Growing up, some of my fondest memories were weekends spent working on cars with my father. Learning how to fix things and find better ways of doing things became a lifelong theme. ‘Fixing” bad vision is more rewarding and nourishing than I can express. As a child I wanted to become an inventor but wound up going to medical school where creativity took a far back seat to rote learning.
I thought that was pretty much that, until I invented and patented a device to cure a corneal condition I saw often in my practice years ago. After donating the royalties from that invention to eye care charities, again, I thought that was that… Until I became the first eye surgeon in Washington to become involved with laser vision correction and worked on developing new techniques. But now, I’m obsessed with developing the safest, most comfortable, least invasive way of improving and saving vision.
Last month in Salerno, Italy, in a building that was 18th century on the outside and futuristic within, I collaborated with Professor Carmine Ostraloco. Professor Ostraloco is likely the world’s leading expert in what’s called corneal pharmacokinetics. This just means how vitmamins and other substances get into the cornea to help patients. As I, along with my excellent team, have been pioneering and further improving a technique to treat keratoconus without some of the risks of older techniques, we are particularly interested in Professor Ostraloco’s opinion of our work. We were delighted when he called this “the best work he had seen in this area.” After he and I went out for some local seafood and delicious white wine, we were fast friends. We compared notes and talked about working together on additional projects as well as his eventually coming to the United States to give a lecture. A great trip indeed!