Success Stories

The fellowship taught me techniques that I am using today. I perform about 7-10 surgical procedures every week, including goniotomy procedures, glaucoma, cataract surgery, and some oculoplastics. (Pterygium is very common in my land.)

—Dr. Diaz Carrasco, Fellow

After his International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) fellowship, Dr. Carrasco returned to Ecuador where he was the first glaucoma specialist at the Homero Castanier General Hospital.  He was especially grateful that the fellowship taught him goniotomy procedure techniques, which he uses to treat glaucoma in children. 

As of 2007, there were 26 ophthalmologists for every 1,000,000 residents of Ecuador.  This translates to 0.026 ophthalmologists for every 1,000 people. [1]

I have been suffering from diabetes since I was eight. I am young and well educated. If I had known more about diabetic blindness, I would not have lost vision in my right eye. Thankfully, Dr. Ma was able to save the vision in my left eye.

—Ting Wang

According to VISION 2020, at least 171 million people worldwide have diabetes, a figure that is likely to more than double by the year 2030. After 15 years of having the disease, about two percent with diabetes become blind, and about 10 percent develop severe visual loss. After 20 years, more than 75 percent of patients with diabetes will have some form of diabetic retinopathy, which will compromise their ability to work and and [to] live productive lives.

Diabetic retinopathy is now responsible for 4.8 percent of the 40 million cases of blindness due to eye diseases throughout the world (i.e., 1.8 million people) and diabetic retinopathy is now emerging as one of the fastest growing causes of visual loss.

In 2007, the ICOFoundation established the Peking University Eli Lilly Diabetic Eye Disease Center through the guidance of Dr. Bradley Straatsma. Since then the Peking University Eye Center has been conducting screening for diabetic retinopathy in Beijing.  The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinic in China is the first and only Chinese clinic to adopt international standards on diabetic eye disease screening, patient education and physician training.

The course gave me skills that helped me as a tutor, not just as a doctor. I used the step-by-step approach to carry out an educational plan for topics. It is very important to learn the difference between what students know and what they need to know.

—Dr. Çağatay Çağlar

The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) leads Residency Programs Directors Educational Courses every year.   Courses have been held in Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Slovenia, and Turkey. 

The interactive approach of these courses has allowed participants to acquire practical information and skills, and improves their residency-training program. Several countries who have hosted these courses formed residency program directors’ groups to continue efforts in enhancing resident education.


I am elated to have an opportunity to learn so much, particularly about the exfoliation syndrome, which had not been reported before in my country.

—Dr. Olusola Oluyinka Olawoye

Dr. Olawoye is one of the first fellows to complete an ICO Sandwich Fellowship and also the first to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) under the ARVO Host-a-Researcher Program. In 2011, she was the first person from Nigeria to have a presentation accepted at ARVO. She was also on the ICO World Ophthalmology Congress® (WOC) 2012 program. 

In June 2012,  Dr. Olawoye will return to Nigeria and continue her impressive work treating glaucoma and other ophthalmological issues.   

A study in 2000 estimated the prevalence rate of preventable blindness in South West Nigeria at about 1.0% -1.5%. Compared to a prevalence rate of 0.2 % - 0.3% in most developed countries.

Observing and documenting the aseptic protocols that have practically eliminated risk of endophthalmitis [was especially useful.] These protocols are easily transferable to our set up and can be applied to any ocular surgery.

—Dr. Fisseha Admassu

After returning to Gondar, Ethiopia, Dr. Admassu began to use techniques like a aseptic protocols and detailed patient workups to reduce complications after cataract surgery.  

In many developing countries like Ethopia, the standards for sterilization and aseptic proctols have often been arbitrarily devised by regulatory agencies.  Since cataract surgery is a relatively common ophthalmology surgery, reducing the risk of endophthalmitis and other post-surgery complications is especially important.  

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