I am an ophthalmic oncologist and the first Chief of the Ophthalmic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Ophthalmic oncologists are ophthalmologists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer on the surface of the eye, in the eye, and in the tissues around the eye (lids, orbit). My appointment is a joint one in Surgery, Pediatrics, and Radiation Oncology. I perform all the surgery on ophthalmic oncology patients at MSK but in every case work closely with my colleagues in Pediatrics, Radiation Oncology, and Medicine. We are the only service dedicated to ophthalmic oncology in a cancer hospital in the US; and, because of our close association with these other services, we are able to offer coordinated, state-of-the-art care with access to novel therapies and clinical trials not available anywhere else in the country.
After completing a residency in ophthalmology and a full year of research involving ultrasound and cancer of the eye, I did a fellowship in ophthalmic oncology and also spent additional time training at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC.
I have had extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers in and around the eye. Cancers in and around the eye are usually diagnosed without biopsy; and since all cancers in my area are rare, experience is very important in arriving at the correct diagnosis every time. To assist me, we have the latest in diagnostic digital imaging and ultrasound, including standardized A and B scan in addition to high frequency anterior segment ultrasound ('ultrasonic biomicroscopy,' or UBM).
I have published more than 400 books, chapters, original articles, scientific reviews, audiotapes, and videotapes, and I was the editor of the American Academy's instruction book on Ophthalmic Oncology. I have delivered more than 400 lectures worldwide, including in France, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Argentina.
The most common cancer we see is melanoma in the eye. We offer every modern diagnostic and therapeutic option for these cancers, including brachytherapy ('plaques') with radioactive iodine and ruthenium. I work closely with our radiation oncologists, and our physicists and brachytherapy team are internationally respected for their expertise. Every plaque therapy is individually designed for each patient. I was a principal investigator (and author) of the 20-year NIH-sponsored trial called the COMS (Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study), in which we demonstrated the most effective management of patients with ocular melanomas.
I have been described as 'the Dean of Retinoblastoma,' and our retinoblastoma center is the longest continually operating retinoblastoma center in the world, with the longest follow-up of the largest number of patients ever. We have a newly constructed examination suite dedicated to the examinations of children with retinoblastoma, and in it is every modern piece of equipment that exists to diagnose and treat retinoblastoma. I have introduced many new treatments for retinoblastoma that have been adopted by other centers worldwide. These include the novel use of chemotherapy delivered around the eye to prevent systemic toxicity of intravenous medication. Our studies on the long-term complications of cancer diathesis in this disease have been published extensively in JAMA as well as ophthalmic and oncology journals.
I have received awards from the Swiss Ophthalmological Society (for my work in childhood eye cancer and genetics), The Association for Research in Vision (for my contributions to clinical ophthalmological research), the Helen Keller Society (for my work with blind and limited-sighted children), and the New York State Ophthalmological Society (for my humanitarian approach to patients). I have received many teaching awards, and I have received the Honor Award and the Senior Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.