SOE Educational Grant Placement Report 2012 by George Markov

Report from visit to University Medical Center of Utrecht
‘A wonderful experience I would recommend to any ophthalmologist or resident, interested in the matters of intraocular inflammation’

To begin with, I would like to say that my positive report began even before my arrival in the wonderful city of Utrecht. The story goes back to sometime in November 2011 when I received news that I am a lucky SOE grant winner. Then, my primary goal was to find a good ophthalmology centre, dealing with the matters of intraocular inflammation. The ophthalmology department in the University Medical Center of Utrecht looked to be just the right place and, eventually, proved to be one.

The first thing impressive was the excellent communication months before the proposed date of arrival. The staff at the UMC does their job perfectly. I received an example of a weekly schedule more than a month before my arrival. Also, accommodation was settled with ease with excellent conditions and fairly good price. All the necessary and important information and requirements came very promptly.

My starting day was 2nd April. I was shown around the department, became acquainted with most of the present colleagues. As expected, the welcoming was very nice. A single week passed roughly in the following order – Monday and Tuesday uveitis patients, respectfully adult and children; Wednesday and Thursday adult uveitis. There were also opportunities to visit the operating theatre. Meetings with the colleagues and discussion days for uveitis and imaging investigations were in the schedule as well. In brief, there was not a part of the department with its doors closed for me. All along the period of my stay, the ophthalmologists and residents of the UMC proved to be very helpful in everything.

Concerning accomplished tasks, I could take part in the ophthalmic examination, discuss medical history, diagnosis, therapy, and anything else that might turn out. I was allowed to do parts of the examination process by myself. Uveitis pathology was quite varied and interesting. I had never before seen some of those entities. On Thursday afternoons, Uveitis Workshop was conducted with visiting specialists from different specialties and guest uveitis specialists. I was also glad to be able to attend visiting lecturers’ presentation on all kinds of eye matters. Friday morning was time for discussion of patients on the basis of performed imaging modalities, namely FA and ICG. I was also introduced to the research laboratory and their current activities and future projects. The last day in the hospital was 27th April. I had to leave with a sad heart, but, nevertheless, with a feeling that I had learned something important to take home for my own practice.

As a conclusion, I would recommend visiting the Ophthalmology Department of UMC Utrecht to any ophthalmologists willing to expand their knowledge in the wide field of ophthalmology, concerning uveitis, and not only. And, do not forget to take a walk on the streets of beautiful Utrecht. Amsterdam is also not so far away.