PHILIPPINE GLAUCOMA SOCIETY: 20 years of Expanding the Field of Vision of the Filipino

by John Mark de Leon, MD

The Philippine Glaucoma Society (PGS) is celebrating its 20th year this year and is holding a whole day special scientific glaucoma symposium to commemorate this momentous event on day 0 (Dec 4, 2017) of the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology (PAO) Annual Meeting at the SMX convention center, Pasay City.

A distinguished panel of foreign and local glaucoma specialists have been invited. The foreign speakers include Drs. Ho Ching Lin from Singapore, Seng Kheong Fang from Malaysia, Do Tan and Mai Dang Tam from Vietnam, Kazuhiko Mori from Japan, and Angela Turalba and Florentino Palmon from the United States.

20 years ago (1997) while the PAO was preparing to host the 17th Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Manila meeting, Dr. Mario V. Aquino was appointed as glaucoma chair and enlisted 8 glaucoma specialists to help out plan the glaucoma programme and during the planning they became convinced of the need for a glaucoma subspecialty society in the country. Thus, the PGS was formed and its objectives were to support professional enhancement, exchange of ideas and camaraderie among its members, upgrade the glaucoma diagnostic and management capabilities of general ophthalmologists through educational activities, promote public awareness of glaucoma, and to uphold professional and ethical standards. Dr. Aquino served as the society’s first president with Dr. Manuel B. Agulto as the vice-president and the late Dr. Mario Yatco as the secretary. The other founding members were Drs. Patricia Khu, Alexander Reyes, Norman Aquino, Manolito Reyes, Glenn Abundo, and Ma. Imelda Yap-Veloso. The first activity organized by the new society was the highly successful pre-APAO glaucoma symposium held at the Ramada Hotel in Manila. Each member of the society delivered a lecture in front of an audience of more than 250 local and foreign ophthalmologists. The success of this activity brought the PGS to international attention and led to the Philippine participation in the formation of the South East Asia Glaucoma Interest Group (SEAGIG).

Since then, PGS membership has grown from the initial nine members to forty five and is still growing. The society’s contribution to glaucoma knowledge has also grown through organizing and participating in local and international meetings. The society successfully hosted the 2nd SEAGIG meeting in Manila in 2002 and has contributed to the meetings of other international bodies such as the Association of International Glaucoma Societies (AIGS, now the World Glaucoma Association) and the Asia Oceanic Glaucoma Society (now merged with the SEAGIG as the Asia Pacific Glaucoma Society). The PGS was accepted as the Philippine member society of the AIGS in 2005. Locally, the PGS organizes symposia and instructional courses during the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology meetings and it has organized two well-attended Philippine Glaucoma Congresses with international guest speakers from multiple continents.

The PGS is the glaucoma subspecialty society recognized by the Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology and it is the Philippine representative to the World Glaucoma Association and to the Asia-Pacific Glaucoma Society.



About The Author

Dr John Mark de Leon is currently a board member of the PGS and its representative to the CCEO of PAO.