Eye clinic charts have such specialized notations that an ophthalmologist can effectively decipher the entire visit no matter the language. You could receive an ophthalmology note from another country and figure out exactly what is going on. Across the globe, ophthalmologists are similar in many regards; however, there is one sector where there are differences: access to different devices and surgery platforms.
There are some technologies we don’t yet have in the U.S. that I am keen to learn since I think they may alter or improve the way we treat patients. One of these is the idea of using a femtosecond laser as the sole platform for keratorefractive surgery in a procedure called ReLEx smile (small-incision lenticule extraction, Carl Zeiss Meditec). IOLs are another area where our international colleagues have more options that we do in the U.S. New diagnostic devices such as LED-based corneal topographers are another innovation that could change our practice patterns. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, new or modified surgical techniques are being pioneered by surgeons around the world, and the best way to learn them is by an in-person visit to a colleague’s operating room.
I am currently on a trip to Europe to learn from my colleagues. In London, I will visit a clinic to see first-hand the ReLEx smile procedure, and I will be meeting colleagues at F1000: the Faculty of 1000 group that seeks to create a database of the world’s experts in many medical and science fields. In Paris, I plan to visit surgeons who are pioneering corneal surgical techniques and I will learn from their experiences, both good and bad, with phakic IOLs. In the Netherlands, I am looking forward to learning more about the Cassini LED-based corneal topography from i-optics, which may improve toric IOL outcomes by providing a more accurate axis measurement. In Italy, I am planning on visiting multiple colleagues across the country to learn about their preferred IOLs, particularly the ones that address presbyopia. There are toric multifocal IOLs, lower-add multifocal IOLs and novel-design IOLs that are still not yet FDA-approved in the U.S.
I always manage to glean at least a few surgical pearls from watching colleagues operate. I still remember the first time I attended a video-based meeting in Milan by Lucio Buratto, MD, and being amazed by the talent of the surgeons. This trip will be a great learning experience for me and an opportunity to look into the future of what will be coming to the U.S. in the near future.
Disclosure: Dr. Devgan has no relevant financial disclosures.