1. YOU ARE TRAINED IN REFRACTIVE SURGERY WITH SUBSPECIALTY TRAINING IN NEURO-OPHTHALMOLOGY, GLAUCOMA, AND RETINA. WHAT SURGICAL CASES DO YOU FIND MOST ENJOYABLE TO PERFORM AND REWARDING ONCE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED?
Despite my subspecialty training, I almost exclusively perform refractive surgery. Focusing on one subspecialty has allowed me to develop expertise and avoid being a jack of all trades, master of none. It is especially reward- ing when, as a result of my extensive experience in refrac- tive surgery, I am able to help patients who have been rejected elsewhere or suffered complications.
2. WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE?
One of the distinguishing features of the Emmetropia Mediterranean Eye Institute is our active research program that encompasses both refractive surgery and basic science. Additionally, we have an affiliated independent research center for studies in eye-tracking technologies with a special interest in reading difficul- ties and dyslexia and are investigating alternative cross- linking substances and different methods of radiation with ultraviolet light.
We also offer a successful international fellowship program in refractive surgery. Thus far, 20 fellows from all over the globe, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Jordan, and India, have completed our pro- gram and subsequently pursued academic or profes- sional careers in their homelands.
Our institute is a regional aeromedical center that revalidates professional pilots’ full medical licenses. The increasing visual demands of pilots provide my team with useful clinical research material.
The institute has played a significant role in creat- ing legislative and scientific infrastructure for medical tourism in the Mediterranean basin. Crete is the birth- place of LASIK and, therefore, carries a long tradition of offering cutting-edge procedures to patients from overseas.
3. WHAT SURGICAL TECHNIQUES OR TECHNOLOGIES HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY BENEFITED YOUR PRACTICE?
Ours was one of five centers selected by Schwind eye- tech-solutions to be directly involved with the develop- ment of its Amaris laser system. This work has allowed us to refine all-surface laser ablation (ASLA), our method of transepithelial PRK. This single-step, all-laser PRK procedure reduces operating time and has high patient acceptability. We recently published a comparison of ASLA to conventional PRK and found reduced recovery time, pain, and postoperative haze for a wide range of refractive errors with ASLA.1 Patients experience little postoperative pain, and they appreciate the lack of surgical instrumentation touching the eye and the rapidity of the procedure. In anxious patients, we are even able to carry out the procedure without a speculum for a true no-touch technique that literally lasts seconds. We have also refined our techniques for keratoconus, a disease that is endemic in Crete, with modified transepithelial PRK and simultaneous cross-linking. These treatments are of immense benefit to our keratoconic patients who do not tolerate rigid contact lenses.
4. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?
It is my hope to establish international cooperation both in the delivery of premium refractive surgery and in our research portfolio. I would like to see ophthalmolo- gists more directly involved in the decision-making pro- cesses for medical policy, technology distribution, and procurement. Also, we recently established the Greek College of Ophthalmology under the presidency of A. John Kanellopoulos, MD, as a modern institution for union and professional demands in these challenging times.
5. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in 2011 on account of my contributions to ophthalmology.
1 Aslanides IM, Padroni S, Arba Mosquera S, et al. Comparison of single-step reverse transepithelial all-surface laser ablation (ASLA) to alcohol-assisted photorefractive keratectomy. Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:973-980.