The 36th annual COS Meeting was a rich time of blessing to the attendees.  “Building Capacity” was the overall theme of the meeting held in beautiful Savannah, GA.

The meeting began with a rousing discussion of how we can build personal capacity in the Kingdom led by Dr. Glenn Strauss, Dr. John Cropsey and Roger Cabe, Exec Director of Vision Outreach International. 

On Thursday, we were blessed to have Victoria Sheffield of the International Eye Foundation sharing about responding to local needs and examples of how sustainable projects have been started and supported.  She addressed the role of US ophthalmologists in building capacity in international programs.


Dr. Baxter McLendon shared how one can build capacity with your life and also very helpful tips on tropical ophthalmology.  Many of these can be accessed at Baxter's Blog.

Dr. John Kempen spoke about an academic model for ophthalmology missions and compared Jesus's work in blindness to modern ophthalmology missions.

We were privileged to hear Dr. Jeff Rutgard share about his experiences in the South Pacific and how God has placed him helping using MSICS over the last 13 years full time.

Dr. Steve Christiansen shared about how we can transform short term missions into missions that have long term impact.

Dr. John Cropsey shared about how his team of the "McCropders" has been taking a long term view for preparation for long term service in Burundi and how God has helped them find the area where they plan to begin a medical school.  He also shared about challenging cases and stumpers that he has seen in Tenwek Hospital and how he handled the cases.

The day finished up with Dr. Nick Patel who shared about how a systems approach to short term missions can be helpful.  Breakout sessions allowed participants to interface directly to discuss first time mission goers, subspecialists and some interested in longer term programs.

Thursday night, we were privileged to have Don Stephens, Founder of Mercy Ships, share about how the call for capacity building comes from Jesus as the original capacity builder for the kingdom.

Friday morning's session was exciting as we enjoyed Dr. Jeff Rutgard sharing his tips on how to build surgical capacity doing Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery.  

Dr. Glenn Strauss interested us all when he shared details on how the HelpMeSee group is developing a complex MSICS simulator that they are hoping to use to train surgeons all over the world.

Dr. Don Budenz, Chairman of UNC, and head of Christian Eye Ministry shared about the path to sustainable clinics in southern Ghana over many years through Christian Eye Ministry.

Scientific sessions that followed included primers on OCT use in the diagnosis of Glaucoma and "Re-thinking Infantile Strabismus" with Dr. Stephen Christiansen of Boston University.

Friday night, our normal resident and fellow's emphasis night was blessed with the testimonies from retinal fellow and surfer, Frank Venzara and from University of KY resident, Martha Grace Green.  Following this, all of around 22 grant recipients introduced themselves and shared just a bit to the entire audience and prayers were given for this group.

Saturday morning started with a bang with Dr. William Smiddy discussing how the complexity of the eye demonstrate evidence for design over evolution.  His talk was enthralling and many requested to hear it again.  It was not recorded, so that the society may need to revisit this important talk again.

Challenges were put forth by Dr. Smiddy in terms of ethical considerations for medical costs for retinal drugs but he extended the challenges to many other areas including Femtosecond technology and others.



The day concluded with Dr. Eric Bothun of the Univ of Minnesota telling us about how a multispecialty approach has helped them handle challenging cases thyroid eye disease in a fun and comprehensive way that they feel is very effective for the patient.  

He concluded the day with an inspiritional life story of how his wife's life was saved not once, but twice by a miracle from God and how they have converted the gift of life into a family tradition of hosting a blood drive at their home on the anniversary and how it has become a meaningful community outreach that involves their whole family.

The Florida speaker of the house, Dean Cannon shared during Saturday night's banquet about his life and challenged us to be a steward of our opportunities.

Sunday morning concluded with a special appearance from the younger children in which they sang and danced for our group led by a very talented clown who played guitar.  Nick Patel shared the message before the meeting was concluded.