BEAVRS is the acronym for the British and Eire Association of Vitreoretinal Surgeons.
The concept of a British Isles Vitreoretinal Society was conceived by David MacLeod, Tony Chignell and Peter Leaver. Their fellows at the time were David Wong, Paul Jacobs and Charlie James. This group of six are considered the founder members of the society and the first meeting was held at Keeble College in July 1986.
The initial principles for the BEAVRS annual meeting were that everyone who attended should present and that problems would be discussed in an uninhibited fashion. The meeting was also to be itinerant being both hosted and organised locally. The meeting has grown to more than 200 delegates so the former principle is no longer applicable, but there is still a tradition of frank exchange and discussion.
From 1993 BEAVRS have had an international visiting speaker who has given a guest lecture and contributed to discussion at the meeting. The list of luminaries invited has included Alain Gaudric, Peter Wiedermann, Carl Claes, Michael Trese, Cynthia Toth, Berndt Kirkhoff, George Williams, Jan Van Meurs, Don D’Amico, Ian Constable, Arndt Gandorfer, Stanislaw Rizzo and Kirk Packo.
The 2012 BEAVRS Visiting Professor will be Prof Antonia Joussen. Antonia is Professor of Ophthalmology at the Charite Univeristy Medical Centre in Berlin. Despite having only qualified in Medicine in 1996 Prof Jouseen has amassed 141 Medline Publications. She turned down two Chairs in Ophthalmology before taking the post in Berlin, where she has lead the department since 2010. Her guest lecture will be on Paediatric Retinal Detachment.
For the first 24 years of its existence the Society prided itself on having no formal structure. However, the size of the meeting has grown to exceed 200 participants and this places an untenable financial burden on the host unit. In addition to this, there have been recent developments in revalidation and licensing of specialists. A decision was therefore unanimously taken at the 2009 BEAVRS meeting in Amsterdam to formalise the structure of the Society. This will provide a vehicle for Vitreo Retinal specialty licensing and standards within the United Kingdom as well as providing a formal administrative and financial structure with which to support the annual meeting.
An BEAVRS board was elected and approved at the 2010 meeting held at Celtic Manor, Wales. The board members are David Wong, David Steel, Richard Sheard, Tim Jackson, Alistair Laidlaw, Tom Williamson, Som Prassad and Gurmit Uppal.