My fellow ophthalmologists,
fellow members of the DOG,
the DOG 2021 online, the 119th conference of the German Society of Ophthalmology will be taking place virtually from September 30th to October 3rd, 2021, and I would like to invite you to attend.
Digitization continues to advance, and this includes in the field of ophthalmology and also in the conference landscape.
The development is being involuntarily fueled by the coronavirus crisis. Last year, the German Society of Opthalmology decided to use a conference format that was a novelty for you, just as it was for many other medical associations and societies. New forms of continuing education and advanced training have established themselves in a very short time, the handling of Zoom conferences had to be learned, PowerPoint presentations had to be held online, and chat rooms had to be operated and managed. And, last but not least, the use of the various social media has become a matter of course for many, including those who are more critical regarding their use and who have otherwise approached social media rather hesitantly. A lot had to be learned within a very short time period in 2020. This required a high degree of flexibility and adaptability from many of us. Nevertheless, the advantages of digital conferences are obvious. I’m thinking of all the people who could not have traveled to Berlin due to travel restrictions or the many colleagues who were prevented from traveling to an in-person conference for other reasons like family or work. The response and the format of the virtual congress last year allow us to look to the future in a positive and optimistic way. We, therefore, want to continue working with these digital formats in the coming year, because I believe that we need to guide, improve and shape digital development of the DOG conference.
Since we cannot foresee what will happen next in the pandemic and needed to make an early, reliable decision for economic reasons, we will see each other online again in 2021. Even if we are all thirsting for face-to-face conferences and are missing direct communication, our experience with the 2020 conference has shown that our online conference provides us with a good alternative to exchange and discuss our science.
We will continue working on making the DOG 2021 virtual conference even more lively, and jointly work on entering into a dialog and networking with one another – as good as it gets digitally.
Digitization does not stop with our clinical activities either. Artificial intelligence may be a means of making our diagnostics more precise in the future. Telemedicine approaches can put us in a position to look after and care for patients even in regions where there is a lack of doctors. The science of ophthalmology in Germany, but also worldwide, finds itself at a crucial point and is facing pioneering changes that not just the younger ones among us could shape. It is also important not to leave behind the generation that grew up on analog, but instead to take them with us into the digital future in order to benefit from their “analog” experiences. I am convinced that we will all manage to successfully walk this tightrope together. The German Ophthalmological Society offers the best conditions for this. With this in mind, I would like to warmly welcome you to our 2021 conference, and I cannot hide my feelings of joyful expectation and anticipation for this conference.
Prof. Dr. H. Thieme