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Welcome Address by the President of the International Council of Ophthalmology

Dear President Duncker, Officers, Members, and Guests,

I am pleased and deeply honored to be able to send to each of you and to the DOG greetings from the International Council of Ophthalmology and congratulations on your 150th anniversary.
As you may know, the ICO and DOG trace our heritage to the same year: 1857. In September of that year, just seven years after Helmholtz described the ophthalmoscope, 150 ophthalmologists
from 24 countries met in Brussels for the first International Congress of Ophthalmology. If my history is correct, several prominent German ophthalmologists met to discuss what they would present at that Congress and decided to form the DOG.

The two dominant features of that first International Congress were von Graefe's description of the iridectomy and the great emphasis placed on "military ophthalmia" -- trachoma. Happily, we
are seeing the end of trachoma, and a much easier procedure for angle closure glaucoma.

It is fitting that you are celebrating “150 years of scientific exchange and innovation in ophthalmology." The DOG has the distinction of being the oldest national society in ophthalmology, with a distinguished history of many critical contributions. The great forefathers
and leaders of the DOG include such names as Axenfeld, Leber, von Hippel, Wessely, Custodis and Meyer-Schwickerath. Just 50 years ago your leaders were key in bringing forth microsurgery.

I deeply regret I cannot be in attendance, but one of your own, ICO Immediate Past President Fritz Naumann will give greetings for the rest of the world's ophthalmologists.

It was 80 years ago in 1927 that the International Council of Ophthalmology was founded, first, to stabilize the International Congresses, and subsequently to begin to provide international services
to societies and individuals throughout the world, with a particular emphasis in the developing countries. Our current programs include the Basic and Clinical Science Assessment tests, Fellowships, Residency Program Director Courses, Clinical Guidelines, and Visual Acuity Standards.

The next World Ophthalmology Congress (the XXXI International Congress) will be held in Hong Kong, June 28-July 2, 2008, and we hope many DOG members will join us there.

On behalf of theWorld's ophthalmological societies and ophthalmologists, I send greetings to you for what I know will be a most successful and joyous 150th anniversary event.

President of the International Council of Ophthalmology
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Best wishes,
Bruce E. Spivey, MD, MS, MEd
President of the International Council of Ophthalmology