Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I would like to send a message of support to all ISOO members at this challenging time. The Executive Board has decided not to produce a Spring Newsletter for 2020 due to the enormity of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic which has overtaken all other issues.
Many of our members will be overwhelmed currently by the huge administrative task of rescheduling patients and changing practice to remote consultations as much as possible. Digital records and videoconferencing for consultations and multidisciplinary team meetings are becoming the new norm. We all recognize that the rapid development of telemedicine is one of the positives which will come out of this enforced change in the way we practice.
In addition, the cancer referral pathway has been affected, we appreciate that those units around the world which normally accept international patients are no longer able to do so. Most general eye departments are only seeing emergency cases, this is a concern as the vast majority of eye cancer does not present in this way. One thing is certain once the pandemic is over, we are likely to be inundated with patients who will present with more advanced disease. I am aware that some units have already been advised to stop accepting new cancer referrals, but most departments around the world are battling hard to continue to treat eye cancer, albeit with the additional pressure of a SARS-CoV-2 risk/benefit consideration that comes with any hospital admission at this time.
A number of ophthalmic societies around the world have helped considerably by producing local guidelines on how to stratify risk for patients and medical staff. Please see the link http://www.aaoop.org/corona-virus/ containing the Ocular Oncology Guidelines, written for the AAOOP by eminent members of ISOO, and soon to be available on the ISOO website. They have identified four levels of urgency in Ocular Oncology which will help in practical decision-making when resources are limited. I am sure many ISOO members are involved in re-writing local guidelines for Ocular Oncology practice in their respective institutions. We all have difficult ethical decisions to make especially as intensive care units are stretched to capacity and our anaesthetic
colleagues are diverted to front line SARS-CoV-2 cases.
Many academic meetings have been cancelled or postponed. The Ophthalmic Oncology Group Meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel happened to be one of the earliest meetings affected. Last week the International Council of Ophthalmology announced that they have converted the World Congress of Ophthalmology, due to be held in Cape Town South Africa 26-29 June 2020, to a virtual meeting WOC2020 Virtual®. Thankfully, this will allow many of the Ocular Oncology Symposia planned to go ahead. I very much hope that our next ISOO Congress 18-21 June 2021 will be allowed to proceed. Professor Martine Jager and her team in Leiden continue to make great efforts in the planning of our next Congress, when I optimistically believe the world should be back to a