I started my surgical training in the wet lab by the “step by step” techniques, then when I have become more proficient and confident I started my cataract surgeries on the OT, I  acquired new surgical skills in Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsification and Small Incision Cataract Surgery) under the guidance of Dr. Nikhilesh and other trainers.
I was exposed to high volume ophthalmic surgeries and was able to witness the broad surgical expertise in different subspecialties.
The clinical fellowship in Nagpur – India had offered me a great combination of cultural experience and academic and clinical improvement that widened my knowledge, improved my professional and teaching skills and gave me new professional contacts.”

Dr. Amna Dafalla Elbasheer from Sudan: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
University Hospital Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol Eye Hospital, UK

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Ophthalmology Foundation, and say thank you for your generosity in funding my Neuro-Ophthalmology fellowship program.
I am very honoured to be the recipient of this award, and hop that many other doctors can have a such great opportunity with you. 
I have just finished my three months program in UK Bristol Eye Hospital, it was very rich period of studying, surpassed my expectations, under supervision of very qualified Neuro-Ophthalmology specialists, on a daily base clinics from (9am-5pm), in addition to attend conference and participate in a Neuro-Ophthalmology research, l have gained valuable knowledge and very interesting experiences, and I am looking forward to be able to give back to my community once I resume my career again, and establish a Neuro-Ophthalmology clinic in Sudan, since we have no such important subspecialty, and we really need it in our country. This would have not been possible without your act of generosity in support of the program. I will always be grateful to you for your help making my dream real. 
Sincerely, Amna”

Dr. Cem Kesim from Turkey: Medical Retina
Host: Prof. Francesco Bandello
Ospedale San Raffaele, Università Vita Salute, Medical retina and Imaging Unit in Milan, Italy

Sponsor: Nevin Baykent Sağlık ve Eğitim Vakfı, Turkey

“I would like to thank my host supervisor Professors Francesco Bandello and Giuseppe Querques at Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, My sponsor TKRCD-Nevin Baykent Foundation for Health and Education, and fellowship program creator IOFF for this precious opportunity for me to happen. The clinical fellowship in Milan had offered me a perfect combination of academic knowledge, clinical improvement and cultural experience that a host institution can offer. I am confident to implement the clinical knowledge and management skills that I have acquired during my fellowship on my routine clinical practice. I also feel excited that I will always be in contact with my host institution and I will seek any possible collaborations to happen in the future.”

Dr. Irfan Qayyum Malik from Pakistan: Vitreoretina
Host: Mr. Saurabh Jain
Royal Free Hospital in London, UK
In the picture there is Dr. Malik with his supervisor Dr. Danny Mitri (on the right)

Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Stiftung, Germany

“First of all I’m really thankful to Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation who provided me this opportunity to upgrade my knowledge and skills in the field of Viteroretina from Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust London.
Mr Danny Mitry was my supervisor in the field of Viteroretina in Royal Free Hospital London.
Mr Riaz Asaria was another Vitreoretinal Surgeon in Royal Free Hospital. 
I was lucky enough that I got the chance to work with both renowned Vitreoretinal surgeon of UK. I attended the Clinics of Medical Retina mostly in the morning. Operating Lists were usually in the afternoon. 
I observe the preoperative assessment and post operative follow up of these patients. The cases I observed included mostly Retinal Detachment, Macular hole ILM Peeling, proliferative tractional Retinal Detachment, Vitreous hemorrhage and exudative retinal Detachment. I feel fortunate that I get the opportunity to examine these cases and observe and assist their surgeries through the microscope and all my doubts get cleared by an expert regarding the case. 
In addition to attending the medical retina clinic at Royal Free hospital, I also go to St Pancras and Whittington hospital. All the hospitals are well equipped with the advance machines and its amazing to see variety of posterior segment pathologies and their structured management. To date, I have seen many cases of cystoid macular oedema, diabetic retinopathy, AMD, CSR, sickle cell retinopathy, toxic maculopathy, Vitelliform macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa, JFT, Intermediate uveitis, Posterior uveitis, panuveitis and vasculitis. Whenever possible I try to go to the Procedure room to watch intravitreal injections and lasers.
I am quite happy that I get enough time to discuss cases with the consultants in clinics and they are kind enough to elucidate my queries.  
I passed my my very good time and attended many theatres of Mr. Jain Saurabh who is pediatric ophthalmologist and squint specialist in Royal free Hospital London. He is also the Director of Royal Free Hospital. I also attended many theatres of Glaucoma and oculoplastic just for my interest.  Generally, Friday afternoons are for teaching and mostly the case presentations and lectures are online.”

Dr. Sadiat Saka Eletu from Nigeria: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Dr. Marc Schargus
Asklepios Clinic Nord in Hamburg, Germany

Sponsor: Ursapharm Arzneimittel GmbH, Germany

“Dear IOFF, 
Am doing great here in Germany at Asklepios. Am really learning here and enjoying every moment spent so far, the environment is very conducive and Prof. Schargus and his team are very acceptance and receptive. Attend to any question i asked and usually give an understanding response bearing in mind that the country I came from is of different status from here. They are very tolerant and even language is no a barrier to my learning. 
My experience is worthwhile, a lot of theories are now real or practical before me and have a marvelous experience in this regard.  This exposure I would say is wonderful both in clinical and surgical practices, am not limited or restricted in terms of where to go or see things happening in the institution. This I really appreciate and say thank you to IOFF for making this possible and Asklepios (Prof. Schargus and team) for making it achievable. 
The daily routine begins with daily meetings in the morning from 7:55am Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 7:30 am on Tuesdays, then ward round in some part of the facility, clinics in Ambulance, and Outpatients Units and Surgeries in theaters (Central or Ophthalmic).  This is how I rotate through all these units.
On my resumption, I was assigned to a guardian Dr. Tarau who is now a good friend, took me round and presents all activities for the day to me for me to decide how I want to navigate for the day, she helps a lot to translate anything said to me, this she does every day, I specially acknowledged her. Everybody (Dr. Stenberg, Dr. Dave etc.) are actually nice to me and inform me of any surgical procedure of interest (Glaucoma) to me to attend in the theater when they are about start, if am in the clinic. They are all great teachers. The resident are also responsible and good people.”

Dr. Mohammad Yahya Albadani from Yemen: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Hello every one, I am Dr. Mohammad from Yemen, I have completed a short fellowship in Cataract Operations for three months.
It gives me great pleasure to write this humble letter of gratitude to all. Words fall short when I try to express my sincerest gratitude for your sponsorship.
I would like to thank all the supporters as well as Cordula Gabel-Obermaier Executive for IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowships for this scholarship in Cataract Surgery for three months. It was an organized, smooth and clear program and Ms. Cordula Gabel-Obermaier response to messages and clarification was prompt. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her kindness and good treatment, as well as for giving me this invaluable opportunity. I was hoping to meet her in training, but I hope we’ll have a meeting in the near future.
I also thank Dr. Vikas Mahatme for agreeing to train, receive and host me at Mahatme Eye Bank Eye Hospital. He was a humble and quiet doctor who likes to see the trainees in their best condition during training, all my respect and appreciation to Dr. Mahatme. He also responds to any inquiries or questions from the trainees without delay. I learned a lot during this short period on cataract operations, of which I completed sixty surgical cases, 28 surgical cases SICS, and 32 Phaco cases, through which I was able to do all the steps in the right ways under the supervision Operations Doctors and they are as follows: Dr. Nikalish, Dr. Rotuga, Dr. Sonali, Dr. Snahal, as well as the operating staff who had support and assistance in completing all operation cases. I also learned how to deal with complications, what are the appropriate methods for them, how to avoid complications and the appropriate solutions for each case. Also, through the training, I learned how to follow up the patient, what are the appropriate medications, how to use them, and what tips and instructions are given to the patient before and after the operation so that complications do not occur later.
I will not forget Mr. Santosh, who is distinguished by his smile, elegance, kindness, and good handling for what he did with me in the wetlab, and for giving me all the correct and multiple steps and how to deal with complications. It’s a nice thing to start my day with Mr. Santosh in the Wetlab, and I don’t forget the cup of coffee we were taking in the break, thank you my friend.
The hospitality at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital by Dr. Vikas Mahatme was fantastic, I had the opportunity to see some historical sites, parks, malls and some beautiful places in Nagpur City and make many friends from different countries during my training. It is true that life has difficulties and obstacles, but with friends and Colleagues, the difficult becomes easier and becomes more beautiful and sweet.
u have done for me and I will continue to work hard. I feel so privileged and humbled to have received this sponsorship.
Mere words cannot express how thankful I am but where words fall short I will make up for it with doing well in the field of work, thank you for your support.
Finally I hope to come back here in the future so I can practice more in more complex cases.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Sincerely, Dr. Mohammad Albadani”

Dr. Gabriel Bondar from Brazil: Cataract Surgery
Host: Prof. Quan Dong Nguyen
Byers Eye Institute at University of Stanford, Palo Alto, CA, USA

In the picture, on the right to Dr. Bondar is Dr. Artis A. Montague, his supervisor.

“I think the IOFF-Subspecialty Fellowship Program was very well organized. I would like to thank Ms. Gabel-Obermaier for always being helpful and for providing quick/prompt replies to any questions that appeared. She was always available and made sure that all was going well!
The IOFF Fellowship at Stanford University was an invaluable opportunity to experience an outstanding medical practice performed in a center recognized worldwide by its excellence. I had the pleasure of working with remarkable ophthalmologists that provided state-of-the-art care to their patients. Dr. Montague, my host, is a masterful surgeon/ophthalmologist and one of the kindest professors I have ever met. She made sure that I felt welcomed and comfortable since my first day, created a schedule for me throughout the program and set me up for success with all faculty and staff. I feel so lucky to have been under her supervision.
I felt well integrated into the team since the beginning, both in clinics and in the OR. It was a privilege to join amazing ophthalmologists that were always willing to share their knowledge and experience.
I also had the pleasure of attending a training course in Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) organized by SEE International and Stanford Ophthalmology.
My last Saturday there was wonderful. During the day, I attended the annual Stanford Ophthalmology Research Day, where cutting-edge research projects were showcased by Byers Eye’s trainees. At night, the annual Stanford Ophthalmology Graduation ceremony and dinner was held, where my program came to a memorable ending. There, I was able to say goodbye to all the extraordinary people I had met at Stanford.
I am very grateful to the IOFF, Stanford University and Dr. Montague for this wonderful experience. I believe I am now more qualified to practice in Brazil and will do my best to pass on the knowledge I acquired to residents and fellows, ensuring continuity of care over time. I hope that I can make a difference!”

Dr. Adel Adnan Morshed from Yemen: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Santen Germany GmbH

“I am Dr Adel Adnan from Yemen, I finished my three month fellowship in Cataract Surgery, I am satisfied during training, so thanks to the consultants of Mahatme Eye Hospital and all staff, all of them are wonderful!
I learned a lot during the training period, I learned how to prepare and examine patients in outpatient clinic and how to do cataract surgery, step by step first  in the wetlab, then in operation theater. Altogether I did about 60 cases, thereof 23 cases of SICS and 37 cases of Phaco.
I learned how to deal with simple cases and how to deal with complications and I followed up all patients post-operatively. Really, I am happy for that because I now return to my country and can offer help to my patient and teach our residents: this was my target.
Thank you to Santen for the donation, help and support.
Thank you to Ms Cordula for precise help and follow-up all the time.
Warm and kind regards, Adel Adnan.”

Dr. Abdullahi Sadiq from Nigeria: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Marc Mackert (left)
Eyeclinic at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Germany

Appreciation Letter to the sponsor:
“I would like to start by expressing my sincere appreciation to the IOFF in general and Cordula Gabel-Obermaier in particular for the opportunity given to me to fulfil my life-time dream of obtaining glaucoma fellowship from the prestigious ophthalmology department of Ludwig Maximillian University Munich Germany under the tutelage of a versatile glaucoma surgeon, Prof Mark Mackert. However, this could not be possible without the generous support of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG who sponsored the training.
During the three -month fellowship, I had been exposed to different surgical procedures such as trabeculectomy, trabeculotomy, deep sclerectomy, micro shunt, Ahmed Glaucoma Valve, goniotomy, MIGS procedure as well as lasers such as continuous wave and micropulse transscleral CPC. Additionally, I learnt a lot about some glaucoma diagnostics such as CVF, OCT and how to use them to monitor for progression in patient with glaucoma.
Furthermore, I have seen a paradigm of an efficient system in LMU and an ideal way of patients’ management in busy eye clinic setting. Patients are given staggered appointment and all must have done their diagnostics before seeing the specialist. Their doctor-patient interaction, trainer-trainee engagement as well as doctor-doctor relationship were fantastic and worthy of emulation in my practice. The people are met were very hospitable and helpful. Prof. Marcket played role as my trainer and travel advisor. He would always arrange places that I need to visit every weekend and through his guidance I had been to places whose memory will forever remain in my mind.
I also had the privilege of meeting Cordula Gabel-Obermaier and her father Prof Gabel in person who hosted me to a dinner in an exotic Italian restaurant located in the heart of Munich. We had impressive discussion about their plans for ophthalmologists and eye care in low- and middle-income countries.
Thank you, Dr. Abdullahi Sadiq”

Dr. Harikrishnan Marappan from India: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Prof. Prem Subramaniam
University of Colorado Anschutz in Aurora, CO, USA

Sponsor: The Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

From the report to the sponsors:
“My visit at the University of Colorado hospital, Aurora was a very rewarding one .
This fellowship training gave me ample opportunities to upgrade my clinical knowledge/skills.
I would like to note the high professionalism of the doctors at the institute with whom I had been working during the whole period of the observership. We worked with on daily basis . They accepted me very well and made my stay at their department very pleasant.
I will never forget the time I spent with doctors of Neuro-Ophthalmology department.. They are excellent doctors and perfect teachers.
During my fellowship training, I attended outpatient clinics of Neuro-ophthalmology clinic everyday . I had the opportunity to learn fundamentals of Neuro-ophthalmology and recent updates from the internationally well renowned faculties in the speciality. I observed surgeries in OR and also had opportunities to observe research activities.
I attended the residents teaching sessions every Wednesday morning and Grand rounds every Friday.
I learned a lot not only in outpatient department, but in their office and OR also. The process of clinical evaluation and discussing the cases with faculty helped me understand the basic clinical approach, differential diagnosis and treatment modalities.
This training program has definitely helped me to achieve my objective of understanding new and better techniques of Neuro-ophthalmology/ Adult strabismus/ Thyroid eye disease in order to implement the techniques on fellow patients for their benefit.
I thank the IOFF fellowship board and my sponsors for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
Yours sincerely, Dr Harikrishnan M.”

Dr. Jibat Gemida Soboka from Ethiopia: Vitreoretina
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal
MGM Eye Hospital in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation and DOG, Germany

The letter to the sponsors:
“Dear Madam/Sir:
I am delighted to write this letter of appreciation to IOFF for realizing my dream of doing vitreoretinal fellowship in India beginning in January 2022.All this happened because of the generous support of the Dr. Rolf Schwiete Foundation and the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG). My country, Ethiopia, has a high burden of blindness. Despite the high-volume burden of blindness, the number of subspeciality trained ophthalmologists is very low. Observing the demand for well-trained professional eye doctors, being offered this opportunity as a young fellow of vitreoretinal surgery has significant implications for my home country.
Moreover, I would like to express my gratitude for the financial award I have received, which helped me a lot to cover my travel, accommodation, and daily expenses.
As the first international long-term fellow of vitreoretinal surgery for MGM Eye Institute, I am lucky to witness their unwavering support in terms of lifting me up from a clinical knowledge point of view as well as surgical skill. In light of medical retina, I am able to develop confidence in giving LASER treatment and intravitreal injection for those who are in need. Surprisingly, one of the invaluable contributions of this training is, I am able to screen and manage premature babies with ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity) which is a potential blinding disease.
I would like to thank again the IOFF for giving me this opportunity and the donors for their generous support. As an ophthalmologist from a developing country, this scholarship creates a huge responsibility in my career in regard to serving the underprivileged community in eye care services, particularly for those who will lose their sight due to treatable blinding causes of retinal diseases.
Best regards, Jibat Gemida Soboka”

Dr. Daniel Marye Abera: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Nicole Eter
University of Münster, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Münster, Germnay
(Dr. R.-L. Mertè is in the picture with Dr. Abera)

Sponsor: Bayer AG, Germany

“I would like to thank the IOFF for providing such an excellent opportunity for young ophthalmologists, like myself, to broaden their knowledge of various subspecialties of ophthalmology. 
I spent 7 weeks at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Münster, Germany, attending a three-month subspecialty fellowship in glaucoma. 
I am very grateful to the Director of the Clinic, Professor Dr. med. Nicole Eter and to my Supervisor, Dr. med. R.-L Mertè for their kindness and teaching activities.
Since the University of Münster’s Ophthalmology department is one of the primary centers for treating glaucoma in the area and conducts numerous glaucoma surgeries each year, it provided me with the opportunity to improve my practical skills in glaucoma, to observe the complicated and interesting cases of refractory and secondary glaucoma, to become thoroughly familiar with some new techniques in glaucoma surgeries, and with the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. 
I got the ability to encounter many clinic departments throughout my stay. I worked in the glaucoma clinic, examined patients who had undergone glaucoma procedures, learned about postoperative therapy, and discovered how to handle various complications.
In the operating theatre, I observed different glaucoma surgeries such as trabeculectomy, all micro incisional glaucoma surgery (MIGS), canaloplasty, and the implantation of different glaucoma drainage devices. I also had the chance to participate in some of the surgeries and watch corneal and other sorts of ocular surgeries while I was in the operation room. 
With the assistance of Dr. med. R.-L. Mertè, I got the opportunity to attend the 34th International Congress of German Ophthalmic Surgeons (DOC), which will take place from June 23–25, 2022. Meeting experts and seeing the most recent developments in ophthalmology will be a great opportunity.
Overall, I feel more competent serving glaucoma patients because of this fellowship, and I have gained knowledge of many of the best practices from the leading experts in the field. In addition to meeting many beautiful, motivated, and friendly coworkers, I also learnt a little German.  
I am extremely appreciative of everything Dr. R.-L. Merté did for me during my stay in Münster.
I will continue my efforts to deepen my understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of all varieties of glaucoma throughout the remaining days. By doing this, I will be able to put what I have learned into practice and, as a result, make a contribution to my home institution and country.
Finally, I would like to thank the donors for helping to fund the program, which helps young ophthalmologists make a significant contribution to the fight against various ophthalmic problems, particularly in a country like mine.
Sincerely, Daniel “

Dr. Chigozie Ifeoma Echieh from Nigeria: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Frank G. Holz
Supervisors: Dr. Karl Mercieca, Dr. Michael Petrak
University of Bonn, Dept of Ophthalmology in Bonn, Germany

Sponsor: Dieter Mann GmbH, Germany

From the her report:
Conferences attended
1. European Glaucoma Society Conference (EGS Congress) held at Athens, Greece, (4th – 8th June, 2022). (The conference was sponsored by Prof. F. Holz). I attended the congress with my Supervisor Dr K. Mercieca who made me make the most of the event by introducing me to companies that can provide ophthalmic devices to improve eyecare in Nigeria.
2. European Eye Epidemiology Consortium (E3 Consortium) Annual Meeting held at the University Hospital Bonn from June 23rd – 24th. During this conference I learnt some statistical methods used in data analysis.
Highlights of the fellowship
1.Improved knowledge and clinical acumen in glaucoma medical and surgical management
2. Improved surgical skills of trabeculectomy – Tutored on releasable sutures, Moorfield’s trabeculectomy technique, management of a failed bleb
3. Exposure to other glaucoma surgical techniques – glaucoma drainage devices, deep sclerectomy and minimal invasive glaucoma surgeries (i-stent, Omnis, Hydrus), preserflo and xengel implants.
4. Participation in glaucoma unit research activity.
5. Learning a bit of the German language and culture.
Conclusion
The fellowship was a transformative experience for me. I look forward to transferring skills learnt during my fellowship to my colleagues back in Nigeria, improve the ophthalmic care in our region as well as apply the newly acquired ophthalmic skills to the benefit of my patients at our center.
Special thanks to Prof. F. Holz, Dr K. Mercieca, Dr Petrak.
Thank you to all the doctors and staff of Universitats-Augenklinik Bonn.
Thank you to my benefactors Dieter Mann GmbH – Mrs Anne and Mr Dieter Mann. You have planted a tree which will yield good seeds.”

Dr. Safinatu Mohammed Wada from Nigeria: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme
Supervisor: Dr. Nikhilesh Wairagade (right)
Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital, Nagpur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I was able to improve my surgical skill and I also acquired new surgical skills in Cataract Surgery (Phacoemulsificaton and Small Inicsion Cataract Surgery) under the guidence of Dr. Nikhilesh and other trainers. I have become more proficient and confident in doing Cataract Surgery.
The hospitality at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital was great, I had the chance to see some historical sites in Nagpur and made a lot of friends during my training. I enjoyed the Indian delicacies, especially the Hyderabad chicken biryani.
I would use the skills acquired in trying to combat the commonest cause of avoidable blindness. I will also train other trainees at my home institute.
Thank you for the opportunity!”

Dr. Fikerte Adele Enedalew from Ethiopia: Cornea and External Diseases (12 months)
Host:
Prof. Gullapalli Rao
LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India

Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Ursapharm GmbH and AMO Germany GmbH Johnson and Johnson (both from Germany)

From a letter to her sponsor:
“This is Dr Fikerte Adelle Enedalew, an ophthalmologist from University of Gondar – Ethiopia. (…)
At this point, I would like to place on record my gratitude to you as your kindness has allowed me to pursue my IOFF -Subspecialty Fellowship.
Your generous donation to the fellowship program has enabled me to enjoy a hands-on training in one of the prestigious institutions in the world. LV Prasad Eye Institute is equipped with all the highend diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. The consultants are highly experienced and well respected internationally. The cornea clinic is one of the busiest in the center where more than 300 patients with different corneal issues are seen daily.
The training program is well structured and highly organized. In the first month, we had induction courses that included scientific lectures in all areas of ophthalmology. We also received training on management and leadership skills.
Afterwards, I was assigned in service areas that have direct connections with my cornea training. This includes the eye bank, microbiology and pathology laboratories. During my rotation in these service areas, I did not only observe how they do their jobs but also trained how to do basic laboratory techniques. Now, I am able to do basic laboratory tests by myself that help to make a better decision during patient management especially in emergency hours where lab technicians may not be available.
In the second month, besides my posts in the outpatient department and the operating theatre, I was assigned in dry lab (simulator) training with one-to-one mentorship to learn basic microsurgical skills. This has helped me to refine my skills and learned new tips and technique from the mentors.
I am granted clinical practice permit from the National Medical Council of India. Thus, I have the privilege to evaluate patients in the out-patients department and do surgeries in the operating theatre under supervision of my consultants.
Currently, I am being given the opportunity to operate on patients with different ocular conditions in my area of training. I am hoping to get more surgical exposures in the months to come. I am also using the wetlab to learn new surgical techniques that has improved my confidence while operating on my patients.
overall, it has been a very successful three months at LV Prasad so far for me. I hope the remaining months also be very fruitful. Completion of my full training will make me the first fully trained Cornea specialist in Ethiopia. This gives me the high drive and enthusiasm to learn new surgical skills to transfer them back home that will transform our residency training program and the service we provide to a higher level.
I will be the first fully trained cornea and anterior segement specialist.
Thank you once again for sponsoring this scholarship!
Dr. Fikerte Adele Enedalew”

Dr. Ranko Gvozdenovic from Serbia: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Berthold Seitz ML
University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: OphthalmoPro GmbH, Germany

“I am very grateful to the IOFF Fellowship team, my sponsor Mr Thomas Zimmer for giving me this opportunity for clinical and surgical improvement. Under the mentorship of Prof Berthold Seitz, I learned many new surgical principles, gained a broader insight into the use of modern diagnostic technologies, improved my clinical deduction, and improved my engagement in scientific research. I also got an insight into a very good system of knowledge transfer from older to younger colleagues. I am very grateful to other colleagues and staff of the clinic for their hospitality, scientific and technical support. I hope that acquaintance and friendship will continue in the future. I think that this training program came at the right time in my career, so that I could transfer and use my new knowledge in the best possible way in my country. Through my further work, both clinically and surgically, I want to achieve goals I set for myself as a doctor who wants to deal with anterior segment eye pathologies. I will gladly recommend to all my colleagues to apply for an IOFF Fellowship award program.”

Dr. Anton Chudin from Russia, Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Nicholas Volpe
Northwestern University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Chicago, IL, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I am grateful for the chance the Ophthalmology Foundation gave me. This fellowship programs is unique opportunity to improve the professional level as a specialist, get a life-changing experience, meet interesting people and make friends. I have finished my three months observership in Oculoplastic, gotten to know modern techniques and ways to manage cases of ptosis, dacryostenosis, eyelid malpositions and deformation, eye evisceration and enucleation.

After becoming a full-fledged Ophthalmologist, I have realized that there was a group of patients that I knew I could help but I did not have enough knowledge and experience. The Oculoplastic subspecialty was my next step I wanted to become better at. You gave me the unique chance to broaden the spectrum of surgeries I can perform now and acquire a theoretical up-to-date basis that has made me confident in my management plan for many patients. Despite having no hands-on training in Northwestern Memorial Hospital, I could observe many cases and ask any questions from great people and professionals who shared their knowledge with me and treated me very kindly. Now I can build up the new information on my previous experience, which makes me feel confident that I will be able to manage Oculoplastic cases in my country after coming back. Moreover, I have several cases planned at the end of this month.”

Dr. David Berrones from Mexico: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agarwal
MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“Hello everyone, I’m David from Mexico, I just completed a 3 months cataract surgery fellowship in India at MGM Eye Institute. During this time I learned how to properly perform SICS having no previous experience in this technique. I thought about doing this program for a long time (somewhere between 2 to 3 years) so if you find yourself in the same hesitation, please listen to me: Don’t be. Apply now.
It is very redundant to write about the hands-on experience you gain here, but for us surgeons, it is important to mention, so: yes, you learn a lot and you learn well. These months will be a life-changing time, you will expand your surgical experience in ways you never imagined and most importantly, your mindset and goals will change forever. There is no way of understanding how much poor people need us until you live it, and we ophthalmologists have the great blessing that we can perform a surgery that can change people’s lives forever; learning how to do it without expensive machines or a high budget, increases exponentially the number of lives you can change in the future. Of course, needless to say, it is not going to be easy, you will have to experience a big cultural shock and you will realize there are so many things outside your -big or small- bubble.
Believe me, if you decide to apply for this program your life will change forever, and after you finish it, you will become a better surgeon and most importantly a better person. So, if you take the leap and decide to join this amazing program, you will never regret it. I sincerely hope that for you, just as for me, this will be a watershed moment from which things will never be the same.”

Dr. Ciprian Maftei from Romania: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Amandeep Singh Arora
Arora Eye Hospital and Reetina Center, Jalandhar, India

Sponsor: OmniVision GmbH, Germany

From his appreciation letter to his sponsor:
“I am sincerely honoured to have been selected as the recipient of the IOFF Fellowship Programme 2022, sponsored by Omnivision GmbH. Your support gave me the unique opportunity to pursue my long-term career goal to improve the quality life for patients through continuing education in an environment that fosters my skills and practical knowledge in both clinical and surgical ophthalmology.
Thanks to the support provided by the fellowship programme, I was able to fund my participation in a 3-month mentorship at the Arora Eye Hospital and Retina Centre hospital in Jalandhar, India, under the supervision of Mr. Amandeep Singh Arora, MD and CEO. During this time, I acquired important skills in cataract surgery. My daily routine started with learning new approaches for difficult clinical or surgical cases. We discussed every step of patient management, from history to differential diagnosis and best standards for investigations. This took somewhere six hours. After a short break, we all dressed up for operating theatre. Step by step, my coordinator showed me the surgical steps and gradually I performed assisted surgery and by the end of fellowship without any assistance. The whole team always gave me confidence and stepped in when necessary. We always discussed my difficulties and kept track of my performance. The safety of the patients was a priority for the medical team and never left any potential complication unsolved. I learned to do phacoemulsification with a high degree of confidence and this will help me so much during my surgeries to come.
Moreover, having worked in a different cultural setting, challenged me both on a professional and personal level, having to navigate different understandings of professional practice and cross-cultural communication. In the end, it was an enriching experience that helped me improve my team-work, problem-solving and decision-making skills, while gaining new cultural perspectives, which I am confident will prove useful in any work setting in the future.
Having returned to Romania, I am excited to continue my work and use my enhanced skills and abilities to make a difference in my patients’ lives by providing the highest quality of patient care. I plan to put in practice the skills and lessons I learned and make meaningful changes for my patients eye health. This experience is definitely one of the stepping stones to my future professional course.
Thank you again for this opportunity and for supporting young ophthalmologists. It can really drive change.”

Dr. Juan Manuel Lopez from Argentine: Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Eric Souied
CHU Creteil, France

Sponsor: Retina Research Foundation, USA

“My sincere thanks to Prof. Alice R. McPherson for being the founder of this wonderful program, by generating resources and helping ophthalmologists to make the path to their professional dreams and they will obtain a training of excellence being able to choose between the best ophthalmologists in the world.
To Prof. Souied I write respectfully to thank you for the great growth opportunity you have given me by accepting me as part of the Intercommunal Hospital of Creteil, as well as to thank you immensely for your great help and collaboration in the implementation of my retinal fellowship. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this great team that is characterized by having an optimal working environment and excellent scientific bases. The Intercommunal Hospital of Creteil is of the highest level that far exceeded my expectations, at the forefront in scientific and technological knowledge.
This Fellowship will help shape my career and contribute to my professional development.
With this Fellowship, I hope to be able to diagnose diseases at an early stage and provide patients with multiple treatment options, including cutting-edge therapy. I also hope to pass on my experience and knowledge to the next generation of ophthalmologists.
I would like to thank Mrs Cordula Gabel-Obermaier immensely for the excellence in her work, for being always available, to be cordial and her constant help, as well as the project IOFF leaders Prof. Peter Gabel and Prof. Berthold Seitz together with Retina Research Foundation (RRF) for helping young ophthalmologists evolve and find their dreams.”

Dr. James Lokoja Ajige from Nigeria: Glaucoma
Host: Dr Rebecca Ford
Supervisor: Prof. Bani Sebastian
Bristol NHS in Bristol UK

Sponsor: Prof. Michael Kaschke and friends, Germany

“I have accompanied the consultants (3) and glaucoma fellows (3) in their complex glaucoma clinics where decisions on patient care are made, post-op patients are reviewed and minor clinic procedures are performed.
In the theatre, I observe as various surgeries are performed – trabeculectomies, cycloablation, phaco/i-stent, tube surgeries like Ahmed tube surgeries, preserflo mini tube, and Paul’s tube.
I also engage in so some practice with a phacoemulsification simulator.”

Dr. Sedoten Dagbeyon Bashorun from Nigeria: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Alireza Peyman
FEIZ Hospital in Isfahan, Iran

Sponsor: Coronis GmbH, Germany

“My Experience at Isfahan is one that I will remember for a very long time for many good reasons, Right from the airport, I was amazed at the kindness and hospitality of my host and the people of Isfahan.
They made me settle quickly and I felt at home despite the vast difference in our culture. I have learnt new skills at the Feiz hospital. Everyone was willing to share their knowledge with me and I leant a lot from the clinic, operating room and presentation sessions. This acquired knowledge and skills will definitely lead to an improvement in my practice and patient management. I am most grateful to IOFF and the Feiz hospital for this rare but unique opportunity. I have had a very fruitful and rewarding time at the Feiz hospital and Isfahan”.

Dr. Zahed Khaled Chehab from Lebanon: Vitreoretina (12 months)
Host: Prof. Murat Hasanreisoglu and Dr. Cem Kesim
KOÇ University, School of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey

Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation and Carl Zeiss Meditc AG, both Germany

“My first experience was really amazing from first moment I met with Prof. Murat Hasanreisoglu. He and Dr. Cem showed me most of the hospital and helped me to get around. In every minor detail he guided me even outside the hospital. And regarding the training Prof Murat is very informative, and he always involves me in dealing with the patients from examination till decision making. So I feel this will be a great year.
I would like to thank my sponsors, Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation and Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, for giving me this great opportunity, and surely I will take advantage of every moment of my Fellowship to become a better ophthalmologist.”
(Dr. Zahed Khaled Chehab is shown very left in the picture.)

Dr. Duygu Gulmez Sevim from Turkey: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger
Supervisor: Prof. Marc Mackert
Ludwig Maximilian University, Dept of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany

Sponsor: Mr Rolf Schwind, SCHWIND eye-tech-solutions, Germany

“I am grateful to the IOFF Fellowship Board, my sponsor Mr. Rolf Schwind, owner of SCHWIND eye-tech-solutions GmbH and the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Department of Ophthalmology for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I learned so many things during my observership under Dr. Marc Mackert and other excellent professors, as well as attend outpatient appointments with ophthalmologists.
I had a great experience that extended my horizons in the field of ophthalmology. I have been able to significantly enhance my surgical skills and knowledge in the field of glaucoma both in diagnosis and management. The fellowship program was the best possible path for improvement both for me and my institution hopefully leading to a successful career in glaucoma which I had cordially desired.”

Dr. Omer Othman Abdullah from Iraq: Vitreoretina
Supervisor: Prof. Huseyin Oksuz
Dunyagoz Hospital, Adana, Turkey

„I’m very Im happy as Prof. Huseyin Oksuz teaches me the secrets and
tricks in both surgical and medical retina that he got through 25-30 years
of his own experience. What a charming fellowship.“

Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed Hosny from Egypt: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Prof. Berthold Seitz
University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, Germany

Sponsor: Alimera Sciences Ophthalmologie GmbH, Germany

“Being here in Homburg is a new experience for me that exceeds my expectations. I can learn from Prof. Seitz and his team how they can mange different and challenging corneal cases and I can practice in the wetlab. I think I am learning now at one of the best corneal centers in the world. 
I want to thank Prof. Seitz and Alimera Sciences Ophthalmologie for such a great opportunity.“


Dr. Pallavi Singh from India: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Robert Goldberg
Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA in Los Angeles, USA

Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA

“I was fortunate to receive the IOFF’s support to pursue my higher training under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Alan Goldberg. It has been a life-changing experience! I had the opportunity to learn newer surgical techniques such as endoscopic DCR, finer nuances of surgical planning, and also how to coordinate and carry out complex skull-base surgeries with interdisciplinary support. However, the most invaluable part has been my experience with Dr. Goldberg in the clinic. It has been a lesson in not only improving my diagnostic prowess but more so in developing a great rapport with patients I have also been able to work on some research projects with the UCLA team and am hoping for a few publications in the time to come. The cherry on the cake has been my wonderful colleagues who made me feel loved and cared for! I am indeed very grateful for the IOFF and Ophthalmology Foundation grant to enable such a wonderful learning experience.”

Dr. Bolajoko A. Adewara from Nigeria: Oculoplastic
Host:
Prof. Swati Kaliki
LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India

Sponsor: Dr. Theiss Naturwaren GmbH, Germany and Dieter Mann GmbH, Germany

“I have now completed the first month of my 3-month Oculoplastics fellowship at the Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery Services Department of LVPEI, Hyderabad, India and my experience so far has already exceeded my expectations. The quality of teaching, training and the range of oculoplastic diseases has really expanded my knowledge.
I have found the staff to be friendly and welcoming and they have supported me in getting well integrated into the institute. I have worked under the supervision of Dr. Swathi Kaliki and five other Oculoplastic faculty members. I have observed several new techniques in diagnosis, treatment and surgery. They have also allowed me to assist them in patient evaluations in the clinic and during a few surgeries in the theatre. I have benefitted a lot from their wealth of experience. Dr. Swathi Kaliki has been a wonderful supervisor. My time and training with her has increased my knowledge and decision-making skills in Oculoplastics and Ocular Oncology in particular.  I look forward to the rest of my fellowship training at the institute. I am confident that at the end of my fellowship, I will have achieved my goal of becoming a much better Oculoplastic surgeon and will be able to apply what I have learnt here to improve my practice in Nigeria. I will gladly recommend to my colleagues to apply for an IOFF Fellowship award at this institute.”

Dr. Sabrina Mukash from D. R. Congo: Glaucoma
Host: Prof. Christophe Baudouin
Hospital Des Quinze Vingts, Paris, France

Sponsor: La Fondation Théa, France

„I am very impressed by Professor Baudouin, who welcomed me into his department. Very educational, he was available to guide me on the medical and surgical management of Glaucoma and other associated pathologies. This allowed me to better understand this pathology. I was also well received within his team and quickly integrated myself.
I sincerly thank the Fondation Théa, through Mr Jean-Frédéric Chibret, who agreed to sponsor my training. Their open-mindedness and determination in the work particularily inspried me.”

Dr. Burcu Yucekul from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: PD Dr. Suphi Taneri
St. Francis Hospital, Münster, Germany

Sponsor: Willy Robert Pitzer Foundation, Germany

“I had really good time in Münster and this new experience exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Suphi Taneri and Prof. Dr. Arnd Heiligenhaus how to manage different and challenging corneal cases. I have been able to significantly enhance my surgical skills and knowledge in the corneal diseases. I have also been able to work on some research projects and I hope they will be published in time. I am very grateful to IOFF and Willy Robert Pitzer Foundation for giving me the opportunity to have such a wonderful educational experience.”

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