The field of optics, optometry, vision and eyecare in Finland has come together to look beyond the current coronavirus crisis and plan ahead with keeping the professionals of the field educated, updated and inspired by new happenings replacing the postponed EAOO Helsinki2020 congress and ECOO spring General Assembly meetings.
With the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and new measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus strain, the congress EAOO Helsinki2020 had to be cancelled alongside with all public gatherings and happenings in Finland and the rest of Europe alike. The Finnish Association of Vision and Eye Care NÄE together with the European Academy of Optometry and Optics EAOO and the European Council of Optometry and Optics ECOO have put tremendous amount of work and effort into preparations for the congress and look forward to resuming them at a new date. Efforts to replace the event are well underway and our energy is redirected to organising two different happenings in Finland in the coming year, both of which we would be very pleased to see you and your organisation be part of.
The original EAOO Helsinki2020 will now become EAOO Helsinki2021 and will take place in the Finnish capital on 23-25 April 2021, with ECOO meetings starting already on 22 April. The concept of the congress will be as similar as possible to our original plans for Helsinki2020. Naturally there will be changes in the details and programme, but the big picture will be what we have promised: a top-quality three-day congress including keynotes, various other lectures, poster presentations, workshops, discussion groups, and professional exhibitions. The programme is in English. The congress will be streamed online for those who can’t be present in Helsinki.
The 2021 annual EAOO congress was originally planned to take place in Ireland.
“The Finnish Association of Vision and Eye Care is grateful and truly happy for the understanding and solidarity the Irish colleagues are showing by allowing Finland to have its turn, even if a year late. It has great significance for the professionals and companies operating in the field to be able to host our international colleagues and offer a platform for a unique event like the EAOO congress and to also welcome ECOO for its spring General Assembly meetings”, says Panu Tast, CEO of NÄE.
In addition to confirming the transfer of EAOO Helsinki to next year, NÄE has joined forces with the degree programme of optometry at Oulu University of Applied Sciences and the Finnish Contact Lens Association, both of whom also had to cancel their spring happenings due to the coronavirus epidemic. These three organisations together with the students of the degree programme of optometry at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, who are co-operating with the Contact Lens Association, will be arranging a national congress in Oulu, Finland, and online, from 26 to 27 September 2020. The two-day event will have content in Finnish and in English and will be streamed online in real time completely.
“These exceptional times require exceptional acts of co-operation. Organizing this event has brought together an outstanding organisation team”, says Prof. Robert Andersson, Principal Lecturer, Head of Master’s Degree Program at the Department of Optometry at Oulu University of Applied Sciences.
“This two-day event provides a high level of national and international lectures, an exhibition, and an evening party where the Finnish Contact Lens Association will also celebrate its 50th anniversary. This is a historic event – for the first time, it is not held in the Finnish capital, but in the city of Oulu in North Ostrobothnia, in recently renewed facilities in the Oulu city centre”, concludes Andersson.
“These exceptional times make it all the more important to keep in contact, share knowledge and best practices and reflect on the future of the field of optometry – together”, says Panu Tast. “These are the reasons we want to carry on with a national congress in the autumn and to follow through with the international one next year”.
Extra attention will be given to providing an excellent user-experience for those attending the seminar online, as virtual congregations are bound to be the new normal for the time being. “We will do our very best in being innovative – we want to ensure good interaction and also relevant and prominent ways for our sponsoring partners and exhibitors to get the best visibility online”, Tast says.
Arranging possibilities for the professionals of the field to congregate is also an opportunity to help secure the finances of the arranging organisations and an attempt to make up for part of the financial losses that the coronavirus epidemic caused in a short time without a warning.
NÄE and EAOO are offering the delegates, sponsors and exhibitors the chance to hold on to their registration or other commitment until next year’s EAOO Helsinki2021 and thus gain free access to Oulu Optometria Forum online. ECOO delegates who paid their registration fee for the ECOO meetings or the combined ticket, can also use their ticket for the new date in 2021.
“If you have been on board for EAOO Helsinki2020 in some form, we are asking you to stay, as no one wanted to see this great event being cancelled. As an extra benefit you will be part of Oulu Optometria Forum online, for no extra cost”, Panu Tast clarifies.
“We thank the over 100 + speakers who are a part of the programme for their personal time in preparing their interventions for the EAOO Spring 2020 programme. We look forward to being in touch with each one of them to advance the same plans for Spring 2021”, says Nicholas Rumney, EAOO President.
“The need for unity and collaboration has never been greater, and neither has the need to understand the multi-faceted challenges that optics and optometry face or solutions that are available for better eye health. The two new happenings will be an opportunity for exchange and learnings, so we hope to see many of you attend in person or online”, he added.
Save the dates:
• 26–27 September 2020 Oulu Optometria Forum
• 22–24 April 2021: ECOO Spring General Assembly 2021
• 23–25 April 2021: EAOO HELSINKI2021
If you have registered for EAOO Helsinki2020 or the ECOO spring General Assembly meetings as a participant:
If you booked an exhibition space at EAOO Helsinki2020:
If you are a sponsor of EAOO Helsinki2020:
If you are a speaker or presenter at EAOO Helsinki2020
In terms of travel, please check with the airline company to see whether you can defer your travel plans to the new date in April 2021. Please remember to cancel or re-schedule your hotel booking, if you had made one for Helsinki in May 2020.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us:
Ana-Maria Nia, EAOO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fabienne Eckert, ECOO, email@example.com
Jaana Kaidesoja, NÄE, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oulu Optometria Forum, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, email@example.com