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Dear colleague!

The Nordic Congress is a joint venture of the five Nordic Ophthalmological Societies, represented by the NOK Committee. Over the years, the congress has increasingly attracted participants from across Europe and especially from the Baltic countries. The XXXX Congress or NOK 2012 is historic in that part of the program has been prospectively and successfully planned with representatives of the Baltic Eye Forum, the second major ophthalmologic congress in Northern Europe. Although NOK 2012
does not count as a formal joint meeting, but I see it as a step toward a single, larger North European Congress in Ophthalmology.

This collaboration parallels the steady achievements of or Nordic journal, Acta Ophthalmologica, in broadening its horizons. Acta is visible in the Congress through the KKK Lundsgaard prize, awarded to the authors of the best paper published during the since the previous Nordic Congresses. Moreover, the Acta Ophthalmologica Honorary Lecture and Gold Medal, given for excellence in ophthalmic research to a scientist from the Nordic countries, is awarded to professor Albert Alm from Sweden for his achievements in the field of glaucoma.

The full program of NOK 2012 is now on-line. It extends over 54 sessions of which 37 are special interest symposia organized by leading regional experts from essentially every field of modern ophthalmology. Six of these have been put together by members of the Baltic Eye Forum to showcase Baltic ophthalmology. It is not a separate program, but has been integrated theme wise with other sessions. All symposia include outstanding regional and international speakers.

The Congress additionally boasts five courses, six free paper sessions and ten special sessions organized together with other societies and organizations. One glaucoma symposium is organized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which for the first time joins in the Nordic Congress. Another joint venture is the Concordia collaboration, which includes among others the European Board of Ophthalmology, the European Society of Ophthalmology (which will organize its Congress next year in Copenhagen) and the European Vision and Eye Research Organization (the current official journal of which is Acta),. Not surprisingly, the theme of the Nordic Plenary Assembly in Helsinki will be collaboration. We encourage you to participate and express your opinions.

Three renowned scientists will deliver keynote lectures related to the main theme of the Congress, preventive ophthalmology: Dr. Johanna Seddon from Boston will summarize how we can prevent age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Robert Ritch from New York has taken the huge challenge of brainstorming the possibilities for preventing glaucoma, which is a disease for which essentially no modifiable risk factors are known. Dr. Per Fagerholm describes experiments with artificial substitutes for corneal transplants, which often are rejected or fail otherwise. Another plenary updates us on corneal dystrophies, and additional foreign speakers include Dr. Helen Mintz-Hittner, a widely known expert on retinopathy of prematurity.

Educational courses will focus on practical issues in diabetic retinopathy, refraction, ocular oncology and neuro-ophthalmology. They should be relevant to any comprehensive ophthalmologist, whether in private or hospital practice. Authors of free papers and posters will share their results and discuss them with you in three poster sessions. These will take place each day for half an hour, but all posters are accessible throughout the congress. Social activities have been planned to allow all delegates to gather together in a relaxed environment and to enjoy the best Helsinki has to offer.

In keeping with tradition, the Congress is generously supported by the industry. We look forward to a medical and technical exhibition which will display what is available to make our work easier and more efficient. The exhibition will play a significant role in the success of the Congress: Three lunch symposia organized by the industry are included in the program. We are especially grateful to our Platinum and Gold Sponsors, Santen and Alcon, respectively, without forgetting the important support from other companies.

Helsinki is proud to host this major and significant event, now for the first time together with active participation from the Baltic Eye Forum. We look especially look forward to seeing many of our Nordic and Baltic colleagues in Helsinki on August 24–28, 2012. At the time of this writing, 700 people have registered, including industry representatives. I hope that many of you will use the opportunity to bring your families and enjoy the late summer season and the varied social program.

Tero Kivelä, MD, FEBO
Congress President

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NOK 2012 Second Announcement