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Today's Practice | Mar 2013

5 Questions With Pavel Stodulka, MD, PhD

1. What do you consider to be the most exciting surgical development that you have been a part of?

LASIK, which I started performing in 1994, was a revolution. Suddenly, with this procedure, we could correct up to -8.00 D or more, providing instant visual rehabilitation for patients without inducing pain. In 2006, the femtosecond laser made the procedure even safer and more precise. Today, I am enthusiastic about laser cataract surgery, which I perform with the Victus femtosecond laser (Technolas Perfect Vision GmbH and Bausch + Lomb) platform. At my clinic, we have performed about 2,000 procedures without a significant laser-related complication. The laser capsulotomy is precise in both shape and diameter, and this lowers the risk of late IOL decentration.

Another surgical development, the Boston KPro keratoprosthesis, has enabled me to return vision to several people who were blind for many years with only little hope for sight.

2. Since implementing laser cataract surgery, how has your use of IOLs changed?

During the past year, my colleagues and I at the Gemini Eye Clinic have significantly increased our volume of trifocal IOLs. We primarily implant the FineVision IOL (PhysIOL). Compared with previous multifocal IOL models, the FineVision trifocal diffractive design loses less light and provides better intermediate vision. Our monofocal lens of choice for microincision cataract surgery is the Hyflex Y (EyeolUK), which is a hydrophobic blue-light–filtering aspheric implant.

3. What motivated you to get a PhD, and how has this degree made a difference in your career?

In addition to clinical work and surgery, I always wanted to do research in ophthalmology. I completed a PhD on LASIK to better understand lamellar corneal surgery. I was first in the Czech Republic to perform LASIK (both with a microkeratome and with a femtosecond laser) and Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK). I continue to conduct corneal research, and I am currently involved in developing injectors and devices for corneal transplants.

4. What is unique about your approach to treating patients?

In my daily practice, I emphasize empathy when talking with patients while providing information about the latest diagnostic and surgical technology. The strategy at the Gemini Eye Clinic has always been to offer a wide variety of surgical solutions and, together with the patient, to choose the one that will offer the most benefit. The surgery itself should be gentle and precise but quickly completed. I talk continuously to the patient throughout the procedure. This so-called verbal anesthesia helps me to keep patients calm during surgery, and I teach this approach to our residents.

5. What have you not yet done that you would like to accomplish in the future?

I have been fortunate throughout my professional career. In ophthalmology, we can perform highly rewarding surgeries, from LASIK to phacoemulsification to DMEK. I have had the privilege to perform eye surgeries on a president of our country. I built a chain of private Gemini Eye Clinics, and my colleagues and I established our own research and development team. My dream is to improve some surgical procedures through our research. The plan for the future is to make the professional team at our clinics even stronger while balancing this professional effort with my family life.