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Neuro-Ophthalmology in Hungary

Somlai, Judit MD

Section Editor(s): Digre, Kathleen B. MD

Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology: March 2015 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p e2–e3
doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000000191
Worldwide Neuro-Ophthalmology
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In the 1960s, neuro-ophthalmology in Hungary began in the Neurology Clinic of Semmelweis University (Budapest), with the collaboration of Dr. Istvan Olah, a neuro-ophthalmologist, and Dr. Bela Horanyi, a neurologist. It was from this point forward that the importance of ophthalmic symptoms in neurologic disorders was emphasized, both in clinical practice and in medical education.

At the same time, at the National Institute of Neurosurgery, Dr. Laszlo Remenar, an ophthalmologist and orbital surgeon, founder of orbital surgery in Hungary, cooperated with neurosurgerists, and they operated on the same team in orbitocranial diseases. The Hungarian National Institute of Neurosurgery worked in close cooperation with Dr. Alfred Huber at the Center for Neurosurgery in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 1987, at the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Judit Somlai began a neuro-ophthalmology unit under the supervision of Dr. Peter Halász, professor of neurology. The Institute was closed in 2004, and Dr. Somlai now practices at the Military Hospital.

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Beginning in 1995, neuro-ophthalmology became a part of neurology education at all medical schools in Hungary. This has led to an increased awareness and interest in neuro-ophthalmology, and now a specific licensing process takes place for the subspecialty. This includes completion of medical school, passing specialty examinations in neurology and/or ophthalmology, and then a 1-year neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at an accredited medical school, with an additional licensing examination required.

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International Neuro-Ophthalmology Society and European Neuro-Ophthalmology Society Membership

Table 1 lists all neuro-ophthalmologists in Hungary, including the city in which they practice and their academic affiliation. A number of these individuals have been active in the International Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (INOS) and the European Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (EUNOS).

The first update meeting in the history of EUNOS took place in Budapest in April 2012, organized by Gabriella Szatmáry ( In 2017, the annual congress of EUNOS will be held in Budapest.

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In addition, a number of neuro-ophthalmology textbooks have been published in Hungary and are listed in Table 2 including a recent edition of the Handbook of Neuro-Ophthalmology, edited by Drs. Somlai and Kovacs (Fig. 1).

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World Congress on Controversies in Neurology

The Ninth World Congress on Controversies in Neurology (CONy) will take place in Budapest, March 26–28, 2015 (

For the first time, a session will be devoted to neuro-ophthalmology. This will be organized by Dr. Judit Somlai and will cover a variety of topics, including insights into the pathophysiology of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy and discussions on pseudotumor cerebri, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, and the controversy surrounding venous sinus stenosis with raised intracranial pressure.

Although Hungary is a small country composed of 10 million people, the last 50 years have seen great advances in clinical practice and medical education in neuro-ophthalmology. The future seems very bright for our subspecialty in Hungary in the years to come.

© 2015 by North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society