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World Ophthalmology Congress Welcomes Eye Institute Faculty

Friday, June 27, 2008

Several faculty members from the University of Rochester Eye Institute are in Hong Kong for the most prestigious international ophthalmology conference.

James Aquavella, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Eye Institute (UREI), will chair a symposium on artificial corneal implants at the World Ophthalmology Congress. Held every four years, the conference is the preeminent event for ophthalmologists. This year it is expected to attract an estimated 12,000 ophthalmologists from around the world between June 29 and July 2.

An artificial corneal implant, or keratoprosthesis, consists of a plastic front and back that is embedded around a donor cornea and sutured to the eye. The plastic creates a permanent “window” that allows light to reach the back of the eye and eliminates the risk of tissue rejection that with traditional corneal transplants so often results in an opaque cornea.

The University of Rochester Eye Institute is the world center for this technology. Aquavella is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world using it with pediatric patients, many of them babies. He has used artificial corneal implants in more than 60 babies, and has cared for the largest number of adults, more than 250.

Aquavella has invited specialists from Australia, China and India to participate in the symposium, as well as faculty from UREI: retinal specialist Mina Chung, M.D., assistant professor of Ophthalmology, and corneal specialist Holly Hindman, M.D., assistant professor of Ophthalmology.

“This is an opportunity to train corneal surgeons from all over the world in the use of these unique techniques,” Aquavella said.

In addition to moderating the symposium, Aquavella will present two lectures, one concerning his work with newborn babies, and the other relating to work with adults with end-stage disease from dry eyes and injuries.

Scott MacRae, M.D., professor of Ophthalmology, also is chairing a symposium, this one about wavefront sensing, a laser technology developed in the 1990s at the University of Rochester that allows refractive surgeons around the world the ability to diagnose subtler higher-order aberrations using a laser beam technology that results in the best images ever of the inner eye.

MacRae is a world expert on refractive clinical practice and research and co-wrote the first books for physicians about customized LASIK: “Wavefront Customized Visual Correction: The Quest for Supervision” and “Wavefront Customized Visual Correction: The Quest for Supervision II.”

MacRae will present a paper on aberration interaction and the use of the University of Rochester Nomogram, a computer model developed by MacRae that results in improved LASIK outcomes. Using the model results in more than 95 percent of eyes seeing 20/20 or better. He also will present a paper comparing the optics of two multifocal intraocular lens implants approved for use in the U.S. after cataract surgery.

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