The International Council of Ophthalmology Joins The Eye Cancer Foundation to Train Developing-World Physicians to Treat the Childhood Eye Cancer, Retinoblastoma

Proper Training Expected to Substantially Reduce Mortality Rates 

The Eye Cancer Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) to promote and conduct eye cancer fellowship education for physicians from unserved countries.

The ICO Fellowship Team

The ICO represents and serves professional associations of ophthalmologists from around the world. The organization’s mission is to “work with ophthalmologic societies and others to enhance ophthalmic education and improve access to the highest quality eye care in order to preserve and restore vision for the people of the world.”

The ICO Fellowships Program Leaders

Left to right: Peter Gabel, MD (former ICO Fellowships Director), Cordula Gabel-Obermaier, MD (ICO Fellowships Executive), Berthold Seitz, MD (ICO Director for Fellowships), and Bill Felch (ICO CEO).

This new partnership will expand and enhance The Eye Cancer Foundation’s existing fellowship programs. It will focus specifically on addressing the need to reduce world-wide mortality related to retinoblastoma by ensuring that more patients have ready access to a trained eye cancer specialist in their region.

Untreated childhood retinoblastoma

Untreated childhood retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer in children. It typically develops by the age of five. Retinoblastoma affects approximately 8,200 children each year. The incidence rate is somewhat higher in developing countries, where most of the children succumb to metastatic retinoblastoma. In contrast, there exists a better than 96% survival rate in developed countries like the USA.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment will save lives. In countries without eye cancer specialists, children with retinoblastoma typically go undiagnosed and untreated until it is too late. Local general ophthalmologists are not familiar with modern eye cancer medicine. Training doctors to diagnose and treat retinoblastoma in these areas will save lives. The Eye Cancer Foundation and the International Council of Ophthalmology has set a goal of saving 1,000 children by 2020.

Dr. Paul T. Finger, Chairman, The Eye Cancer Foundation

Dr. Paul T. Finger, Chairman, The Eye Cancer Foundation

The Eye Cancer Foundation currently funds 25 half-year retinoblastoma fellowships in ophthalmic oncology for candidates from unserved or underserved countries. The new partnership with the ICO will help expand the scope and reach of this fellowship program.

“The Eye Cancer Foundation is looking forward to a long and productive relationship with the International Council of Ophthalmology,” says our Chairman Dr. Paul Finger

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