It has been fascinating to know the evolution in ophthalmology has brought to the mankind. History dates back to the ancient days of Sushruta and even before Hippocrtaes, and it is captivating to know about the cataract surgery, and how it hardly differs from the modern technology. The word ophthalmology comes from the Greek roots ὀφθαλμός, ophthalmos, i.e., “eye” and -λoγία, -logia, i.e., “study of, discourse”, ophthalmology literally means “the science of eyes”. Perhaps, it is one of most developed subject in medical field at current situation, providing cure even for the blind people from the birth.
However, we are still in the preliminary stage regarding the history of ophthalmology in Nepal, although “Reaching the unreached” by Dr Ram Prasad Pokhrel provides enormous information to some extent. Hence, it would be an immense help from our fraternity, who could provide and share their experiences regarding the subject matter. This would be a great contribution to the future generation in the years to come. There is no doubt, though, we lack proper evidences of our ancient eye history, the services that we are providing is in parity with the developed countries and this is definitely a matter of pride for all of us.
Established in 1985, the Nepal Ophthalmic Society has been one of the leading professional organizations of the country. It has contributed towards development of human resources for eye care, advancement of ophthalmic services in the country and of ophthalmology as a science. It has experienced a growth of members from minority in the beginning to many new members every year.
In addition to holding several national activities annually, the Society has experiences of organizing many programs of international importance. Among them, the SAARC Ophthalmic Conference in 1999 and the Congress of Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology in 1997 are noteworthy.
Nepalese Journal of Ophthalmology was launched in Jan 2009 (www.nepjoph.org.np), which was another milestone in the progress of the Society. The society members are indeed proud to have it fully indexed in Medline, Index Medicus and Pubmed from the very first issue. This has been the first subspecialty journal to be indexed in Nepal, adding a feather in its cap.
The Nepal Ophthalmic Society organized a national conference few years ago and speculated it to be the first “All Nepal Ophthalmological Conference” which caused a surprise as well as confusion in an account of our ophthalmology history. Naturally, it could not have been the first event of an active society that was established 26 years ago. Indeed, it was a herculean task to solve this riddle. We put forward a question to almost all the senior ophthalmologists regarding its number, whether it was second, third or more. However, it was difficult to retrieve any accurate answer as we lacked the documentations of such historical events. As society has already conducted international conferences in the past (APAO, SAARC), it is expected that the national conferences must have taken place. The first documented annual conference outside Kathmandu was in 2011 in Mechi, followed by Pokhara in 2013, and it is going to be Biratnagar at present. Therefore, in view of conferences being conducted in a regular manner, we came in to the conclusion of the conference of 2015, being 18th. This has been decided after a number of meetings with executive members and with senior ophthalmologists additionally.
The ophthalmologists of Eastern Region of Nepal started their annual scientific conference in 2003 and have been conducting it regularly. Nepal Ophthalmic Society with the support of ophthalmologists from western region started Western Regional Ophthalmic Conference in 2015. The Nepal Ophthalmic Society has decided to organize annual conference and regional scientific conferences in every region of the country with an aim to impart ophthalmic scientific knowledge to all ophthalmologists of Nepal.