The Story of Singapore Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Singapore has been a major contributor to the development of medicine in general and ophthalmology in particular for several decades. The field of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, also termed as Oculoplastic Surgery, is one of the youngest, yet probably the most vibrant of all the various subspecialties of Ophthalmology. Oculoplastic surgeons from various institutions in Singapore over the decades, have made major contributions to the education, practice and research in the field, not only regionally, but also in the Asia Pacific and even globally.

While there has been healthy interaction between individuals and institutions in this field for several years, there was a felt need for a formal society to bring together specialists from various institutions and the private sector, so that they can deliberate together to discuss interesting/challenging clinical and surgical cases, learn from each other, discuss potential collaborative research, be a unified voice for the benefit of the patients/ community and also represent the subspecialty at the national, regional and international level.

With this in mind and with an open invitation to all Oculoplastic surgeons of Singapore to join and contribute to the specialty with a greater vision, the Oculoplastic Special Interest Group was formed with its initial meeting held in Aug 2013. This brought together individuals with common interests and goals to further enhance the profile of the specialty. Following introductions of its members, challenging cases were discussed in an informal Peer Review Learning format, with a discussion on how to take this idea of interaction and collaboration further.

Following this meeting, several additional meetings with were held around the country in various institutions and residences of its individual members, with increased interest to form a more official and formal society that represents the interest of the specialty, benefits the public and build relations with the Ministry of Health and other professional organizations.

A chronicle of all previous meetings preceding the formation of the Society with members in attendance is shown below:

With increasing fervour, participation and contribution from more members from various institutions and the private sector and with common interest to grow the subspecialty and its science to help patients, it was decided to officially form a society. With contributions of its members led by Dr Petrina Tan & Dr Gangadhara Sundar, a constitution was drafted and finally approved by all members of the special interest group and formally adopted.

Feb 17, 2017 was a landmark day when the Singapore Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive was officially formed. With the formal adoption of the Constitution, an election for office bearers was held with the formation of the Inaugural SSOPRS Council. The founding members also decided to proceed with the formal application to have it registered by the Registry of Societies, Singapore.

Initial international endorsement of the society was achieved with the official recognition by the Asia Pacific Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (APSOPRS) under the leadership of Dr Hunter Yuen.

At the 2017, Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Conference, Singapore, Prof Geoffrey Rose, Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK, welcomed the formation of the society officially and shared his perspective regarding the challenges in the formation of such a professional society and inspired its members to chart a course of progressive growth and development and contribute further to the art and science of Oculoplastic Surgery.

The formation and formal announcement of the formation of the society authored by Dr Choo Chai Teck and Dr Geoffrey Rose’s address were published in the Mar 2017 Newsletter iPlastics, edited by Dr Audrey Looi.

While awaiting formal registration, the Group met again in July 2017 to deliberate the future growth of the subspecialty and the society, with active deliberation to fine tune the guidelines for functional and aesthetic Eyelid surgery. It was at this time the logo of SSOPRS, designed by Dr Shantha Amrith, was also formally adopted by all of its members unanimously.