As 2017 comes to its close, I find with great urgency the desire to reflect. This year, I have focused my reflection on how lucky I am in my career. After more than 20 years of practicing ophthalmology, both in Europe and in the United States, I have finally settled down in an ophthalmic institution that I believe embodies the quality and excellence that I aspire to provide to patients. Our diagnostics and research center at Laservision.gr Eye Institute in Athens now spans more than 25,000 ft2. We have 14 lanes and four ORs, and we own two excimer lasers and three femtosecond lasers. Our group consists of seven physicians, 12 optometrists, three nurses, and 10 ancillary and administrative staff members. I could not be more proud of our institution and of my colleagues.
I have the luxury of imaging all my patients, as each of our 14 lanes is connected to audiovisual software. As a result, I am able to produce interesting case reports that I can then share with my colleagues internally and at meetings around the world. At Laservision.gr, we document every single step, on every single patient, at every single visit. The data that we collect are then retrospectively and prospectively shared with the ophthalmic community.
We also strive not only to address the needs of our patients but also to think outside the box. We push the envelope by treating patients who might otherwise be considered outside the threshold of a procedure and by combining treatments when appropriate. In the early 2000s, we developed the Athens Protocol, combining CXL with topography-guided PRK to treat young keratoconic patients who were candidates for corneal transplantation. To our surprise, transplantation was eventually performed in only 5% of these patients, and the rest maintained functional vision.
The aspect that I value the most about Laservision.gr is that I have the time and resources to provide personalized patient care. I give patients copies of each exam that is performed as a gesture of openness. Every day is a test of my abilities to treat each patient as best I can and to have a personal relationship with every person with whom I come into contact. I consider this my proudest professional accomplishment and what I value most about my practice.
I am also in a position as a physician not to be influenced by financial or commercial forces, and I think that this is the thing I value second-most in my clinical practice. Third, I have trained and practiced with some of the best ophthalmologists in the world, and I continue to learn from so many of my esteemed colleagues and friends. Last but not least, I would not be half as successful as I am if it were not for the support of my wife and of my three children, who range in age from 10 to 14.
As the end of 2017 grows near, I also look forward with great anticipation at what our fantastic field might offer in the coming year. You can be sure that CRST Europe will be the first to cover the new technologies and techniques that surface in 2018, and we aim to continue empowering you to treat patients with personalized and precise care.
A. John Kanellopoulos, MD
Associate Chief Medical Editor