The next SOE Congress will take place from 13–16 June 2019 in Nice, France SOE 2019 European Society of Ophthalmology 13–16 June in Nice France

European Society of



 SOE Board and Honorary Members at SOE Board meeting 2017, Barcelona, Spain

SOE is short for Societas Ophthalmologica Europæa and is the European Society of Ophthalmology with representatives from 44 National Ophthalmological Societies in Europe. After the second World War discussions were started to create a European Society of Ophthalmology.

The final decision to create SOE was made on 26th April, 1956. The first Council was created by 19 representatives from different European countries. Professor Bailliart from France was the first President and Professor Jules François, Belgium, was elected Secretary General.

Executive Committee


Associated Members

Honorary Council Members

  • Hans Slezak, Austria
  • Tamara Birich, Belarus
  • Micheline Spiritus, Belgium
  • Luc Missotten, Belgium
  • Amila Alikadic Husovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Wesselin Tanev, Bulgaria
  • Nikica Gabric, Croatia
  • Ljerka Henc-Petrinovic, Croatia
  • Pavel Kuchynka, Czech Republic
  • Ernst Goldschmidt, Denmark
  • Pait Teesalu, Estonia
  • Leila Laatikainen, Finland
  • Ahti Tarkkanen, Finland
  • Jean-Paul Adenis, France
  • Iva Beradze, Georgia
  • Michael Foerster, Germany
  • Martin Reim, Germany
  • Manfred Tost, Germany
  • Ioannis Pallikaris, Greece
  • George Theodossiadis, Greece
  • Piroska Follmann, Hungary
  • Ildiko Suveges, Hungary
  • Fridbert Jonasson, Iceland
  • Philip E Cleary, Ireland
  • Peter Eustace, Ireland
  • Rosario Brancato, Italy
  • Giuseppe Scuderi, Italy
  • Ayman Mdanat, Jordan
  • Alvydas Paunksnis, Lithuania
  • Snezana Bosnakovska, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Johan Harald Seland, Norway
  • Jozef Kaluzny, Poland
  • Tadeusz Kecik, Poland
  • Joao Ribeiro da-Silva, Portugal
  • Antonio Castanheira-Dinis, Portugal 
  • Dorin Chiselita, Romania
  • Yury Kalinnikov, Russia
  • Zinaida Ivanovna Moroz, Russia
  • Slobodan Golubovic, Serbia Herzegovina
  • Andrej Cernak, Slovakia
  • Juan Murube Del Castillo, Spain
  • Erik Linner, Sweden
  • Bo Philipson, Sweden
  • Rudolf Klöti, Switzerland
  • Fritz Körner, Switzerland
  • Gabriel van Rij, The Netherlands
  • Demir Basar, Turkey
  • Alistair Fielder, United Kingdom
  • Zdenek Gregor, United Kingdom


For SOE Statutes click here


Zdenek J. Gregor, FRCS, FRCOphth. Past President of SOE


SOE was founded in 1956 as The Societas Ophthalmologica Europea (SOE), with the aim “to promote ophthalmology in Europe and to stimulate co-operation between European ophthalmologists and between their National Societies”. A Latin name was chosen by our founding fathers to emphasize its supranational nature, an important issue in post-war Europe. Over the past 50 years, SOE has grown from a relatively small society into a conglomerate of the national ophthalmological societies of all the 40 European countries, representing more than 40,000 European ophthalmologists.
Society’s mission While the original aims remain relevant, today’s Society’s mission is to become the central point of European Ophthalmology primarily through education but also by fostering closer collaboration with Sub-specialty societies and Supranational organisations within Europe and beyond.


SOE Congresses

The SOE Congress is held every two years when numerous symposia and courses are given by leading lecturers from Europe, the United States of America and elsewhere. The meetings reflect the multinational nature of Europe, which has more than 36 official languages but the entire programme of the SOE Congress is in English. Over the years, the SOE Congresses took place in different European cities, such as in Athens, Hamburg, Milan and most recently, in Amsterdam in 2009. The 50th anniversary of the founding of SOE was celebrated in 2007, in Vienna.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) Credits

Continuing medical education is an important issue both in Europe and in the US and for SOE.

Educational Grants

SOE is very conscious of the considerable variation in the resources available in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe. To redress this, SOE provides reduced congress registration fees for most East European ophthalmologists and each year, SOE offers Educational Travel Grants for East European ophthalmologists-in-training. These grants help such young doctors not just financially, but they open the doors to sub-specialist departments in all the major European centres.

European Leadership Development Programme (EuLDP)

Leadership skills are important for any ophthalmologist and in particular for those who are active in professional societies. Therefore, SOE has sponsored several European ophthalmologists to take part in the Leadership Development Programme organised by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Recognising the complex nature of Europe, SOE has now set up its own EuLDP with the aim to identify future leaders of European Ophthalmology, to offer basic leadership training adapted for ophthalmology and to provide an informal network of peers.


The Association of the European University Professors of Ophthalmology (EUPO) holds yearly courses for Residents and SOE actively supports these: on odd years, the EUPO courses take place during the SOE Congress (a popular event with everybody as it is also open to all registered Congress delegates). SOE also provides support for EUPO courses in-between its congresses.

Pan-European collaboration

Sub-speciality societies: SOE recognises the increasing tendency among European ophthalmologists to sub-specialise and has responded by inviting all the major Sub-specialty Societies to take part in the preparation of its Congresses, giving the delegates the benefit of the teaching and personal contact with the leaders in each branch of ophthalmology. The response from all the Sub-specialty Societies has been overwhelmingly positive.

Supranational organizations: In addition to its educational activities, SOE attaches a great importance to research and to training and examinations of young ophthalmologists and collaborates increasingly closely with the European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER) and the European Board of Ophthalmology (EBO).

SOE Awards 

Helmholtz Medal

Founded in 1968 this gold medal is awarded every four years to the European ophthalmologist who has done most for the Society and for ophthalmology. The Helmholtz Medal has previously been awarded to:

J. François, Belgium

J. Charamis, Greece

M. Radnot, Hungary

B. Streiff, Switzerland

F. Fankhauser, Switzerland

H. Henkes, The Netherlands

G. Scuderi, Italy

N. Ehlers, Denmark

L. Missotten, Belgium

J. Cunha-Vaz, Portugal

Z.J.Gregor, United Kingdom

Charamis Medal

The Charamis Medal is given by the Hellenic Ophthalmological Society. It is awarded by the SOE Board every four years to a European ophthalmologist for the greatest achievement in the field of ophthalmic surgery. The Charamis Medal has previously been awarded to:

J. François, Belgium

R. Kloti, Switzerland

C.D. Binkhorst , The Netherlands

J.D. Scott, United Kingdom

G. Meyer-Schwickerath, Germany

G.O.H. Naumann, Germany

G.P. Theodossiadis, Greece

R. Zivojnovic, The Netherlands

Y. Pouliquen, France

R. Collin, United Kingdom

Ioannis Pallikaris, Greece

Henkes Medal

The Henkes Medal for Leadership in Ophthalmology, which is given by the Professor Dr Harold Henkes Foundation, was presented for the first time at SOE 2013 to Luc Missotten, Belgium. The Henkes Medal will be awarded every four years to an ophthalmologist for the greatest achievements in the field of leadership in ophthalmology.


SOE is conscious of the rapidly changing situation in European Ophthalmology and recognises the many challenges facing ophthalmologists in every European country. SOE is ready to face these challenges but its success depends on the support of each and every ophthalmologist.

View history as a PDF

SOE Educational Committee

Professor Marko Hawlina, Chairman SOE Educational Committee

SOE are delighted to announce that the SOE Educational Committee which will continue to be chaired by Marko Hawlina with the following new committee members, Jan Ulrik Prause, Bente Haughom,  Anthony Khawaja and Andrew Scott. The committee will be responsible for execution and planning of educational aspects of SOE activities such as allocation of grants for young ophthalmologists and teachers, organising educational events and reviewing SOE course outlines and recommending which courses deemed the most didactical and informative for residents preparing for their EBO exam.








SOE Past Executive Committees

From To Name Surname
2015 Present Jan Tjeerd De Faber
2012 2015 Stefan Seregard
2008 2011 Gabriel Van Rij
2005 2008 Zdenek Gregor
2003 2005 Bo Philipson
1999 2003 Alfredo Dominguez
1996 1998 Luc Missotten
1993 1996 Prof. G Theodossiadis
1989 1993 H Saraux
1984 1988 H Henkes
1981 1983 Prof. Sachsenweger
1977 1980 Prof.Jules Francois
1973 1977 Prof. M Radnot
1965 1968 Dr Werner
1964 1965 Prof von Bahr
2015 Present Wagih Aclimandos
2012 2015 Jan Tjeerd De Faber
2008 2012 Fridbert Jonasson
2005 2008 Juan Murube
1997 2004 Gabriel van Rij
1992 1997 J Oosterhuis
1988 1992 Prof Goldschmidt
1984 1988 J Edmund
1977 1982 H Henkes
Secretary General
2011 Present Thomas Fenech
2008 2011 Stefan Seregard
2004 2007 Gabriel van Rij
1997 2003 Zdenek Gregor
1984 1996 Luc Missotten
1977 1982 H Henkes
1962 1976 Jules Francois

Future Visions

Check back for updated Future Visions.

Subspecialty Societies & Supranational Organisations

Society Name Website
Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (AOI)
All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS)
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS)
American Association of Ophthalmic Pathologists (AAOP)
American Uveitis Society (AUS)
Childrens Oncology Group (COG)
Club Jules Gonin (CJG)
European Academy of Ophthalmology (EAO)
European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Eye Complication Study Group (EASDec)
European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER)
European Board of Ophthalmology (EBO)
European Contact Lens Society (ECLS)
European Eye Bank Association (EEBA)
European Flourescein Angiography Club (FAN Club)
European Glaucoma Society (EGS)
European Military Ophthalmology Society (EMOS)
European Neuro-Ophthalmological Society (EUNOS)
European Ophthalmic Pathology Society (EOPS)
European Paediatric Ophthalmological Society (EPOS)
European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS)
European Society of Oculoplastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ESOPRS) European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS)
European Society of Ophthalmic Nurses and Technicians (ESONT) – Similar
European Society of Out-Patient Eye Surgery (ESOPES)
European Society of Retina Specialists (EURETINA)
European Strabismological Association (ESA)
European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS)
European University Professors of Ophthalmology (EUPO)
European Vision Institute (EVI)
European Vision Institute Clinical Research Network (
European Vitreoretinal Society (EVRS)
International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) http://
International Intraocular Implant Club (IIIC)
International Ocular Inflammation Society (IOIS)
International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology and Vision (ISCEV)
International Society of Ocular Trauma (ISOT)
International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS)
International Uveitis Study Group (IUSG)
Macula Society
North American Neuro-Ophthalmological Society (NANOS)
Ocular Oncology Group (OOG)
Pan-American Association of Ocular Oncology (PAOO)
Retina Society (RS)
Schepens International Society
Society for Ophthalmo-Immunoinfectology in Europe (SOIE)
South East European Ophthalmology Society (SEEOS)
Swiss Society of Ophthalmology (SSO) – Similar
The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
The Cornea Society – Similar
Wills Eye Oncology Fellows Association (WOFA)
World Health Organization (WHO) WHO | World Health Organization

SOE Financial Report

SOE 2017 Board Meeting

Financial Report

The Treasurer outlined the Financial Report.

He noted that the Society continued to remain stable financially but that all expenditure must be carefully considered to maintain this position.

SOE Financial Report 2016 

SOE Logotypes


The “badge” – shows Europa, daughter of king Agenor, frolicking with Zeus on a beach in Crete. Zeus had taken on the disguise of a white bull to approach the beautiful Europa. The badge has the form of a teardrop. Tears of sorrow and tears of joy are a privilege of mankind. Sunlight and vision reveal the world. The “badge” was offered to the SOE in 1968 by Prof. L. Werner (Dublin). The design is based on a suggestion by Prof. J. Charamis.



SOE 2017 logo

The SOE congress logo is updated for each individual congress and has different designs for every congress.

The use of the SOE congress logo is prohibited without the permission from the congress committee. Should you wish to use the SOE congress logo, please send your request to:

Photography, video and audio recording.

SOE has strict guidelines regarding the use of photography, video and audio recording equipment. If registered media want to take their own photos they must send a written request.

An official SOE photographer is appointed.

© 2017 SOE – European Society of Ophthalmology