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  • Dr. Sachin Kedar named to the Cyrus H. Stoner Professorship

    Emory Eye Center's Vice Chair of Education brings a wealth of service, research, and knowledge to the the renowned professorship

    The Emory Eye Center is proud to announce that Sachin Kedar, MBBS, MD, has been appointed to a five-year term as the Cyrus H. Stoner Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology, effective April 1, 2022.

      Currently the vice chair of Education for the Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Kedar first came to Emory in 2004 to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology. He officially joined the Emory faculty in 2021, happily ending the department's national search for a senior-level neuro-ophthalmology faculty.

      I am honored to be appointed as the Cyrus H Stoner Endowed Professor in Ophthalmology, which I see as an opportunity to enhance already outstanding educational programs in ophthalmic education, said Dr. Kedar. My goal is to make Emory Eye Center, a leader in ophthalmic education.

      Prior to joining the Emory Eye Center, Dr. Kedar served as a researcher, faculty member, and physician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where, among other things, he established a robust clinical practice, developed the medical student ophthalmology curriculum, and was named vice chair of Academic Affairs for the Department of Neurological Sciences. His tenure was also marked by numerous pedagogical honors, including the Innovative Teacher Award, the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award, and the 2021 ACGME Palmer J Parker Courage to Teach Award for his contributions to resident education.

      We considered ourselves very fortunate to have been able to recruit Dr. Kedar to our faculty last year, said Dr. Allen Beck, the Emory Eye Center Director and F. Phinizy Calhoun Sr. Chair of Ophthalmology.

      And, now, we are delighted that he will continue the tradition of excellence that the Stoner Professorship represents. Dr. Kedar's renown in the field of neurology and neurologic education, his national and international service, and his frequent contributions to the neuro-ophthalmic literature made him an unmistakably strong candidate for the Cyrus H. Stoner Professorship.

      Beck's accolades were echoed by Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves in his congratulatory letter:

      This level of distinction recognizes your eminence as a scholar, as well as the accomplishments that have placed you at the very top of your field, Fenves wrote.

      Conferral of the title also signifies that you have made substantial contributions to Emory University's mission to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity. You are most deserving of this prestigious honor. Thank you for enriching Emory's intellectual community.

      Established by the estate of Cyrus H. Stoner, '32M, the endowed professorship provides salary and support for a senior physician and faculty member in ophthalmology at the Emory Eye Center. Dr. Stoner practiced ophthalmology at Georgia Baptist Hospital from 1946 until his retirement in 1980 and was a member of Emory's clinical faculty for most of those years. The Learning Resource Center at The Emory Eye Center is named in recognition of his years of service and generosity. The endowed professorship was Stoner's gift to future ophthalmologists.

      Previous recipients of Cyrus H. Stoner Professorship are Dr. Kedar's colleagues in EEC's neuro-ophthalmology section: Dr. Valerie Biousse and Dr.Nancy J. Newman.

      Dr. Michelle Cabrera explores diagnostic strategy for infants

      The Knights Templar speaker shares her experience using optical coherence tomography

      Drs. Cabrera and Lenhart after the lecture

      The Emory Eye Center was honored to have Michelle Cabrera, MD headline the May 20 Grand Rounds seminar with her talk, Handheld OCT as a Tool to Diagnose ROP.

      Sponsored by the Knights Templar Foundation, Cabrera's presentation focused on the use of handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) to assess retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which abnormal blood vessel growth can contribute to vision loss in some premature infants.

      The chief of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Division at the University of Washington Medical School, Cabrera practices at Seattle's Children Hospital Ophthalmology Clinic. Her specialties include amblyopia and refractive error in children, strabismus, pediatric cataracts, and nasolacrimal disorders.

      Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive imaging technology that delivers immediate results. It is often used to diagnose macular degeneration in adults. In her pediatric ophthalmic practice, Cabrera has used a hand-held version of OCT to successfully obtain vitreoretinal findings. In addition to discussing her experience with the hand-held OCT, Cabrera explored standard and cutting-edge ROP diagnostic criteria in her presentation.

      We were thrilled to have Dr. Cabrera share her professional experience with our residents, fellows, and staff physicians, said Amy Hutchinson, MD, the director of Emory Eye Center's Pediatric Ophthalmology Division.

      Her innovative work in this area has the potential to reduce the need for traumatic scleral depressed retinal examinations and truly transform the way we deliver care to these fragile babies.

      ARVO appoints Dr. Hans Grossniklaus to presidency

      Declares The Beauty of Diversity in Nature and Science as the guiding principle behind his term

      Dr. Grossniklaus at the ARVO podium

      Dr. Hans Grossniklaus addressing his ARVO colleagues after formally accepting his new role.

      On Wednesday, May 4 Dr. Hans Grossniklaus was formally appointed president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) - the largest vision research organization in the world. At ceremonies held during the final day of the 2022 ARVO annual meeting in Denver, Grossniklaus officially took the reins from outgoing president Maureen Maguire, PhD and established his theme for next year's annual ARVO meeting to be The Beauty of Diversity in Nature and Science.

      The appointment came as no surprise to those who know the longtime clinical pathologist and physician, currently the vice chair for Translational Research at the Emory Eye Center.

      Hans's approach to ophthalmic research fully embodies the spirit and potential of translational research, said Emory Eye Center director and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Allen Beck.

      He has dedicated his career to studying and treating patients with ocular melanoma, a life-threatening disease that may be first diagnosed on an eye examination. His work is a testimony to both his commitment to patients and his powerful intellect.

      The new title conjured up humbling memories for Grossniklaus.

      When I came to Emory, my research mentor was a past president of ARVO, [former director of EEC Research] Dr. Henry Edelhauser-the best translational research scientist in ophthalmology, he said.

      If I aspire to anything, it is to deserve a place alongside the truly great researchers who mentored me - Henry Edelhauser is certainly one, as is Lorenz Zimmerman and Dick Green. It's certainly true that I stand on the shoulders of giants.

      It is a tradition for each ARVO president to establish a theme to guide their tenure. Grossniklaus explained that his theme comes from a deeply held conviction about optimizing both his research and the environment that produces it. Research is more rigorous and more productive, he noted, if it is accomplished from different perspectives, approaches, and data interpretations. Likewise, more diversity among the ranks of ARVO can only strengthen the organization's impact on the field.

      Diversity is a hallmark of nature and has provided us with a beautiful natural world, he said from the podium. Likewise, there is mechanistic diversity in ocular disease, and we, as vision scientists, are a diverse group with multiple backgrounds and perspectives. Imagine if we are able to fully embrace this diversity.

      Grossniklaus praised ARVO's culture, which he characterized as being open to new ideas, innovation, and broad-based participation by members. He hopes to build on that by promoting opportunities to diversify the Board of Trustees, improve the nominating process, and encouraging corporate sponsorship of travel awards and scholarships for under-represented groups at ARVO events. All of this is particularly important for scientists who are just starting their careers, he noted.

      I know this because I have seen how ARVO works. I presented my first poster at an ARVO conference in 1983. It was Glycosidases in Macular Cornea Dystrophy. The presenter next to me was a well-known senior scientific investigator, Gordon Klintworth. To say he was well-established is an understatement. But when he started asking me questions about my work, that was not a barrier. We just fell into a conversation that was based on our mutual interest in the research. That's the sort of connection that can shape a career. And I've had many like it over the years. So, the idea behind this theme, really, is that I am paying it forward.

      Grossniklaus with outgoing ARVO president Maureen McGuire

      Outgoing ARVO president Maureen Maguire welcomes Dr. Hans Grossniklaus to his new term as ARVO president

      Emory Eye Center welcomes NEI Director Michael F. Chiang

      John Nickerson and his research team spent an afternoon discussing new findings

      Dr. Chiang with EEC research team

      There was a true meeting of the minds on April 21 when National Eye Institute (NEI) director Dr. Michael F. Chiang stopped by the Emory Eye Center to discuss ongoing research projects with the Ophthalmology Department's team of faculty and post-graduate investigators.

      The atmosphere was collegial but charged as Chiang listened attentively to the progress reports delivered by director, John Nickerson, PhD and seven researchers: Ross Ethier, Deepta Ghate, Sayantan Datta, Andrew Feola, Hans Grossniklaus, Michael Iuvone, and Jeff Boatright.

      Chiang was fascinated by Ghate's presentation, Differential High-Level Visual Impairments and their Impact on Quality of Life in Glaucoma, which explored the ways in which specific high-level visual impairments tend to differentially impact a patient's quality of life. In particular, it looked at the impact on routine life activities, such as face recognition, scene navigation, and risk of falling.

      It's hard to come up with end points for all of the research we do in special diseases, he noted. Visual acuity is a good measure, but is there a quality of life instrument that will work with other diseases? This is important work.

      He also applauded the multidisciplinary approach of the different research teams, some of which included engineering faculty and researchers from the Georgia Tech School of Biomedical Engineering.

      The eye and visual system are an incredible system for methodological scientific innovation which can eventually be applied to improve patient care, he said. It's exciting to see collaborative research here that fits this model: graduate students at Georgia Tech working with ophthalmologists at Emory together to develop creative new solutions to problems.

      As director of Emory's ophthalmic research efforts, Nickerson was only too happy to join in the discussions that followed each presentation.

      Now more than ever, the Emory Eye Center is expanding our research program to keep pace with the need for new treatments, options, and perspectives in vision health. The presentations Dr. Chiang saw today demonstrated that there's no shortage of innovation in the next generation of researchers, said Nickerson.

      But it was particularly encouraging for those new researchers - and for me - to see firsthand how open Dr. Chiang is to new approaches. That's the sort of leadership that bodes well for the field.

    • $200K grant will fund Emory Eye Center's optic nerve regeneration research

      Jiaxing "Wayne" Wang, MD, will lead the two-year research initiative

        A two-year, $200,000 grant from the BrightFocus Foundation is funding Emory Eye Center researcher Jiaxing (Wayne) Wang MD, PhD, in his search for genes that are capable of modulating optic nerve regeneration.

        Wang's proposal, Genetic Mutation Enhance Optic Nerve Regeneration in BXD29 Mouse Strain outlines his plan to identify the gene mutation that has allowed some test subjects to regenerate damaged or destroyed optic nerves.

        Damaged optic nerves lead to blindness in many diseases, such as glaucoma, said Wang, who joined the Emory Eye Center's research team six years ago, after a successful career as an ophthalmologist in his native China. He currently collaborates as an assistant research scientist in Eldon Geisert's lab.

        If we can develop a gene therapy that will promote the regeneration of optic nerves, we could have a way to treat or prevent vision loss.

        Promoting optic nerve regeneration is a promising therapy for treating vision loss in glaucoma, said Dr.Preeti Subramanian, director of Science Programs, Vision Science at the BrightFocus Foundation.

        We at BrightFocus are excited to be supporting Dr. Wang's innovative research to identify genes that can promote this regeneration.

        Wang is a part of a research team that has been using a particular strain sets of mice - BXD - to learn about the regeneration process. In previous work, the team found that subjects with a slight genetic mutation - BXD29-Tlr4lps-2J/J - had an enhanced capability to regenerate damaged optic nerves. More information is needed to formulate an actionable gene therapy regimen, however.

        The overall goal of this proposal is to define the specific genetic mutation responsible for improved axon regeneration, he said. We have identified all variants between the two strains [BXD29/Ty and BXD29-Tlr4lps-2J/J ] so we are in a good position to map the location of the mutation that governs axon regeneration.

        Wang will cross-breed mice so that he can track and compare the genetic contributions each makes to the phenotypes of the resulting generations. This testing will allow him to eventually map the location of the beneficial mutation - a first step in establishing a clinical response.

        This is exciting work that, to be honest, we had to be doing, said Wang. We are incredibly thankful to the BrightFocus Foundation for giving us the freedom to advance this research.

        Dr. Wang in the lab

      • American Academy of Neurology recognizes research of Dr. Nancy J. Newman

        Research advances understanding of Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy

        Gene therapy research conducted by Emory Eye Center neuro-ophthalmologist Nancy J. Newman, MD was recently singled out for high praise by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Her abstract, The Phase III REFLECT Trial: Efficacy and Safety of Bilateral Gene Therapy for Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) summarized the results of a multinational clinical trial for which Newman was the international coordinating principle investigator.

        Newman's was one of three scientific abstracts chosen for the Top Science honor from AAN's Science Committee, which received more than 2,400 submissions.

        Announcement of the three Top Science awardees was made just days before the American Academy of Neurology's 74th Annual Meeting in Seattle, by Dr. Natalia S. Rost, the AAN Science Committee chair.

        I want to thank you Dr. Newman for truly pioneering work in neuro-ophthalmology, now, for many decades, said Rost. And now, with this, you are bringing the reality of the most-recent cutting-edge gene therapy to patients with this devastating disease and disability.

        The subject of Newman's investigation - Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy - is a rare but devastating disease that starts in one eye and invariably leads to bilateral blindness. It typically affects young otherwise healthy men. Researchers have traced the cause to point mutations in the mitochondrial DNA, causing the disorder to be passed down through the mother. While not every individual who has the disease will lose vision, when it does affect one eye, it invariably involves the other as well.

        The most common point mutation that severely affects the patient is the 11778 mutation in the ND4 gene, said Newman.

        We have shown that one can apply gene therapy with a viral vector and inject a complement of the abnormal gene into the eye where, hopefully, it is taken up by the retinal ganglion cells and makes up for the abnormality.

        This therapy, called lenadogene nolparvovec, has been shown to improve LHON patients' visual acuity in the affected eye. Surprisingly, these experiments found that the uninjected eye also improved more than would naturally be expected of a LHON patient. This implies that there is some migration of the therapy to the other eye and optic nerve.

        Following two phase-3 studies of unilateral gene therapy in LHON patients, a bilateral trial of the gene therapy (the REFLECT study) injected all patients with the gene therapy in one eye; injections into the second eye were randomly split between gene therapy and a placebo.

        And indeed, all second affected eyes improved, whether they received an injection of the drug or the placebo. And they improved more than we would have expected from the natural history of the disease, she said.

        illustration of the REFLECT study

        But what we also noted was that the eyes that received the placebo did not improve as much as the eyes that received the true gene therapy injection. And patients who received true injections in both eyes did better, overall, which seems to suggest a dosing effect.

        Newman noted that some findings were counter intuitive. For instance, findings from REFLECT and the two previous unilateral gene therapy trials suggest that early introduction of the gene therapy - when only one eye is affected - does not prevent the second eye from being affected, even if that eye receives the therapy.

        And, secondly, gene therapy seems to work best when it is introduced six months after patients first experience vision loss. This contradicts the typical reliance on early intervention. Newman and her colleagues have hypothesized that the initial swelling of axons from the retinal ganglion cells may create a barrier that hinders adequate uptake of the therapy during the first few months of vision impairment. As the swelling subsides, the gene therapy may be more effective.

        We still have a lot to do, but for the patients who suffer from this devastating disease, this is a step in the right direction, Newman said.

        Welcoming an Emory Eye Center research champion

        When Morton Waitzman, PhD, knocks on our door, we're only too happy to answer

        Group photo with Morton Waitzman

        Sixty years after he founded the Emory Eye Center's research division, Dr. Morton Waitzman and his wife, Aviva dropped by for a tour of the newly renovated Emory Eye Center lab recently. In addition to building the foundation of our iconic research program, Waitzman was on the original committee that helped plan the construction of the Clinic B building (where that research now takes place). Earlier this spring, Waitzman gifted Department of Ophthalmology Chair Dr. Allen Beck with the original blueprints for that project. Though he retired in 1991, Waitzman seamlessly slipped back into shop talk with the current team of researchers - including vice chair of Translational Research Dr. Hans Grossniklaus - who gladly gave him a tour of the facility. From left, they are: Drs. Hua Yang, Ganesh Satyanarayana, Grossniklaus, Waitzman, Priyanka Sharma, and Sayantan Datta. See more of the photos on the Emory Eye Center Facebook page!

        Ocular Telehealth: A Practical Guide demystifies a smart approach to healthcare

        Emory Eye Center ophthalmologists April Maa and Alexa Lu collaborated on the just-published guide

        April Maa and Alexa Lu

        Physicians seeking to increase access to eye care have a new tool to help them. The recently published Ocular Telehealth: A Practical Guide is a compendium of best practices and emerging trends in ocular telehealth that have been tested, reviewed, and revised by working ophthalmologists and optometrists for the better part of a decade.

        Front cover of Telehealth book

        Chief among those experts is the book's editor, Emory University ophthalmologist Dr. April Maa, whose Technology-based Eye Care Service (TECS) program in the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 7 is the busiest in the VA enterprise.

        We've been practicing in this space [telehealth] for years, so we were excited last year when Elsevier [Publishing] approached us about putting this book together, said Maa, who solicited and edited contributions from more than two dozen practitioners, including her Emory colleague, Dr. Xiaoqin Alexa Lu (also an ophthalmologist).

        The work we've already done - setting up new billing strategies, monitoring patients, investigating technology - will make it easier for other providers to start a telehealth practice. They can use this book to get started.

        Defining ocular telehealth

        Telehealth is a term that describes a wide array of approaches (and technologies) that allow some portion of a patient's health care to be processed or delivered remotely. Ocular telehealth has been finding its way into mainstream vision care for years.

        For instance, depending on the complexity of the eye condition, patients might find themselves alternating between in-person examinations and video-assisted wellness checks with their physician. In between, they may visit a satellite site to have a technician perform specific eye diagnostic tests, such as Humphrey visual fields. The results of that test can be electronically transmitted to the physician who can, on their own schedule, analyze them and determine next steps. Those next steps might include an in-person visit or a Zoom call.

        A common thread, throughout, is the use of technology - in particular, telecommunications - to remove geographic distance from the equation. For ophthalmologists like Maa and Lu, whose practices cater to far-flung rural populations, that's a huge help. But they are not alone.

        Previously, ocular telehealth was typically reserved for rural or underserved populations, writes Robert Morris, OD, in chapter 1 of Ocular Telehealth.

        During this pandemic, everyone became remote and underserved, making telehealth mainstream.

        Getting beyond the School of Hard Knocks

        Ocular Telehealth: A Practical Guide analyzes the field from multiple angles, both practical and philosophical. There are chapters devoted to remote patient monitoring, the legal and ethical considerations of setting up an ocular telehealth practice, and billing/coding issues. A good deal of the book focuses on best practices for a broad spectrum of eye conditions. Each chapter author did extensive literature reviews to back their findings, but they also derived valuable data from what Maa and Lu sometimes refer to as the school of hard knocks.

        Experience can really tell us a lot. The VA system has a lot of physicians who've been incorporating telehealth into their practices for a while. They wrote a lot of this book. They've experienced and gotten beyond a lot of the barriers and challenges - experiences others don't need to repeat, explains Maa.

        One thing all telehealth practitioners need to do is accurately assess their technology needs. Sufficient bandwidth for data-hungry diagnostic instruments, uber-secure data storage, and efficient transmission channels are just the beginning of this challenge. Each vision subspecialty has its own array of telehealth tools and instruments that need to be assessed and carefully coordinated to make the entire system work. The book's authors shared their experiences doing just that.

        The anterior segment of the eye can be difficult, says Lu, a cornea specialist. To get a good exam, you need better magnification, something more than a 2D photograph. You need a modality that will give you the ability to do 3D interpretations.

        In her own research, Lu discovered that drone slit lamps offer a promising solution. Physicians can use these instruments to conduct an examination of a patient miles away, at a satellite clinic near home. Any time travel is reduced, access is improved.

        You get the magnification you need and you get that videography that allows you to better understand what you are seeing, she said.

        Change is in the air

        Both Maa and Lu are excited about the future of ocular telehealth. They've already seen it expand access to traditionally underserved populations, particularly in rural areas of the country, including Georgia. Last year, the VA enterprise conducted more than 21,000 patient visits remotely using TECS. And, even though Maa and Lu do not bill Medicare for their VA-based telehealth services, both are encouraged by the fact the Medicare granted a waiver during the pandemic that allowed telehealth billing.

        We hope it will continue after the pandemic, says Maa. We're advocating for it.

        Meanwhile, Lu is personally and professionally invested in expanding access to telehealth. She heads up the national training curriculum for TECS readers and manages the VISN 7 TECS teaching rotation for non-eye and eye providers. She devoted an entire chapter to this subject in the book because she strongly believes in teaching others to become future eye telehealth practitioners.

        And we know that this is just volume 1, adds Maa. Once physicians read this book and have their own experiences, we know they'll come up with new ideas for implementing telehealth. That will be in volume 2. We can't wait to see what they teach us.

        Eventually, both physicians foresee a time when more patients can comfortably alternate between in-person and telehealth exams. More tests can be run by technicians at satellite sites, with the results being evaluated by physicians miles away.

        But at the end of the day, neither Maa nor Lu is suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach to ocular health care.

        You need to select the right patients for telehealth, says Maa. If you try to force it on a person who is not comfortable with it or who really needs to be seen in-person, you will not get compliance. Quality of care may suffer. Our most important skill will always be our ability to judge our patients needs and then meet them where they are.

        Emory Eye Center faculty shine at AAPOS Annual Meeting

        Three physicians recognized with "Best in Show" for research poster

        Emory Eye Center pediatric fellow Dr. Daniel Nelson was recognized with a Best in Show award for his poster, Unilateral or Sequential Treatment of Eyes with Bevacizumab for Retinopathy of Prematurity at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), held March 23-27 in Scottsdale Arizona.

        Nelson presented the work, which was co-authored with his mentors, Dr. Baker Hubbard and Pediatric Division director, Dr. Amy Hutchinson.

        Joining them at the national gathering was a full complement of Emory Eye Center faculty, including Department chair, Allen Beck, MD, Phoebe Lenhart, MD, Jason Peragallo, MD, and Carolina Adams, MD.

        Another familiar face, Dr. Rebecca Neustein, presented her research, The Ahmed Glaucoma Drainage Device: Long-Term Clinical Outcomes in the Pediatric Population. Neustein, a former Emory ophthalmology resident, is currently completing a glaucoma fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital and will join the EEC faculty later this year.

        Nelson presented the poster, which was a review of patients who were treated unilaterally or had their eyes treated sequentially for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), an eye disorder caused by abnormal blood vessels in the retina of a premature infant. Nelson had reviewed 10 years’ worth of ROP cases, focusing on instances where initially, only one eye met criteria for ROP treatment.

        Most ROP cases are symmetric, so we end up treating both eyes by injecting intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) on the same day. However, in some cases, ROP presents asymmetrically,” said Nelson.

        This is happening more frequently since IVB has become the preferred approach to treatment in many cases, supplanting laser treatment, which required general anesthesia. In this study, we wanted to look at how many instances we initially treated only one eye, and then see the natural history of the other untreated eye.

        What we found, out of the 22 cases with one eye treated initially, was that 11 eventually required bevacizumab in the other eye. These findings do not support a strong systemic effect of IVB. But for those persistently asymmetric cases, it's a good treatment strategy to reduce systemic absorption of bevacizumab.

        Another interesting outcome of the study found that unilaterally treated eyes demonstrated no significant difference in refractive error relative to the untreated eye.

        The team concluded that additional study is needed since the number of patients studied was relatively few.

        Doctors Lenhart and Peragallo presented and analyzed cases with their colleagues at the Difficult Problems: Non-Strabismus workshop, which Lenhart moderated.

        As practicing physicians, we gain invaluable insight into our own work when we are able to frankly discuss the clinical reasoning behind diagnosis and management, said Lenhart, who currently serves as the vice chair of the AAPOS Professional Education committee.

        Analyzing tough cases with other pediatric ophthalmologists and strabismus experts is incentive to attend a workshop like this.

        Attendees of the What's New and Important in Pediatric Ophthalmology workshop received something of a literature review that included interpretations of the top pediatric ophthalmology papers published in more than 27 high-impact journals. The collection was assembled by the AAPOS Professional Education committee.

        Our goal is to provide our colleagues with the newest high-quality information regarding patient care and treatment modalities for children and adults with strabismus, explained Adams, who ran the workshop. We produced a comprehensive review along with a shorter version that features the top 10 percent of articles presented at the AAPOS annual meeting.

        Peragallo, Lenhart, Beck,Neustein, Hutchinson

        Working Together. Drs. Jason Peragallo, Phoebe Lenhart, Allen Beck, Rebecca Neustein, and Amy Hutchinson were among the many pediatric ophthalmologists who gathered at the AAPOS Annual Meeting in Arizona March 23-27

        Now is the time to help Emory Eye Center

        collage of patient images

        March 30 & 31 your donation to the Eye Center Research fund will be doubled

        On March 30 and March 31, all donations to the Emory Eye Center Research fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. That's right: your $25 donation will become a $50 gift to support our breakthrough vision research.

        Visit the Emory Eye Center Research Fund page now to do your part!

        Whether it's preventive healthcare or treatment of a serious eye trauma, the Emory Eye Center is committed to your long-term vision health. Over the next 24 hours, you can help Emory Eye Center strengthen that commitment by supporting the our designated Emory Eye Center Research Fund. Whether it's $5 or $500, it will support the kind of probing research that has made Emory's Department of Ophthalmology one of the top research hubs in the vision care.

        Emory Day of Giving is a 36-hour online giving event celebrating everything Emory - and that includes the Emory Eye Center and Department of Ophthalmology. Over the next few hours, you'll have a unique chance to support what inspires you. Find out more at The Emory Day of Giving to view the other leaderboards and browse the matches and challenges.

        The Department of Ophthalmology salutes Dr. Ghazala O'Keefe

        The longtime Emory Eye Center physician and professor recognized on National Doctor's Day

        The Emory Eye Center is excited to announce that Dr. Ghazala O'Keefe was singled out for special recognition by her peers on March 30, National Doctor's Day.

        O'Keefe is one of more than 100 physicians across the School of Medicine who were selected for the honor, which recognizes exemplary dedication to improving patient health and well-being through direct care, research, and inspirational education of future providers. The individual winners were chosen from among hundreds of nominations that were submitted to the SOM Recognition Committee this year.

        Colleagues called out O'Keefe for the knowledge, energy, and generosity she brings to her many roles - as a clinician, a mentor, and a thought leader.

        She is an outstanding clinician who receives high praise from patients for her empathic care, said Ophthalmology Department Chair Allen Beck.

        She is an excellent teacher and mentor and is a strong leader for her section.


        From Ukraine to Atlanta: Finding a way home

        An Emory Eye Center staffer shares her experience helping her aunt escape the chaos in their homeland

        Natalia Lendel holding a sign welcoming her to the United States

        Editor's note: The Emory Eye Center staffer in this story was happy to share her experience, but asked us to omit her last name for privacy reasons. The photo, above, is of Natalia Lendel, when she arrived in Atlanta after fleeing the chaos that has overtaken her native Ukraine.

        Screaming sirens. Smoldering buildings. Soot-covered children.

        Nightly images of Ukraine's destruction have stunned many Americans into an awestruck silence. Yulia hasn't had that luxury. When the airspace over her native country was shutdown on February 23, her life went into overdrive.

        By day, she kept a laser focus on her newly acquired job, as an ophthalmological assistant at the Emory Eye Center. But that left another 16 hours for Yulia to focus on the other side of the world, where her aunt, Natalia Lendel, was trapped in the Ukraine.


        Vision2020 Link USA grant will support Global Ophthalmology in Ethiopia

        Three-year, $90,00 grant recently awarded to EEC outreach program

        patients and EEC physician in Ethiopia

        The Emory Eye Center's Global Ophthalmology program (GO-E) has recently received an important boost in its efforts to expand access to both vision health and to ophthalmological training in Ethiopia.

        A three-year, $90,000 grant, from Vision2020 LINK USA, will allow GO-E to continue training ophthalmology residents from Ethiopia's Addis Ababa University (AAU) while also bolstering much-needed screenings for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and diabetic retinopathy (DR).


        Grossniklaus Research Group publishes uveal melanoma findings

        Early detection of metastatic UM linked to liver

        Research coming from Emory Eye Center's Hans Grossniklaus's group is opening a promising new avenue for detecting early-stage metastatic uveal melanoma in the liver.

        The group's findings, Non-invasive Detection and Complementary Diagnostic of Liver Metastases via Chemokine Receptor 4 Imaging appeared in the February 10 edition of the journal Cancer Gene Therapy.

        Their identification of a biomarker for liver metastases came out of the team's work with uveal melanoma (UM), an ophthalmic cancer that almost exclusively metastasizes in the liver. Researchers in this study observed elevated levels of the chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) in both the liver metastases from their UM patients, and in the liver metastases of UM murine models. This led them to use a CXCR4-specific MRI contrast agent to detect small liver metastases in a mouse model. The relative simplicity of this approach may eventually offer patients a valuable option for detection and treatment.

        read more

        Match Day 2022: The future of ophthalmology is looking great

        Six outstanding med school grads to join Emory Ophthalmology in July

        Emory Eye Center Residents

        Emory Eye Center is proud to announce that six outstanding medical school graduates will be joining us in the fall to complete their residencies in ophthalmology. Announcement of the new class of residents was made February 8 - Match Day - by Jeremy K. Jones, the director of Emory School of Medicine's Residency Program in Ophthalmology. The six were selected from a field of almost 700 applicants.

        We couldn't be happier to recruit such an amazing and diverse incoming class, said Jones. They all come highly recommended with numerous publications, leadership roles, and life experiences that we have no doubt will make for a great addition to the Emory family. Thanks to everyone who helped us recruit such a great class, especially the one and only [EEC's Graduate Medical Education Residency program coordinator] Tracey Yancey.

        Matthew (Ryan) Claxton earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee and his medical degree at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. Pasley Gordon earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and her medical degree at Augusta University. Brandon McKenzie earned his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and his medical degree at Howard University. Kafayat Oyemade earned her undergraduate degree at Spelman College and her medical degree at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. Kathryn Park earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her medical degree from the University of California School of Medicine at San Diego. Parth Vaidya earned his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University and his medical degree at Virginia Tech's Carilion School of Medicine.

        Dobbs Foundation grant will boost Emory Eye Center outreach to underserved

        A two-year grant from the R. Howard Dobbs Jr. Foundation will focus on closing the health care access gap that prevents un- and underinsured Georgians from getting follow-up vision care.

        Announcement of the $180,000 grant was made January 26, and applauded by Georgia Vision 2020, a statewide coalition of providers and advocates that includes Emory Eye Center and our outreach program, Global Ophthalmology (GO-Emory).

        The Dobbs Foundation funds will allow us to strengthen the referral network of providers who can give patients direct access to follow-up medical care once a vision problem has been detected, said Emory Eye Center ophthalmologist (and GO-E director) Jacquelyn O'Banion, MD, MSc.


        Emory Eye Center to host 2022 Southeast Vitreoretinal Seminar in Atlanta

        Ending a two-year hiatus, the Emory Eye Center will once again sponsor the Annual Southeast Vitreoretinal (SEVR) Seminar at the JW Marriott Hotel March 25-26, 2022.

        As in previous years, the 34th Annual SEVR is expected to attract top retina specialists, uveitis specialists, retina fellows, ophthalmology residents, and medical students from throughout the southeast. Led by Emory faculty, Ghazala A. Datoo O'Keefe, MD and G. Baker Hubbard, III, MD, participants will dive into a wide range of topics, including retinal vascular disease, ocular tumors, uveitis, retinal degenerations, updates on the latest clinical trials, and management of complex vitreoretinal surgery.

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        Emory Eye Center faculty to publish findings on hemangiopericytoma

        A case report co-authored by Emory Eye Center's Hans Grossinklaus MD, Jill Wells MD, and Caroline Craven, MD is advancing understanding of conjunctival hemangiopericytoma, a rare but serious soft-tissue tumorous growth on the surface of the eye.

        The team's article, Isolated Hemangiopericytoma of the Conjunctiva has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports. Two additional researchers, William Edwards and Joseph Ryan Turner, share authorship on the piece.

        The article shares findings from the treatment of a 54-year-old patient who had developed a small, firm, non-painful, non-mobile vascular mass on her eye. Treatment commenced after three weeks and included surgical excision of the mass. A one-year follow-up examination revealed no recurrence.

        Two Emory Eye Center faculty tapped for 2021 Morgan Distinguished Lecture

        As the Emory Eye Center closes out 2021, we are proud to announce that, for the first time in the University's history, two faculty (both from EEC!) were tapped to co-present the prestigious John F. Morgan Distinguished Faculty lecture. Nancy J. Newman, MD and Valérie Biousse, MD, shared the honor, one of the most coveted bestowed by the University.

        Newman and Biousse's talk, The Eye as a Window to the Brain: From Candlelight to Artificial Intelligence gave a fascinating history of their joint interest in reintroducing the ocular fundus examination - currently an infrequently performed practice conducted by non-ophthalmic physicians - into an effective tool of mainstream medicine.


        Focus on Glaucoma Research: Andrew J. Feola, Ph.D.

        A team of researchers headed up by Emory Eye Center researcher, Andrew Feola Ph.D., is investigating a hormonal link to glaucoma that could open doors to more effective treatment and prevention options. Under the auspices of a 5-year, $1.25 million National Institutes of Health grant and a 5-year, $800,000 Veteran's Administration grant, Feola, an assistant professor in the Emory Medical School, is probing the connection between estrogen deficiencies and glaucoma - the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world.



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