The Future is Now: Corneal Transplants and Eye Banks

If there was ever a time to get your eyes checked it would be the month of October. It is Eye Injury Prevention Month, which is sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as a reminder to protect your eyes and World Sight Day — a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment. So how would we describe this episode's guest? We'll call him among other things, a protector of the eyes as he specializes in the cornea. The cornea is what is shielding your eyes from dust, germs or other harmful conditions and while it could be perceived as the most sensitive part of the eye, it's quite strong and durable.

Dr. Itay Lavi is a senior ophthalmologist and surgeon at Hadassah Hospital. The 41-year-old is one of Israel's leading cornea specialists. Dr. Lavi was born in Be'ersheva, Israel and earned his medical degree at the Semmelweis University School of Medicine, Budapest. He is a member of the Israel Medical Association (IMA), the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a lecturer at the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, which are only a few of his accomplishments. He is a critical member of Hadassah's Ophthalmology department, which will be moving into the renovated Round Building at the hospital's Ein Kerem campus in Jerusalem.

In this episode, we had a fascinating conversation with Dr. Lavi about the future of eye research, about how he's using stem cells in his work and about an eye bank he helps run at Hadassah Hospital. And since he's an eye specialist, we had to ask him: What are his favorite things to look at?

One of the most interesting aspects of Dr. Lavi's work is corneal transplants — a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue. While this may seem like something out of a science-fiction movie, it's one of the original transplant operations, first being done by doctors about a century ago. But in the future, Dr. Lavi explained, he could be doing the whole procedure with robots. "I might sit next to a computer and just instruct a little button what to do," he said.

Read a transcript of this episode.

"Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over to hadassah.org.

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The show is hosted by Benyamin Cohen and edited by Skyler Inman and the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.

This episode is sponsored by:

The Branch


Hadassah Israel Travel

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