The countdown is well under way to the Young Retina Specialists (YOURS) Day taking place as part of the EURETINA 2021 Virtual Congress, with organisers promising delegates an exciting cocktail of high-quality science, education and entertainment.
“We are really excited about the quality of the programme we have put together this year covering a wide variety of recent developments and fundamental research in the field of retina,” said Chantal Dysli MD, PhD, YOURS Committee Member.
Taking place on Saturday 11 September, the YOURS programme this year features two symposia, a science slam, two mystery case sessions and a keynote Ophthalmologica Lecture.
“I don’t know of many other conferences where there is a programme dedicated specially for and from young ophthalmologists and researchers, so I think that is already worth highlighting,” remarked Dr Dysli.
As Dr Dysli sees it, the interest of the YOURS programme extends beyond the younger specialists under the age of 40 that make up the majority of the membership.
“We remarked at the in-person conferences before the COVID-19 crisis that it was not only young doctors and researchers who were interested in our sessions but we also had a lot of more experienced ophthalmologists attending. They are interested in what the younger generation is doing and I think it underscores the quality of the scientific programme that we put together for all age categories and not just our own demographic,” she said.
One of the strengths of the YOURS programme is that the majority of the research presented comes from the young researchers themselves,” said Dr Dysli.
“They are often the ones doing the hands-on work, not the clinic supervisors or directors, so it is nice to be able to provide them with a dedicated platform to showcase their research. For the two symposia, for example, we will have three speakers per symposia with 15 minutes per speaker. All of the speakers are under 40 years of age but have already made their mark in their chosen field and usually have interesting data and insights to share with the audience,” she added.
The diversity of the YOURS programme is reflected not just in the variety of content but in the geographical origins of the presenters which are drawn from a global base, Dr Dysli points out.
“We have invited speakers from all over the world and I think it represents a good opportunity to connect young researchers from different continents and regions. It is one of the advantages of the exclusively online format in that we can invite speakers who might not have been able to travel physically for an in-person conference,” she said.
Although the format of this year’s programme is online, there will be still be plenty of scope for audience interaction via the two mystery cases sessions scheduled for September 11.
“In mystery cases, the presenter introduces a case study or a problem and the audience is invited to suggest a diagnosis or course of action based on the evidence presented,” explained Dr Dysli. “The case is developed step by step as more information is revealed using lab results, photos, and so forth. It is challenging and encourages creative thinking to arrive at the correct diagnosis. We also get valuable insights into rare diseases and it is one of the highlights of the programme for many delegates.”
A less formal approach to presenting data and research is encouraged in the popular Science Slam session which has become a regular feature of the YOURS programme.
“The idea is to present a scientific study or original research in creative and interesting ways for the audience,” said Dr Dysli. “Previous participants, for instance, have used rap music or science fiction movies to make their points in a memorable and entertaining way. The science is still the primary focus but the presenters have to opportunity to use their imaginations to bring the data alive and make their points in a way that the audience will remember,” she added.
Another highlight of the YOURS programme this year will be the Ophthalmologica Lecture, which will be given by Professor Camiel Boon, MD, PhD, FEBOphth from the Netherlands. His lecture entitled “Serous business: dissecting the broad spectrum of diseases with subretinal fluid in the macula” will give an overview of his research work in recent years focusing on the wide range of ocular diseases that can present with serous subretinal fluid in the macula.
The Young Retina Specialists (YOURS) programme takes place on 11 September 2021. YOURS offers several benefits for younger members under the age of 40 including three years of free membership. Further information is available at https://www.euretina.org/yours/