SOE – European Society of Ophthalmology

SOE is the abbreviation for Societas Ophthalmologica Europæa and is the European Society of Ophthalmology with representatives from 40 European National Ophthalmological Societies.

Created in 1956 the first Council was made up of representatives from 19 different European countries. The first Congress of SOE was held in Athens in 1960 and was attended by 750 ophthalmologists. The Congress has grown year on year since and it is anticipated that there will be more than 4 000 ophthalmologists at the 2013 Congress.

While the original aims remain relevant, today’s Society’s mission is to become the central point of European Ophthalmology primarily through education as well as fostering closer collaboration with Subspecialty Societies and Supranational Organisations within Europe and beyond.

European Leadership Development Programme (EuLDP) 2013–2015

The EuLDP Program seeks to highlight the importance of understanding the organisation of ophthalmology outside of Europe as well as offering informal networking with counterparts in the US and Latin America.

General aims of the program are to provide a basic leadership training programme adapted for ophthalmology. To enhance advocacy issues in a European perspective, to promote ophthalmology and the SOE in general, to identify future leaders in European ophthalmology and provide them with an informal network of peers and to create a forum to enhance collaboration with the AAO and PAOO.

The fourth EuLDP class of 2013/15 includes 30 participants from 20 countries. After a brief introductory session in June 2013 at the SOE2013 Congress in Vienna, a three-day working module was held in February 2014 at the Management Centre Innsbruck. A further working module will be held in conjunction with the leadership development programmes of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology in San Francisco in January 2015. Graduation of the class will be at the SOE 2015Congress in Vienna.

European Leadership Development Programme (EuLDP) 2015 – 2017

The new class of EuLDP 2015 – 17 will commence during the SOE 2015 Congress.

Educational Grants for Ophthalmologists-In-Training from Eastern European Countries

The Board of SOE offers a limited number of grants for ophthalmologists in-training from Eastern European countries to visit Ophthalmic Centres in Europe. At present, the grant is fixed at 1 000 EUR and it is envisaged that the successful applicants will spend a minimum of four to six weeks observing clinical work in a European Centre. The SOE Board has compiled a list of centres, which accept observers, and of the subspecialties they offer. The number of Educational Grants is limited to 80 per year and two or three applicants from each Eastern European country (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, F. Y. R. Macedonia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine).

Educational Teaching Grant For Eastern European Countries

SOE wishes to strengthen links among teachers across Europe and their teaching institutions. To stimulate these links, SOE offers ten grants for applicants from teachers in active residency training roles in the institutions of Eastern Europe. The programme is intended either as a two or four week visit to one of the teaching centres on the SOE list. SOE only supports educators that are actively involved with residency training either in university hospitals, county teaching hospitals or in private settings with formal residency education programmes. SOE will support the successful candidates with a stipend of 1 000 EUR for a four week programme, or 500 EUR for a two week programme. It is up to the applicant to make a choice based on their availability and agreements with the centre they wish to visit.

Grant Application

Applications for 2016 grants will be open from May 2015 until September 2015. please note that only online applications will be considered. Please visit the Society website at for further information.

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 Medal is named after the great 19th century scientist Hermann von Helmholz. 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
I. Pallikaris, Greece

The Charamis Medal will be awarded during the Opening Ceremony of SOE 2015, on 6 June, 2015.

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 Professor Luc Missotten, Belgium. The Henkes Medal will also be awarded every four years to an ophthalmologist for the greatest achievements in the field of leadership in ophthalmology. Further details to follow.

The Henkes Medal will be awarded during the Opening Ceremony of SOE 2015, on 6 June, 2015. Further details to follow.

ICO Mark Tso Golden Apple Award

Awarded by ICO, the Mark Tso Golden Apple Award recognises innovation and leadership in education in the region and emphasises the importance and value of ophthalmic education.

The Award was presented to Professor Gabriel van Rij, the Netherlands, during the Opening Ceremony of SOE 2013, on 8 June, 2013. Further details to follow.

SOE Lectures

At the 2005 SOE Board meeting, it was agreed that each National Ophthalmic Society would select the most promising clinician/researcher under the age of 45 to give the SOE Lecture at a prominent point of their annual Congress. During 2013, 16 lectures were held and it is hoped to increase this number in 2014 and the years to come. The SOE Lecturers are awarded a diploma and voucher for the forthcoming SOE Congress. The voucher entitles the participant to a complimentary registration to the forthcoming SOE Congress and is awarded by the Society.


Further information is available from:

SOE Secretariat
50 Edward Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham NG2 5GB
United Kingdom