Foreword by Dr. Abdulaziz AlRajhi

Welcome to this year’s Saudi Ophthalmology 2020 virtual meeting. SO2020 is a joint meeting of the 37th Annual Symposium of the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH) and the 32nd Scientific Meeting of the Saudi Ophthalmological Society (SOS), in collaboration with King Saud University (KSU). KKESH has played a major role in organizing international ophthalmic meetings in Saudi Arabia since its first symposium in 1982.

KKESH has a long history of excellence and influence in the field of ophthalmic care. Since its foundation, it has trained more than 81% of Saudi ophthalmology consultant and 38 ophthalmologists from the Gulf Cooperation Council. In early 2019, we received the Institutional and Residency Program Re-accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–International (ACGME-I). In addition, KKESH received Institutional Accreditation from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS).

Late in 2019, KKESH was the first institution outside the USA and Europe to use Luxturna, a gene therapy treatment for patients with retinal dystrophy caused by a defect in gene RPE65. This is part of KKESH’s plans to expand its services in the management of congenital and hereditary disease. We have also launched the national program for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) management, which aims to preserve the eyesight of more than 400 premature infants annually.

In terms of research, KKESH is the leading institution in the region in the number of ophthalmic papers published in indexed journals. In 2019, we had a total of 117 submitted projects and 73 published articles.

Our latest achievement is our HIMSS Stage 7 re-accreditation, which was recently received. This accreditation system ranks electronic medical records, and the grading evaluates the comprehensiveness and advanced safety features of clinical information. KKESH was the first hospital in the Middle East, and the 9th outside the United States, to achieve stage 7 in 2017. We are completely paperless in terms of direct patient care.

As KKESH moves towards the implementation of our country’s Vision 2030, we are determined to play a major role in developing eye care at a national level and positively influencing it regionally. Thanks in large part to the exemplary devotion, hard work, and commitment of our team members, KKESH will continue to be “home” for all ophthalmologists in Saudi Arabia and the region. Our expertise and services will be accessible to all.

Finally, as our role in SO2020 Virtual was to organize a comprehensive and up-to-date scientific program along with our colleagues from SOS and KSU, we extend our gratitude to the many individuals who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this meeting a success.