APAO Young Ophthalmologists (YO)

Who We Are 

The APAO Young Ophthalmologists (YO) Standing Committee was set up in 2010 with the aim of empowering young ophthalmologists in the Asia-Pacific Region by facilitating their continuing medical education, residency and subspecialty training, and early involvement in APAO activities. Since its inception, the APAO YO Standing Committee has successfully collaborated with the YO Subcommittees of other ophthalmological societies to organize YO symposiums at APAO Congresses, offering young ophthalmologists opportunities to engage in international meetings. Various other programs and initiatives have emerged over the years, since the establishment of the YO Standing Committee.

As a member of the YO Standing Committee, in addition to being part of the activities and initiatives by regional Subcommittees in their localities, young ophthalmologists will get opportunities be part of one or more of the below programs/initiatives:

1, YO Rising Star Program & YO Rising Star Workshop 

YO Rising Star Program is a 12-month program sponsored by Zeiss that began in August 2022. The main objectives of this program are to equip young ophthalmologists with scientific and non-scientific skillsets, empowering them to explore the plethora of new professional partnerships, to expose them to constructive learning from established industry leaders, giving them the experience of growth and personal development through the activities, and finally enrich themselves with acquired professional skills.

A total of 100 (one hundred) young ophthalmologists (below the age of 40) were selected for the program, who attended webinars conducted regularly every few months. The webinars are closed events, open only to the 100. The content is of non-scientific nature. All the hundred participants attending webinars are generally invited to submit a short presentation or a project, for example, about their YO experience and/or why they should be a leader. The top 20 participants were selected to participate an in-person workshop organized at the 38th APAO Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2023. As an award, ZEISS sponsors all the 20 selected young ophthalmologists also, including their travel and accommodation. The 20 participants pick up different skills at the workshop(s). Some of them get an opportunity to present at the annual congress, and prizes are awarded to the winners. A small group of candidates graduate by the end of the program.

2, YO Symposium

Of the abstracts (instruction course, free paper, poster, e-poster and video) submitted by young ophthalmologists from across the Asia-Pacific, the candidates selected by the YO Standing Committee get an opportunity to present their abstract at the YO Symposium at the APAO annual Congress. Prizes for various YO awardees are announced near the annual Congress and awardees acknowledged at the end of the symposium. Young ophthalmologists also get to participate in other YO events (like YO Social, YO Night) organized at the congress.

3, YO Awards 

Various awards are presented to young ophthalmologists, each year:

  • Best YO Presentations
  • Best YO Surgical Video
  • Top YO Influencer
  • Best YO Mentor
  • APAO YO Award

4, YO Travel Grants 

The APAO YO Travel Grants support up to 5 residents in training or fellows in the Asia-Pacific region. The grants are open to young ophthalmologists including residents, trainees, and fellow ophthalmologists, who register for the annual APAO Congress as young ophthalmologists (under 40 years’ old), are from a developing country, and whose abstracts (Free Paper, Poster, e-Poster, Video, or Instruction Course) have been accepted by the APAO Scientific Program Committee. Travel grants are awarded to deserving candidates to attend the annual APAO Congress.

5, YO Lounge 

YO Lounges have evolved over the years. The purposes of YO Lounge are multi-dimensional, including but not limited to exploring the area that has a combination of scientific and non-academic activities, hanging out and networking, meeting experts, getting to know other societies, and time together for mentor-mentee.

6, YO Newsletter

Regular newsletters have been produced to highlight YO activities, even during the COVID 19 pandemic, and how YO’s can get help in their training and involvement in obtaining skills online.


7, YO Social

A Facebook page and an Instagram account have been set up, and are updated regularly highlighting interesting cases and management of difficult and complicated cases, and also sharing other non-ophthalmic activities.

8, Mentoring and Fellowship

In collaboration with the APAO Fellowship Standing Committee, YO’s are given opportunities to seek training and fellowship in the AP region and also internationally.

9, National YO Societies

The Standing committee is also active in encouraging and helping each individual National Societies to set up YO chapter or committee, to champion the cause of YO’s in each country.