Summer School of Practical Ophthalmology: A unique learning experience

From 28 to 30 August 2023, the pilot edition of the Summer School of Practical Ophthalmology was held at the Department of Ophthalmology of the Third Faculty of Medicine Charles University and the General University Hospital in Prague. Supported by the 4EU+ student mini-grant, this innovative event was organised by a student team from Charles University in partnership with other 4EU+ universities namely Heidelberg University, Sorbonne University, University of Copenhagen, University of Geneva, and University of Warsaw. The programme offered a unique approach to advanced education in ophthalmology, focusing on practical skills training and insights into cutting-edge research, with all sessions conducted entirely in English. 

The primary target audience for the summer school was students in the final two years of their Master's degree in general medicine from European universities. Over 50 applicants competed for limited spots, with 12 of the most suitable candidates being selected.

The programme was divided into theoretical, practical, and scientific components. In the mornings, participants explored a range of eye conditions- ranging from foreign body issues to cataracts- through clinical seminars. During the afternoons, they had the opportunity to enhance their practical skills in workshops led by experienced instructors. Topics covered included slit-lamp examination technique, foreign body removal, microsurgical corneal sutures, and cataract surgery, including ultrasound lens removal.

The academic portion of the programme featured collaboration with leading scientists from relevant European institutions. Attendees, along with other students and the general public, had access to lectures on genetics, artificial intelligence in ophthalmology, value-based healthcare, pediatric ophthalmology, cell therapy, and oculoplastics. The programme was further enriched by live surgical demonstrations from the operating rooms, overseen by the head of the ophthalmology department.


Vasil Kostin, The final-year medical student of CU

"Through a blend of theory, hands-on practice, and cutting-edge research, we empowered future ophthalmologists to excel in their careers, fostering professional relationships and a commitment to high-quality, patient-centered care, thanks to 4EU+".

Beyond its academic offerings, the summer school was designed as a cultural exchange for students, allowing them to become acquainted with Czech students, Prague, and their future colleagues from other European institutions. Afternoons and evenings were filled with cultural activities that introduced students to the historic centre of Prague, Czech culture, and the history of Central Europe. This environment fostered professional relationships essential for high-quality clinical and scientific work.

Future editions of the Summer School of Practical Ophthalmology will be tailored to the educational needs of young ophthalmologists. Specialized training will encompass theoretical and practical skills, including surgical procedures, OCT interpretation, and an understanding of artificial intelligence algorithms for more efficient diagnosis and treatment. Workshops will focus on patient-centred care, value-based healthcare concepts in ophthalmology, and the promotion of high-quality, empathetic, and ethically sound work leading to improved treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction.


Martin Horák, The final-year medical student of CU

"We gave the students the opportunity to meet their future clinical and academic colleagues. This was done in an open, european and stimulating environment with the city's beautiful scenery as a fine backdrop. We wish for Prague to become a hub for ophthalmic training in the future."


Strategic collaborations with leading institutions, industry partners, and experts in the field will ensure this educational programme remains at the forefront of ophthalmology advancements. The creation of mentorship programmes and networking opportunities will provide participants with ongoing support on their professional journeys.