TEL AVIV Prof. Ehud Assia, of Tel Aviv Universitys Sackler School of Medicine is, quite simply, a rock star in the field of eye surgery.
One of a small number of surgeons in the world who currently perform a complicated form of glaucoma surgery, Prof. Assia has developed a novel laser device that promises to revolutionize treatment of the disease. The laser, called the OTS134 for now, is expected to give most practicing eye surgeons the ability to master complex glaucoma surgery very quickly.
Glaucoma, nicknamed the silent sight thief, is the second leading cause of blindness in the West. Glaucoma is a serious problem that starts to cause nerve damage to people without them realizing that anything is happening to their eyesight, often before it is too late, says Prof. Assia, who is also the director of Ophthalmology at Meir Hospital in Israel, which treats thousands of glaucoma patients each year.
The most common surgical treatment in use today perforates the wall of the eye, often resulting in collapse of the eyeball, infection, cataract formation and other complications. A more effective and elegant approach, a specialty of Prof. Assia's, involves penetration of the eye wall to a depth of only about 95 percent, leaving a razor-thin layer intact. The difference between success and failure may amount to just a few microns.
This highly-specialized non-penetrating surgery, requiring years of rigorous training and great skill, is performed by only a small number of surgeons at leading international ophthalmology centers. But a small observation led Prof. Assia to think about a method that could make the procedure accessible to eye surgeons without the long and involved training.
Several years ago I served as a consultant for a company that produces CO2 lasers, which are used for different kinds of cosmetic and skin surgery. Because it is a relatively strong type of laser, it was not a likely candidate for us
|Contact: Barbara Schreibman|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University