Chief Medical Editor’s Page

By Steven D. Vold, MD
 

When I was a wide-eyed resident physician, several patients in my clinic influenced my learning of ophthalmology. Every night, I would go home and thoroughly research each new diagnosis I had encountered that day. Oftentimes, I would make outlines that included key references from the literature. After every surgical case I performed or assisted on, I would enter notes into an electronic library of procedures I created, with technical tips for each case. My grand rounds presentations were another excellent learning opportunity that reflected what I learned in select cases.

Karen was one of my very first clinic patients. A lovely red-haired lady in her early 60s, she lived in the Lincoln Park suburb of Chicago and had dense nuclear sclerotic cataracts that required surgical intervention. I informed Karen that I would not be able to perform my first cataract surgeries for at least 6 months, the minimum period of clinical training and surgical observation that my training program required first-year residents to complete prior to operating. To my amazement, she told me that she wanted to be my very first cataract surgery patient and insisted that she would wait.

I tried to talk her out of this decision on multiple occasions, but Karen refused. Instead, she expressed excitement about being a part of this landmark moment in my medical career. I will always be grateful to Seymour Goren, MD, who successfully guided me through my very first extracapsular cataract extraction. I distinctly remember driving to Karen’s home to pick her up for her surgery and driving her home afterward.

Postoperatively, her recovery was a bit slow because of the astigmatism induced by my overly tight sutures and some retained cortex. After the release of several sutures and a YAG capsulotomy, however, Karen obtained a BCVA of 20/20 approximately 3 months postoperatively. I then performed cataract surgery on her other eye using phacoemulsification. More than 20 years later, I still smile when I remember her commenting how much faster her recovery was after her second cataract extraction. Karen was so much more than my patient. She became a dear friend.

In this issue of GT, contributors share interesting case studies that influenced how they manage specific types of glaucoma patients. I hope that readers find these articles instructive for the management of their own complex glaucoma cases. More importantly, I hope that this issue highlights how medical decisions affect patients’ quality of life. After all, it is the people who make the lives of glaucoma caregivers so rewarding.

Steven D. Vold, MD
Chief Medical Editor

 

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Glaucoma Today is mailed bimonthly (six times a year) to 11,519 glaucoma specialists, general ophthalmologists, and clinical optometrists who treat patients with glaucoma. Glaucoma Today delivers important information on recent research, surgical techniques, clinical strategies, and technology.