Preclinical research shows promise in eliminating cataract surgery after vitrectomy...More
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2013 Annual Alumni gathering at AAO in New Orleans...More
Dr. Shlomit Schaal receives 2013 Mosaic Award.
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Promising early preclinical research currently underway at the University of Louisville could lead to the elimination of a second surgery now commonly needed after retinal surgery.
Shlomit Schaal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and director of Retina, the Retina Fellowship Program in Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Surgery and the Diabetic Retinopathy Service, Kentucky Lions Eye Center, is working with Martin O’Toole, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Bioengineering, on the project which is funded by the Coulter Translational Research Partnership at UofL.
The two are studying a new way for patients undergoing retinal surgery – known as “vitrectomy” – to avoid the need to have subsequent surgery to remove cataracts that develop. During vitrectomy surgery, vitreous gel is removed from the eye; it is this gel that protects the natural crystalline lens from damage caused by free radicals of oxygen.
With the gel loss during surgery, free radicals are diffused onto the lens and cause cataracts, and almost all patients undergoing vitrectomy surgery then are forced to undergo a second surgery to remove the cataracts.
Schaal and O’Toole have developed an artificial gel that is biocompatible to the vitreous gel present in the eye. Using animal models, Schaal has successfully used the biocompatible gel to create an oxygen barrier next to the lens during retinal vitrectomy surgery.
“The biocompatible gel appears to be working as well as the eye’s natural vitreous gel in blocking oxygen damage to the natural lens,” Schaal said.
The team hopes to be able to move the research into clinical trials within the next year. “The funding we’ve received from the UofL-Coulter Partnership has been invaluable in enabling us to prove our concept thus far,” Schaal said. “We are excited at the prospect of one day being able to help patients avoid the burden of cataract surgery after retinal surgery.”
The five-year, $5 million Coulter Translational Research Partnership in Bioengineering grant awarded in 2011 to UofL fosters the translation of research through successful collaboration between engineers and clinicians, supporting promising technologies. The partnership funds promising projects in order to move innovative technologies to clinical application with the ultimate goal of accelerating the introduction of new technologies to improve the treatment and diagnosis of disease or reduce health care costs.
On November 16, 2013 we had our Annual Alumni gathering at AAO in New Orleans.
At the reception, we honored one of our recent alumna, Shorye Payne, MD as Alumna of the Year. Shorye is a Medical Retinal Specialist involved with the training of our House Staff since her graduation in 2001. She is actively involved at the Veterans Administration Hospital and is lauded as an outstanding teacher by our residents.
Third-year resident Jaafar El Annan, M.D., was selected to attend the sixth annual Heed Foundation Residents Retreat, held in September, 2011. Dr. El Annan was one of 22 residents selected from 59 nominated by their department chairs or residency program directors. The retreat’s goal is to promote careers in academic ophthalmology. It was attended not only by the selected residents but also by 22 faculty members from academic departments of ophthalmology across the United States. Sessions focused on topics such as the transitions from residency or fellowship to an academic position, obstacles encountered and the challenges and rewards of an academic career. “It was an honor to be selected to attend this prestigious program,” El Annan said. “The experience was extremely valuable and really helped me to shape my goals for a career in academic medicine.”
On Thursday, February 9, research associate Daxin Tang lost his six year battle with cancer. Daxin worked in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences for many years, and was beloved by many. His daughter, Helen, said, “Please let the department know that my father loved his work, and the people with whom he worked. We want to thank everyone for their help throughout the years. After dad's brain surgery back in August, he always mentioned to me that when he was able, he wanted to visit [his colleagues] at work. But he never got better.”
Daxin is in our hearts and thoughts, and will be missed.
Henry Kaplan, M.D., Evans Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, has been selected as one of the 2012 People to Watch in the health care business in Greater Louisville. The distinction was conferred by Business First, Louisville’s source for local business news. The publication is seeking to acknowledge and thank the “movers and shakers” who make the health care industry in Louisville so dynamic, because health care businesses play a vital role in the area’s economy.
First-year resident Jeremy Clark was selected by the fourth-year University of Louisville medical students to receive an Excellence in Clinical Education Award. The winners are chosen because of the positive contribution they made to the students during their third-year clinical rotations. Dr. Clark is one of 14 total residents to receive the distinction.The awards were recently announced during the Fall Honors Convocation.
For decades, University of Louisville Ophthalmology has been at the forefront of research, clinical care, and the education of the next generation of leaders in the field. We are one of the only multi-specialty ophthalmologic care centers in the region offering enrollment in clinical trials and the latest treatment options for diseases and conditions including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, strabismus, low vision, dry eye syndrome and many others. Our LASIK and refractive surgery program is one of the most comprehensive in the region.
With a continued commitment to innovation and the invaluable assistance of the Lions of Kentucky, we are poised for exciting breakthroughs to match those we’ve already made. From the development of a leading glaucoma medication that preserved the vision of millions for over 20 years, to our current groundbreaking research in stem cell treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, the University of Louisville continues to have a true impact on the field of ophthalmology.