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

Dr. Deniz Kilic from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Host and Supervisor: Prof. Suphi Taneri at 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, Bristol Eye Hospital in Bristol, UK
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
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. Farouq Zayyad from Nigeria: Cornea and External Diseases
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford, Bristol Eye Hospital in Bristol, UK
Supervisor: Dr. Derek Tole
Sponsor: CBM

“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: 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 from 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 from MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India
Supervisor: Dr. Anil Gangwe and Dr. Swapnil Parchand
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 at 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.”

Dr. Abeer Ali Salim Bazara from Sudan: Neuro-Ophthalmology
Host: Dr. Rebecca Ford at Bristol University Dept. of Ophthalmology NHS, Bristol, UK
Supervisor: Dr. Denize Atan
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. Abdullah Ağın from Turkey: Vitreoretina
Host: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger from 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. Apart from her help in this process, we had social events with Cordula Gabel-Obermaier in Munich. The beautiful Munich has become even more beautiful with herself.
Between 1 September and 30 November, I had the opportunity to have a unique experience in Munich. The training hour, which started at 7.30 in the morning, continued with the surgeries at 8.30. The operations could last until 21:00 in the evening. This 3-month program continued in a full and productive manner. During this time, I had the chance to participate in current practices in vitreoretinal surgery with the help of the latest technology. Alongside the microscopic imaging, Alcon Ngenuity imaging was great for me to watch surgery in 3D. This is how I personally realized the contributions of technology to surgery.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Prof. Dr. Siegfried Priglinger, who provided all the features of being a homeowner, took care of even the smallest problem with his smiling face, sympathy, original surgical approach, and was open to teaching all kinds of information. He will always be the first name that comes to mind when I think of a chef in my life. My chef :))
Beyond being a trainer, I spend the most time with, who treats me as close to me as my own brother, perhaps exhibiting all the characteristics of being a good person beyond being a good doctor. All my love, thanks, and gratitude to Dr. Thomas Kreutzer. I learned from him all the qualities of not only being a good surgeon, but also a good family man and a good person. I hope I can keep in touch with him and reveal more scientific things from now on.
In addition to vitreoretinal surgery, I had the chance to participate in vitreoretinal surgery, cornea, and various anterior segment surgeries with Prof Dr Wolfgang Mayer. He added a different horizon, experience. Dr. Jakob Siedlecki and Dr. Benedikt Schworm were with me in this training process with all their warmth and friendship. In this process, we became like a family with the entire operating room and hospital team. Thank you everyone.
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 from 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 from 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 at 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 from 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 from 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 from 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 from 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.”  

Dr. Damaris Hodelin-Fuentes from Cuba: Cataract and Cornea
Host: Prof. Christopher Liu at 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 from 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 at Ankara University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Ankara, Turkey
Supervisor: Prof. Banu Hosal
Sponsor: Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke

“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 at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany
Supervisor: Dr. Bettina von Livonius
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 at Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Coimbra, Dept. of Ophthalmology (European Reference Center for Retinoblastoma) in Coimbra, Portugal
Sponsor: Thèa Foundation, France

“I begin by thanking Almighty GOD for allowing this training to take place.
To the International Ophthalmological Fellowship Foundation (IOFF), Thèa- 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 Fondation Thèa.”

Dr. Rebecca Bapu Sapu from Dr. R. Congo: Oculoplastic
Host: Prof. Christoph Hintschich at Ludwig-Maximillian University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Munich, Germany
Sponsor: Thèa Foundation, 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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. 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.”

Dr. Mohammad Yahya Albadani from Yemen: Cataract Surgery
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India
Sponsor: the 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 at 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
Sponsor: Santen Germany GmbH
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital in Nagpur, India

“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
Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec AG
Host: Prof. Siegfried Priglinger from Eyeclinic at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Marc Mackert (left)

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
Sponsor: The Ophthalmology Foundation, USA
Host: Prof. Prem Subramaniam at University of Colorado Anschutz in Aurora, CO, 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
Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation and DOG, Germany
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agrawal at MGM Eye Hospital in Raipur, India

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
Sponsor: Bayer AG, Germany
Host: Prof. Nicole Eter at University of Münster, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Münster, Germany
(Dr. R.-L. Mertè is in the picture with Dr. Abera)

“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
Sponsor: Dieter Mann GmbH, Germany
Host: Prof. Frank G. Holz at University of Bonn, Dept of Ophthalmology in Bonn, Germany
Supervisors: Dr Karl Mercieca, Dr. Michael Petrak

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.
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
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA
Host: Dr. Vikas Mahatme at Mahatme Eye Bank and Eye Hospital, Nagpur, India
Supervisor: Dr. Nikhilesh Wairagade (right)

“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
Sponsor: Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Ursapharm GmbH
and AMO Germany GmbH Johnson and Johnson (both from Germany)
Prof. Gullapalli Rao at LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India (12 months)

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
Sponsor: OphthalmoPro GmbH, Germany
Host: Prof. Berthold Seitz ML at University of Saarland, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, 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
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA
Host: Prof. Nicholas Volpe, Northwestern University, Dept. of Ophthalmology in Chicago, IL, 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
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA
Host: Dr. Deepshikha Agarwal at MGM Eye Institute in Raipur, India

“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
Sponsor: OmniVision GmbH, Germany
Host: Dr. Amandeep Singh Arora at Arora Eye Hospital and Reetina Center, Jalandhar, India

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
Sponsor: Retina Research Foundation, USA
Host: Prof. Eric Souied at CHU Creteil, France

“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
Sponsor: Prof. Michael Kaschke, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Bani Sebastian, Bristol NHS in Bristol UK

“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
Sponsor: Coronis GmbH, Germany
Host: Prof. Alireza Peyman FEIZ Hospital in Isfahan, Iran

“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)
Sponsor: Dr. Rolf M. Schwiete Foundation and Carl Zeiss Meditc AG, both Germany
Host: Prof. Murat Hasanreisoglu and Dr. Cem Kesim KOÇ University, School of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey

“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
Sponsor: Mr Rolf Schwind, SCHWIND eye-tech-solutions, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Marc Mackert at Ludwig Maximilian University, Dept of Ophthalmology in Munich, 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 at 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
Sponsor: Alimera Sciences Ophthalmologie GmbH, Germany
Host: Prof. Berthold Seitz at University of Saarland, dept. of Ophthalmology in Homburg/Saar, 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
Sponsor: Ophthalmology Foundation, USA
Host: Prof. Robert Goldberg at Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA in Los Angeles, 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
Sponsor: Dr. Theiss Naturwaren GmbH, Germany and Dieter Mann GmbH, Germany
Host: Prof. Swati Kaliki at LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India

“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
Sponsor: Fondation Théa, France
Host: Prof. Christophe Baudouin at Hospital Des Quinze Vingts, Paris, 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-mindednedd and determination in the work particularily inspried me.”

Dr. Burcu Yucekul from Turkey: Cornea and External Diseases
Sponsor: Willy Robert Pitzer Foundation, Germany
Host: PD Dr. Suphi Taneri at St. Francis Hospital, Münster, 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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