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Welcome to the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society Blog! The posts on this blog are authored by a myriad of individuals in Ophthalmology. Posts are not always authored by those directly affiliated with the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society and opinions may not be those of the OPS; however, all posts are submitted to a review process and have been approved by the OPS before being posted. Comments are open to the public. New posts are added every Friday, so make sure to check back often!


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International Conference on Ophthalmic Photography - Singapore March 3-5th 2017

Posted By Chris Barry, FOPS, Friday, October 28, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I first visited Singapore in 1975, a long time ago, and possibly before many of our potential delegates were born! Even then, Singapore was a dynamic bustling Asian port. Today, Singapore is an international metropolis and gateway to Asia.


Spectacular waterfront of modern Singapore


The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)  started operations in 1990. Today, the SNEC has almost 250,000 outpatient visits, 14,000 major eye surgeries and 13,000 laser procedures per year. The SNEC is a major centre in Asia for ophthalmic practice, research and teaching.




Dennis Orlock with Joseph Ho, Paul Chua
and Kasi Sandhanam at the Imaging
Department of the Singapore National
Eye Centre (circa 2008).

The Singapore National Eye Centre
officially opened 1990.





The entrance to SNEC (circa 1980).


The International Conference on Ophthalmic Photography has a long and distinguished heritage. Originally the idea came from Don Wong (one of our illustrious OPS founders) and in 1996 the first ICOP took place in Rome. Every four years since, there has been an ICOP. The year 2000 in Singapore, then Adelaide Australia, Oxford (UK), San Francisco (X2) and Toronto (X2).

What should we expect at ICOP?

Firstly, it is a totally different format with only one lecture timeline. Therefore we are all in the same room, share breaks and mingle continuously. The format is engineered for making friends, having fun and being exposed to different knowledgeable and experienced speakers from across the globe. It is often surprising how other photographers solve problems and find answers to those things that just drive you crazy! Plenty of time is left open to sample the delights that Singapore has to offer. There will be a photographic competition for delegates, see the details on the OPS website ( ICOP is a jointly organized conference by the OPS, British, Dutch and Australian ophthalmic photographers. It will be held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) which attracts high profile speakers worldwide including the latest in ophthalmic research.

Singapore 2000 was my first ICOP, what did it offer?

For a start, Singapore is a fabulous place, melding Asian/European and far Eastern cultures with a huge range of food, peoples and experiences: a true "melting pot” of  traditions from around the world tempered by an Asian/Oriental outlook.  It is easy to get around in Singapore, most people have English as a first language. There is an excellent transport system with English signage. Most good airlines go to Singapore and for the more adventurous Asia is only a short plane ride away (Ankor Wat is one hour away!). Power voltage is 220 (So you will need a transformer if you use 110V), the plugs are UK style three pin, so a converter is necessary. Singapore has a friendly and helpful population with an extremely low crime rate. It is a high energy and hectic lifestyle whilst you feel safe at all the local tourist spots.

ICOP remains a highlight of learning and interacting with like-minded ophthalmic photographers. Many of the people that I met at the previous Singapore have remained good friends and I look forward to seeing many of them again and to making new friends 16 years later.

Stay tuned for more information as we roll out this truly wonderful opportunity. There will be updates on Social Media, the OPS website and any other way we can send you details.

Singapore is safe, central to all of Asia, English speaking, westernized yet with the flavour of an exotic and exciting experience. Don’t miss out, start your planning now this could be the experience of a lifetime!

Tags:  2017  blog  education  Educational Meeting  ICOP  Singapore  Travel 

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Special Events!

Posted By Alan Frohlichstein, BFA, BS, CRA, FOPS, Thursday, October 6, 2016
Updated: Thursday, October 6, 2016

For those of you attending the OPS Annual Education Program in Chicago this year there are a few special events in the area you may wish to participate in if your schedules allow.

The first is the Chicago Architectural Open House. This is an annual event which showcases architecture in the Chicago area and gives access to many building and clubs which are not open to the public. Many of the buildings are a short walk from the Inter Continental Hotel. Details of this event which runs Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16, 2016 may be found at the Chicago Architecture web site:

The second special event is the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, running from October 13 through October 27th. Many of the films are within walking distance of the Inter Continental.The full schedule may be found at:

Another event is the Chicago Museum Week, offering discounts to many of Chicago's museums. Details and locations may be found at:

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy some of the culture and dining Chicago has to offer!

Tags:  2016  AAO  blog  Chicago  Educational Meeting  Meaningful Use  PDC  Travel 

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Sweet Home Chicago

Posted By Don Kuitula, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 

"Sweet Home Chicago” is a blues standard originally recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936 which has been popularized by many musicians including Junior Parker, Eric Clapton, Keb’ Mo’ and perhaps most famously, the Blues Brothers. The song has become an anthem of the city and its vibrant blues history.

Chicago Blues is a type of blues music dating back to the 1920’s and is identified by its usage of the electric guitar and amplified harmonica. The pioneers of this style were Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy. Many of these artists recorded their sound at the iconic Chess Records on Chicago’s south side, whose recordings became a heavy influence on bands such as The Rolling Stones, Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The blues scene is still alive and well in the city with many places open seven days a week. Here are a few clubs to look into if you are interested in catching an old veteran or some of the newer bands keeping the Chicago Blues flame burning.


Kingston Mines is the oldest continually operating blues club in the city and hosts two bands on two stages 365 days a year. It has been ranked Chicago’s best blues club by many and offers a full menu of southern cooking.     

Buddy Guy’s Legends has truly lived up to the Legends name by featuring many top acts including Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan who stop in to play a set. Buddy Guy, himself, is a regular when he is in town and can often be seen sitting at the bar enjoying the bands that are playing. The menu specializes in Louisiana style Cajun and soul food and it is the only place where you can find Buddy’s own craft beer called "Buddy Brew”.     

Rosa’s Lounge is a no frills blues club offering the widest range of blues styles to appease music enthusiasts of all genres. It has been voted "Chicago’s Friendliest Blues Lounge” and has a low cover charge. The club is family owned and operated by an Italian immigrant who came to Chicago after meeting Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells in Milan. He named the place after his mother who also came to the city to help run the business. The authentic Italian menu brings a bit of home to the bar for the family.

Blue Chicago is the closest venue to the Intercontinental and is known for showcasing female blues singers. They are open seven days a week and have a full bar but no food menu. The walls are beautifully decorated by the work of famed artist John Carrol-Doyle.     

B.L.U.E.S. is considered a blues dive bar with an intimate, if not cramped, feel. With cheap cover and a small room, primarily booking local musicians, things can heat up very quickly on stage. As an added bonus, Sunday nights cover also gets you into Kingston Mines which is located across the street.

Tags:  2016  AAO  blog  Blues  Chicago  cute  education  Educational Meeting  Interactive  Travel 

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Hidden Gem of Chicago

Posted By Rebecca Tudor, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Updated: Friday, September 30, 2016
Eataly Chicago
43 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 6061
If you’re attending the annual meeting in Chicago and just want a quick bite to eat, or you don’t want to wait in the long lines at the Purple Pig, just head cross the street and around the corner to a new gem in Chicago, Eataly – a wonderful place to get amazing food and roam the isles. 
Eataly is a bustling Italian marketplace with restaurants and take out counters.   It has 23 eateries; seven of them are sit-down restaurants and Baffo is a fine dining restaurant located on Grand Ave, behind the marketplace.  Eataly can be a bit overwhelming but if you take your time you will find some amazing food ranging from La Piazza that serves Pizza, meats, Cheeses, fried dishes and a selection of wines, to La Birrera that is a microbrewery and beer themed restaurant.    It offers house brewed ales and Italian beers.  Don’t forget to leave some room for the gelato station or my favorite, the Nutella station. If you don’t have lots of time to eat you can pick up a Focaccia sandwich or have a sit down dinner or lunch: either way, this place won’t disappoint.
2013 Galdones Photography/Eataly

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History of the InterContinental Chicago

Posted By Kirsten Locke, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2016

Now is the time to make plans for the Annual OPS Program in Chicago  

If you have managed to not attend the annual program in Chicago 2012 or 2014, you should strongly consider doing so this year. Besides the fantastic educational experience and valuable networking with coworkers and friends, the meeting hotel, the InterContinental is well worth a visit. If you have any interest in history, you can satisfy your curiosity in the photo gallery on the Upper Fifth Floor, take a swim in the original pool and visit many of the restored ballrooms. The hotel offers all the modern facilities within an elegant old-world frame work. Please take a few minutes to review the interesting history provided by the hotel.  

We hope to see you there.

History of the InterContinental Chicago



The InterContinental Chicago was built in 1929 by the Shriners Organization as the Medinah Athletic Club. The exotic gold dome originated as part of a decorative docking port for dirigibles before the Hindenburg disaster changed the country’s mind about the future of travel by blimp and the docking structure was never used. Years later, the building would lose several feet with the dismantling of an ornamental canopy on the small turret north of the dome. This chimney-like structure was originally intended to assist in the docking of these air ships, but was never used. Inside the dome a glass cupola and spiral iron staircase resembling the top of a lighthouse led down to the hotel’s upper elevator landing.                              

In the heart of the tower beneath, the club featured a twenty third floor miniature golf course, complete with water hazards and a wandering brook, a shooting range, a billiards hall, a running track, a gymnasium, an archery range, a bowling alley, a two story boxing arena, and a junior Olympic size swimming pool. All of this in addition to the ballrooms, corporate meeting rooms, and 440 guest rooms which were available for the exclusive use of the club’s 3,500 members and their guests.



The pool, with its blue Spanish majolica tiles and terra-cotta fountain of Neptune on its east wall, is one of the hotel’s few features which to this day remains virtually untouched. At the time of its unveiling, it was one of the highest indoor pools in the world, and its fourteenth floor location was heralded as a feat of engineering. Today it is commonly referred to as the Johnny Weismuller pool, a testament to the famous Olympic athlete and actor who trained in its waters. The rows of seats which remain on its western wall recall the days when swimming was a popular spectator sport.   

The elegant Grand Ballroom, a two story, one hundred foot long elliptical space, was decorated with Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek ornamentation and surrounded by a horseshoe shaped mezzanine. In its center hung a 12,000 pound Baccarat crystal chandelier, the largest in North America.   The King Arthur Court, a far more masculine room built to function as the men’s smoking lounge, featured heavy timbering, stained glass, and a mural depicting the stories of King Arthur and Parsifal.

Because the club was originally built as a men’s club, there were only designated areas in which women were allowed. They were given a separate entrance and elevator to visit the Grand Ballroom for social gatherings or to access the Women’s Plunge, Lounge and Tea Room. At that time, the women also had access to an outdoor loggia overlooking Michigan Avenue and decorated to evoke the feeling of a Venetian terrace, perched high above the Adriatic Sea.  

When the club finally opened, it was criticized by many for its "wasteful extravagance,” although in time its eclectic mix of multicultural styles would become widely recognized as a genuine historical treasure. With only 32 percent occupancy upon its opening, many saw this elaborate fortress of excess as overly decadent, but it never failed to keep the architectural community talking.  

Although October 29th of 1929 would become known as the "Blackest Day in Stock Market History,” it would be another four years before the effects of this financial disaster would force the Shriners to file for bankruptcy. In 1934 they lost their beloved clubhouse, and in the decade that followed the building went through various incarnations, including a brief stint as residential apartments. In 1944 it began its life as a hotel, debuting as the Continental Hotel and Town Club, where Esther Williams would swim in the now famous pool. Subsequently it would operate under both the Sheraton and Radisson hotel chains. In 1961 the Sheraton expanded, adding a second tower just north of the existing building and bringing the northern boundary of the hotel all the way to Grand Avenue. During this era, the hotel featured an outlet of the popular Polynesian themed Kon Tiki Ports restaurant chain. A facade of lava rock adorned the northern wall along Grand Avenue, where today only a small section remains visible, tucked at the end of the balcony of Zest’s outdoor café. When the Radisson’s contract ended in 1983, the hotel’s name was changed back once again to the Continental. It would remain open for only three more years before finally closing its doors in anticipation of major remodeling and restoration.


In 1989, Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts purchased the property and it went through extensive renovations prior the grand re-opening in 1990. During that time, a former Medinah Club member heard of the renovation and donated a 1930 anniversary yearbook entitled "The Scimitar,” filled with photographs which would serve as reference for much of the work.  

In addition to the guestroom modifications, the balcony of the Grand Ballroom, which had long since been removed, was rebuilt to match its original design. The murals and gold leaf detailing on the room’s ceiling were restored by Lido Lippi, the same man who consulted on the restoration of the Sistine Chapel. On the ninth floor, which had at one time housed the shooting range and billiards hall, renovations included raising the floor two and a half feet to accommodate plumbing for additional guestrooms. In the public areas, designers paid painstaking attention to detail. Photographs of the original carpeting were enlarged and used to recreate its exact pattern, even making sure not to incorporate more colors than were originally available from the manufacturer. Initially, workers utilized a process called cornhusk blasting to strip away the many layers of paint from the marble walls in the Hall of Lions, as traditional sandblasting would have destroyed the intricate details of any etchings beneath. When it was determined that a single marble column would require close to a ton of ground corn cobs, restorers decided to scrub away the paint by hand. The two carvings of lions which were discovered underneath have become an emblem used throughout the hotel.  

When the Hotel Intercontinental Chicago opened its doors to the public in March of 1990, every step had been taken to return this classic beauty to its original splendor. The north tower, which had opened the previous year as the Forum Hotel, now operated as a separate property, although the two shared back-of-the-house facilities. While the Forum catered mostly to business travelers, the Intercontinental continued its tradition of elegance and attention to detail. A decade later, a second phase of renovations would unite the two once again. Remaining open this time during construction, a new entrance and a four story lobby were built, combining elements of both architectural styles. Its grand staircase, which ascends to the banquet space above, is lined with banisters bearing intricate cast bronze ornamentation. An illuminated rotunda is capable of changing colors and creating the illusion of twinkling stars against a night sky.  

Today, the Hotel Intercontinental Chicago is a world renowned destination hotel which embraces the contemporary traveler’s tastes while proudly acknowledging its own rich past. Occupying a prominent place in Chicago’s Michigan-Wacker Historic District, the hotel is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features 807 guest rooms, over 40,000 feet of meeting and banquet space, and the largest fitness facility of all the downtown hotels.

The building’s creators, in a ceremony which took place on November 5th of 1928, placed within its cornerstone a copper box to commemorate its place in history. Filled with records of their organization, photographs of its members, a copy of the Chicago Tribune announcing the proposal of the building, coins, and other historic data, this time capsule remains sealed within the hotel’s limestone exterior. If given the opportunity to add to its contents, there would be no shortage of memorabilia, gathered over the near century which has passed since that day, to document the impressive evolution of this grand hotel.  


With the Medinah Athletic Club in the distance, an airship crosses over the Chicago Skyline circa 1929.


History and Images were graciously provided to us by the hotel for this purpose












Tags:  2016  AAO  blog  Chicago  cute  education  Educational Meeting  Intercontinental  Special Events  Travel 

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