Training For Eye Surgeons

Dr. John teaches live surgery course on DSAEK in Chicago. He has trained numerous surgeons from the United States and abroad. He also teaches surgical techniques at international conferences.

Dr. Thomas John from Chicago Performs Live Eye Surgery in Venice, Italy

Dr. Thomas John from Chicago was the only eye surgeon from the United States to be invited to Italy by Italy’s largest, and most prestigious ophthalmological organization, namely, the Italian Ophthalmological Society. He was invited to perform one of the latest and most advanced corneal surgery, namely, DXEK/DSAEK procedure, known as sutureless corneal transplantation. This surgery was performed live and was broadcasted in real-time to all the attendees of the annual convention. This is a great honor and privilege that was bestowed on Dr. John.

The convention is called the 87th Congresso Nazionale Società Ophthalmologica Italiana [87th National Congress of the Italian Ophthalmological Society (SOI)], October 24-27, 2007. This convention was held in Venice, Italy. Dr. Thomas John participated in the Live Surgery Symposium on Lamellar Keratoplasty. Dr. John left Chicago O’Hare on Thursday October 25th night to Venice, Italy via Zurich on Swiss Air. Arriving at the Venice international airport he was greeted by the Italian host and together they took a water taxi to the hospital where Dr. John examined the patient who was going to have the corneal surgery the next morning. The patient had clouding of her cornea due to fluid collection within the cornea that caused her vision to be blurry much like looking through a cloudy windshield in one’s car. The blurred vision interfered with the patient’s daily activities including watching television, seeing distant objects, recognizing street signs, etc. Hence, she decided to have the problem corrected and the only solution was surgery, namely a corneal transplant. She elected for the live surgery to be performed by Dr. Thomas John from the United States.

Normally, when a corneal transplant is performed, a circular, 360 degrees cut is made through and through the cornea much like a cookie cutter, and the cut cornea is removed. This leaves a central hole in the patient’s eye that is then closed with a donor cornea. The donor cornea is attached with corneal sutures. The problem with this conventional corneal transplant procedure is that the corneal wound never heals and if the individual were to get hit in the operated eye, it is this wound site that will first rupture leading to potential loss of eye. Additionally, the sutures can cause eye infections or the sutures can break in which case the patient will experience eye pain and has to be seen as an eye emergency. Also, this conventional corneal transplant will induce astigmatism, meaning the corneal shape will be altered from the shape of a basketball to that of a football. Astigmatism of the cornea causes unwanted visual distortions that will erode on the quality of vision.

Dr. Thomas John performed the latest in corneal transplantation surgery, namely, sutureless corneal transplantation. He has two textbooks on this subject and has taught this surgical technique to surgeons from all over the world. In this type of surgery there is no corneal wound and no corneal sutures. Hence the strength of the eye is maintained and will not result in corneal rupture if the eye were to be subjected to accidental trauma. Also, there is no corneal astigmatism after this surgery, therefore, the quality of vision is very good after sutureless corneal transplant. In this procedure only the inner most layer of the patient’s cornea called the endothelium that is diseased is removed and replaced with healthy donor corneal endothelium. It is introduced into the patient’s eye in a folded-manner, like a taco and it is then unfolded within the patient’s eye and attached to the inner surface of the patient’s cornea with an air-bubble. This is the most advanced form of modern day corneal transplantation.

Dr. Thomas John performed the sutureless corneal transplant as live surgery in Venice. He was assisted by an Italian surgical nurse. There were surgical coordinators who commented on the surgery and also asked Dr. John questions that Dr. John answered while doing surgery. The surgery was a great success and it was done under topical anesthesia (MAC), without the use of general anesthesia. Following the surgery the patient was very comfortable and had no eye pain. The next day the cornea looked very good and the donor corneal endothelium was well centered and well attached to the patient’s cornea. The patient was very pleased with the surgery and asked the Italian ophthalmologist to say hello and thank you to Dr. Thomas John. Dr. John returned to the Chicago on Sunday and was back to work on Monday. Dr.Thomas John is of Indian origin. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Pennsylvania and his clinical cornea fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary in Boston. He was the Director of Cornea Service at the University of Chicago for 4 years, after which he started his private offices in Tinley Park and Oak Lawn. He has received numerous awards and has been named America’s Top Doctor, Chicago Top Doctor, and America’s Top Ophthalmologists. His office addresses are 16532 South Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park, Illinois, and 10315 South Ciero Avenue, Oak Lawn, Illinois. The office telephone numbers are 708-429-2223 and 708-499-3939.