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On 21 February, Robert MacLaren organised a one-day ophthalmology conference in Kyiv together with Dr Andrii Ruban, President of the Ukrainian Vitreoretinal Society.

The conference was held in the basement of an hotel in central Kyiv and attended by 73 ophthalmologists from all over Ukraine, most of whom have been unable to leave the country since the Russian invasion last year. Professor Robert MacLaren took the opportunity to update them on several new developments in clinical ophthalmology, particularly in genetics and retinal diseases.

The Ukrainian medical staff have shown incredible resilience in such uncertain times.
- Professor Robert MacLaren

The conference was well received and has helped establish future collaborations. Robert also met with the Medical Director of ophthalmology in the Ukrainian Armed Forces to find out more about combat eye injuries and attended a clinic and operating list.

Robert said, 'The Ukrainian medical staff have shown incredible resilience in such uncertain times. Their clinical day is often interrupted by air raid sirens indicating an incoming cruise missile, drone or ballistic missile attack on Kyiv. After waiting in an air raid shelter, they then emerge to continue with their clinical duties as if nothing had happened.

'This one-day conference sought to update them on ophthalmology developments that they might have missed due to the war and Covid. It hopefully reminded them that we have not forgotten about their suffering and that we respect their tremendous courage in the face of adversity.'