SOE Grant placement at The Institute of Ophthalmology “Dr. Gama Pinto” in Lisbon, Portugal by Dr. Sava Barišić

As a part of SOE training grant I had a pleasure to spend three weeks, during the month of June 2012, at The Institute of Ophthalmology “Dr. Gama Pinto” in Lisbon, Portugal. After being informed from SOE Secretariat that I’ve won the grant, I started looking for a good center to get in contact with. I heard very good things about the Institute from a colleague of mine who had visited it couple of years ago, and after doing some research on the Internet, I decided to give it a try. I contacted Prof. António Castanheira-Dinis, who was stated as the person in charge, and I was pleasantly surprised with prompt and detailed reply from his behalf. All arrangements were organized easily and with no issues whatsoever. Even when I was forced to change the date of my arrival, Prof. Dinis was more than helpful to rearrange everything without any problems.

Upon my arrival to The Institute, I was introduced to Dr. Maria Luísa Santos the Institute’s director. The Institute itself is quite a remarkable place partly located in a restored palace and is a place of great and very visible tradition, combined with modern, well equipped ophthalmology clinic in an adjacent newly built building. Dr. Santos walked me through the Institute, showed me most of its facilities and introduced me to the most of present colleagues. Since I’m interested in cornea and anterior segment pathology, I was appointed Dr. Hugo Noguiera, a young and perspective specialist working at the Cornea department.

My day-to-day activities with Dr. Noguiera consisted of several activities. First, there was work with patients referred to the Institute for general ophthalmology consult.  I found out the types of the most common pathologies ophthalmologists are facing in Portugal and the ways they are treating them.  Of special interest to me were patients referred for corneal diseases. I was able to see a number of patients with keratoconus and other ecstatic disorders, as well as cases of corneal and anterior segment trauma and infection. Through discussions with colleagues and observation of clinical cases I improved my knowledge on this subject, because this is something that I wasn’t able to experience in such an extent at my home clinic. The new part of the Institute has a modern surgical block with four operating theaters and state-of-the-art equipment and the time spent there was most interesting. I witnessed numerous surgical procedures of FAKO, corneal and conjunctival surgery, as well as some posterior segment interventions, performed by skilled and well organized surgical teams. Last week I spent on Surgical Retina department with Dr. Vitor Agoas. I have seen numerous posterior segment patients mostly with retinal detachment that required surgery, performed successfully by Dr. Agoas and his team, as well.

I was impressed with the level of organization of work in the Institute, especially knowing the challenging economical surrounding it has to deal with. Feeling that my time spent at Institute “Dr. Gama Pinto” will be valuable addition to my professional experience, I have to express my gratitude to the complete staff for the privilege to be able to work along such skilled and dedicated clinicians. I believe that I will be able to apply the knowledge gained here in my everyday work in the future. Therefore, I must recommend the Institute and its staff to everyone willing to improve his professional skills and knowledge in every field of ophthalmology.  The beauties and attractions of the city of Lisbon only add to that impression.

 Dr. Sava Barišić, University Eye Clinic, Novi Sad, Serbia