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Today's Practice | Jul 2010

5 Questions with Günther Grabner,MD

1.What do you find most challenging about balancing your leadership and professorial responsibilities?
It is difficult to find sufficient time to read and write scientific papers. The majority of my time is filled with giving lectures, administrative work, and performing surgery.

Over the years, my coworkers and I have gathered extensive data. My busy schedule has prevented me from performing detailed analyses and preparing manuscripts for publication.

2.What is the most significant ophthalmic development you have participated in, and how has it changed the way you practice and treat patients?
At the University Eye Clinic, we have conducted extensive research on a variety of topics related to refractive surgery, such as corneal inlays (AcuFocus; AcuFocus, Inc., Irvine, California), phakic IOLs, intraocular pressure in femtosecond laser cuts, femtosecondassisted astigmatic keratotomy, and intrastromal corneal ring segments (Intacs; Addition Technology, Inc., Des Plaines, Illinois). We also invest research time into toric and multifocal IOLs.

We are continually assessing the near visual acuity results of these lenses using the Salzburg Reading Desk (SRD), the first computerized device to precisely measure reading acuity, speed, and print size. Based on the principle of the Radner Reading Charts, the SRD was developed for testing reading acuity under standardized illumination. Measuring reading acuity with fixed distance does not allow us to draw conclusions on the everyday reading ability of patients; therefore, on the SRD, the continuously changing reading distance is monitored by stereo-photometry and mathematically evaluated. The reading angle—an additional variable parameter—can be chosen freely by the patient to offer the most convenient test circumstances.

With the SRD, it is possible to obtain objective, valid, and comparable results of the true reading abilities of patients. Studies testing reading acuity with the SRD following a variety of surgical methods are currently under way in various European centers. The goal of these studies is to confirm the potential of this highly refined method for reading acuity evaluation. This device has already significantly added to our knowledge of how best to treat patients with presbyopia.

3. How important is it to stay on the cutting edge of ophthalmic developments?
In my opinion, it is absolutely mandatory that ophthalmologists stay on the cutting edge of technological developments in the field. This knowledge allows one to best serve his patients. The best way to stay abreast of the most up-to-date advances is to attend major ophthalmic meetings. It is a lot of fun to meet up with old colleagues and friends at these meetings. Such conferences also provide excellent opportunities for young physicians and surgeons embarking on an academic career.

4.What advice can you offer regarding how to be an effective presenter at clinical meetings?
I have found that the key to success on the podium revolves around a few simple rules. First, do not exceed the time allotted for the presentation. Second, the basic message of the presentation should be reduced to no more than three important points. Third, do not repeat yourself. Present information in a manner that is logical and keeps the audience interested in what you have to say. Last but not least, do not overload your slides with too much data or information.

5.What do you consider your greatest personal achievement outside of your profession?
I have managed to keep my private pilot's license valid for more than 30 years. Despite the fact that I have put in very little flight time, I am still not too scared to go out for a fun flight.