I’m still feeling a little jet lagged after traveling halfway around the world, but what an amazing trip! Along with over seventy other ophthalmic imagers, technicians, and physicians, I was in Singapore to attend the 2017 International Conference on Ophthalmic Photography (ICOP).
ICOP is a joint educational venture between several ophthalmic imaging organizations including the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society (OPS) from the United States, the Ophthalmic Imaging Association (OIA) from the UK, the Australian Institute of Medical and Biological Illustrations (AIMBI) from Australia, and the Ooghelkundige Fotografie Nederland (OFN) from the Netherlands. Delegates from 15 different countries were in attendance at this conference.
The three day program was held at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). The educational program put together by Paula Morris, CRA, FOPS and Sarah Armstrong, CRA, OCT-C, FOPS, included invited lectures, special keynote lectures, and Scientific Paper sessions from dlegates in attendance. Keynote lecturers included Wong Tien Yin, MD, PhD discussing: How a Fundus Photograph Can Save Your Life, Giovanni Staurenghi, MD who presented: Old and New Angiography, Suber Huang, MD who showed amazing images in his lecture: The ASRS Image Bank – a Worldwide Legacy and Gavin Tan Discussing: OCT Angiography – Changing the Way We See.
I was honored to attend ICOP as not only a delegate, but as an invited lecturer. I ended up presenting all three days of the conference and it was a great honor for me to contribute to the program in this way. I chose topics that I felt would appeal to an international audience and I think it worked out okay. I presented a version of Ophthalmic Jeopardy! that I customized for an audience that was unfamiliar with the namesake television quiz show, that while famous in the U.S., isn’t broadcast in Singapore. Talk about performing a high wire act without a net! I made sure I had some content that everyone could relate to including local Singapore trivia and a review of content covered by presenters in many of the earlier lectures.
The imaging staff at SNEC is renowned for the quality of their ophthalmic photography and they were clearly happy to be hosting this event on their home turf. On a tour of the facility, award winning images were displayed prominently on the walls of the imaging department. It was inspiring to see such an amazing collection of work of the highest quality. Photographers Joseph Ho, Kasi Sandhanam and the rest of the SNEC staff are amazing imagers that are able to balance the efficiency needed to handle a high volume of patients with the highest standards in image quality. They are true professionals in our field.
Speaking of high quality imaging, the conference also included a photo competition and exhibit that showed some incredible clinical and artistic imaging. Award winners included Sarah Armstrong, Lisa Brealey, Angela Chappell and John Leo.
In addition to the educational content during the conference, there were exhibits by a number of sponsoring vendors, some incredible refreshments during the breaks, and a fun evening of food, music, and comradery at the welcome reception.
A highlight of the reception was the photo booth that not only produced mementos of the occasion, but acted as the perfect icebreaker, as spontaneous groups of old friends and new acquaintances would pose together in the spirit of ICOP!
Of course as professional imagers, most attendees had cameras with them and spontaneous selfies were popping up everywhere!
This is the second time that ICOP has been held in this thoroughly modern and spectacular city of Singapore, having previously been hosted here in 1990. And what a great venue for an international conference! Singapore represents an incredible blend of Asian cultures, British influence, modern architecture and great weather.
Like many other delegates I tried to visit as many of the popular sightseeing spots as possible including, Marina Bay, Merlion Park, Super Trees, Sentosa Island, Chinatown, Buddha Tooth Temple, Hawker Markets, the Mt. Faber Cable Car, Henderson Waves, Botanical Gardens and many more. With all these famous sights and numerous museums, there is so much to do and see in this amazing city.
Local residents Paul Chua and Albert Sim took some time to show us some of the local sights in the evenings and recommend the best food stalls in the hawker markets. Joseph Ho hosted an amazing dinner of chili crab at Jumbo Seafood. Alan Wee wrote a great blog post for the OPS/ICOP website with a list and map of places to visit, along with suggestions for some of the best food and coffee shops in the city. It was great having such knowledgeable local guides to help us experience all that Singapore has to offer.
Like many other ICOP delegates, I tried to take in as many of these sights as possible. One of the attractions on my list was the Trick Eye Museum on Sentosa Island which seemed like something an eye imaging professional should check out, at least for a laugh or two. It’s a place where you can take some really cheesy selfies with props and silly scenes in the background! Although I didn’t have time to visit, I walked past and snapped a photo or two. Maybe next time.
ICOP 2017 was an amazing success. Kudos to the international ICOP planning team of Paula Morris, Sarah Armstrong, Chris Barry, Ethan Priel, Becky MacPhee, Angela Chappell and Gerard de Graaf.
The SNEC staff and organizing committee were incredible hosts from Gemmy Cheung, MD, Wong Tien Yin, MD, Gavin Tan, MD, Dr Thiyagarajan Jayabaskar and Lim Hui San, to Joseph Ho, Kasi Sandhanam, and the rest of the imaging and AV teams. They really know how to put on a professional conference.
It was great seeing old friends from around the globe as well as make several new ones.
ICOP promotes networking with colleagues and seems to make the world just a little smaller. I believe that each of us found that we all have so much in common no matter how far apart we live. I look forward to the next ICOP which will take place in 2020 at a location yet to be determined.
*ICOP group photo by Govindarjan Jayaraman.