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ESCRS Ophthalmology Conference 2017 Lisbon, Portugal

ESCRS Ophthalmology Conference 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal

The XXXV Congress of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) took place from the 7th-11th of October 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal. You may wonder why we at Parker Cornea travel thousands of miles, deal with TSA, foreign airport security, immigration control, and Customs, not to mention jet lag, to attend ophthalmology meetings around the world.

We actually can’t imagine missing these meetings. Here’s why:

Education: There are hundreds of lectures, posters and videos on the latest advancements in cataract surgery and corneal surgery. Every day is educational for us. We presented a new way to save a group of very sick eyes with DMEK. Another study we presented looked at eyes of patients who had DMEK but later died and donated their eyes for study. Such information allows ophthalmologists better insight into the uses and possible limits of DMEK surgery.

Exchange of Ideas: Medical conferences give doctors the ability to exchange ideas about theories, surgeries, and instruments, which often leads to revolutionary change. For instance, we first heard Gerrit Melles, MD, PhD, the originator of DSEK, DMEK, Bowman layer transplantation, and virtually all of the new corneal transplant procedures performed today, speak at an international medical conference more than a decade ago.

This year, we heard a variety of great new ideas about cataract surgery and corneal surgery particularly from specialists from Japan, India and Singapore.

The Latest in Special Equipment:  Ophthalmic technology changes at least as fast as cell phone technology. New hardware and software give us better information so that we can help our patients make better decisions and get better outcomes.

Better Patient Care: How are we doing? Ophthalmology is a wonderfully objective field. Visual acuity is just one specific variable that can be compared between patients with similar problems from around the world. When physicians compare diagnostic and therapeutic approaches along with their outcomes, everyone wins.

Cultural events: Lisbon is centuries older than any other major city in Western Europe.  After long conference hours, we were able to enjoy some delicious Lisbon neighborhood restaurants and tour beautiful coastal sites. Our restaurant favorite was a traditional Portuguese spot where we dined on rabbit and octopus. A small Nepalese café with its goat stew and mango ice cream was a very close second!

All in all the trip couldn’t have been better.  We left with lots of new information and lots of new friends.

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Parker Cornea and the ASCRS Meeting of 2017

Parker Cornea was well represented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS) held May 5-9 in Los Angeles, CA.

The ASCRS meeting is the largest conference in the United States dedicated exclusively to the surgeon who specializes in anterior segment surgery. In other words, cornea, cataract and glaucoma surgery. Both doctors John and Jack Parker, as well as other members from the Parker Cornea team, attended the meeting to learn about new developments in their field. Besides innovative courses, ASCRS also gave the doctors the opportunity to view the all the new technology available for use in treatment of eye disease.

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I have keratoconus? What do I do now?

Chances are you went to see your ophthalmologist or optometrist because you were not seeing as well as you used to see out of your glasses or contacts. But instead of simply getting a new prescription, you were diagnosed with a progressive, sight threatening condition. You probably left the office with questions such as- “What is keratoconus and what are my options?”

Keratoconus is a condition that causes the clear, normally sphere-shaped, front part of the eye to bulge forward into a cone-like protrusion. The front part of the eye, the cornea, thins as it protrudes and causes vision to blur.

Fortunately there are several  options to help preserve and/or maintain your vision.

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keratoconus, cross-linking, corneal cross-linking, collagen cross-linking

Why Should I Have Cross-Linking Now?

I Can Still See Clearly with my Contact Lenses.

Keratoconus is a relatively common bilateral condition that is characterized by progressive corneal distortion. The disease causes the corneas to bulge into an irregular cone shape which permanently blurs vision. In early keratoconus, contact lenses or even glasses can effectively correct vision. Even hard contact lenses do not prevent keratoconus progression. In most cases, corneal cross-linking actually halts the progression of keratoconus.

Vision changes are often a specific, but not sensitive, indicator that keratoconus is progressing. Since only some corneal deformation can be corrected with hard contact lenses or even surgery, it is important to stop a cornea from deforming as soon as possible. A cornea that is too deformed is not able to see well even with a hard contact lens.

Parker Cornea is the first provider of FDA approved corneal cross-linking in the state of Alabama because we participated in Avedro’s FDA trials. We offer a full range of keratoconus interventions including Intacs and partial-thickness corneal transplants. We were the first surgeons in the United States to offer Bowman layer transplantation for keratoconus and we teach and speak internationally on the treatment of keratoconus.


Ophthalmic images are © 2009 American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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corneal cross-linking, keratoconus, treating keratoconus with corneal cross-linking

Corneal cross-linking: What is it?

Corneal cross-linking is a reliable means of permanently stopping the progression of keratoconus. Keratoconus, a relatively common condition affecting 1/2000 people, typically begins shortly after puberty. By causing corneal thinning and bulging, keratoconus can lead to blindness even in young people. Keratoconus is not reversible and until recently the only treatment has been hard contact lenses–a treatment that improves vision, often with significant discomfort, but does nothing to slow the progression of the disease.

If you have been recently diagnosed with either keratoconus or post-LASIK ectasia it is important that you: 1) Never rub your eyes, and 2) Stop the worsening of your corneal warpage as soon as possible with corneal cross-linking.

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Keratoconus Treatment, bowman layer, bowman layer transplantation

Dr. Jack Parker Discusses Bowman Layer Transplantation at EuCornea

At the EuCornea meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 9, Jack Parker, MD, talked about Bowman’s layer transplantation, a minimally interventional procedure to arrest progression of the disease in patients with advanced keratoconus otherwise ineligible for other procedures. Watch a video of the presentation below and learn more about Bowman layer transplantation at Parker Cornea here.

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Ken Clifton’s Vision is Restored through DMEK and Corneal Transplant

Ken Clifton suffered from poor vision his entire life due to a birth defect in one eye, but when he was diagnosed with Fuchs’ Dystrophy in 2010, his vision turned from poor to painful – with blisters on the back of his eye and increasingly distorted vision. Dr. John Parker of Parker Cornea performed DMEK surgery, a corneal transplant, cataract transplant and lens implant, which restored Mr. Clifton’s vision to better than it had ever been in his entire life. Watch his story:

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Which is Better: DMEK or DSAEK?

When a patient is faced with impaired vision or eye pain due to Fuchs’ dystrophy, it can be difficult to know which procedure – DMEK or DSAEK – is the most appropriate to treat the disease. In some eye hospitals or ophthalmic centers, this is a controversial topic due to differences in surgeon experience. However, each procedure has its own advantages, that – when compared – can make the choice clear.

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New Treatment for Advanced Keratoconus now Available to Parker Cornea Patients

This blog post was adapted from a paper published in U.S. Ophthalmic Review, written by senior UAB ophthalmology resident physician Jack Parker, M.D.

At Parker Cornea, we are committed to researching safer treatment options for patients suffering from advanced keratoconus, a disorder that results in a “cone-shaped” cornea that can cause blurred vision, sensitivity to light, distortion of vision and eye irritation, redness and swelling.

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DMEK Gives Mark Boesel his Color Back

You don’t notice the color fading from your life until you get it back.

That was the experience Mark Boesel had two days after his DMEK surgery, when he opened his eyes and – for the first time in years – saw his backyard in its true color.

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