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Video Journal of Cataract, Refractive, and Glaucoma Surgery: 40 years and counting


A singular celebration of science over the decades

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/THAWEERAT)

(Image Credit: AdobeStock/THAWEERAT)

The Video Journal, a compilation of anterior segment surgical techniques, is celebrating a major anniversary, its 40th to be precise. This mile marker is a testament to its popularity.

During the first 40 years of this undertaking, Robert Osher, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati and Medical Director Emeritus, Cincinnati Eye Institute (who is quick to say that it will go on for another 40 years) has been spurred along in large part by what he still needs to learn, rather than by what he’s already learned over the decades.

Because of the breadth and diversity of the videos that are now part of the Video Journal’s archive, close to 1,600 videos may be an educated guess within the 160 issues, Osher is not comforted by the knowledge amassed in his recordings but rather by the immensity of what is left to be documented and learned.

The value of this compilation of recordings, according to Osher, is that it provides a “hands-on” look at a multitude of techniques — an opportunity that cannot be had by listening to podium talks or reading surgical articles.

Viewing a procedure is especially important to young ophthalmologists seeking education about a particular topic that may not be available in their own residency programs. Established clinicians also have the opportunity to learn new techniques to which they might otherwise not be exposed easily. Both levels of experience are able to benefit from viewing a typical issue demonstrating a variety of techniques.

In the early years when video was becoming available, he recounted the shock and the responsivity of the audiences at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) when he introduced the initial Video Symposium of Challenging Cases and Complications Management in 1981. This new format soon led to the birth of the Video Journal, the first in Medicine. It also provides the history of the pioneers and how procedures have been developed and evolved over 40 years.“The Journal represents a massive archive of our past, present and a substrate for the future,” Dr. Osher said.

Getting it together: A Herculean task

Osher confesses to having watched every video from the major conferences each year, that is, over 200 from the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), a similar number of videos from the ASCRS, the cataract videos from the AAO, and many of the videos from the different international film festivals.

For each quarterly issue of the Video Journal, he establishes a theme based on what is trending among the amassed videos at that moment. The catalogs from 2023 include Double Flanged Techniques, “Shocking Cases!,” “Highlights of ESCRS,” MSICS, and new IOL Explantation Techniques. The first issue of 2024, “It’s All About the Science,” is a potpourri of some of the especially outstanding contributions from the past 6 years.“These 9 videos in the current issue were over the top in terms of scientific value,” he commented.

Osher does not hold himself to a standard format when putting his issues together. Most issues can contain 12 to 24 contributions and typically range from 1 to 2 hours of viewing time with no advertisements. Sandwiched between each video on the anniversary issue are commentaries by the world’s leading surgeons describing the value of the Video Journal as a free educational resource for the members of various surgical societies.

Every video that is reviewed is categorized by the topic and quality of the video. “I get a feel for what is clinically most helpful and relevant for the viewing audience. It is very satisfying to know that the Video Journal provides the highest quality of video education to colleagues around the world. Moreover, I have personally enjoyed learning what is happening in anterior segment surgery on every continent,” he said.

He is not alone in this endeavor. For issues that include content other than cataract procedures, his specialty, Osher has close friends and advisors who keep him apprised of the technologic and surgical advances in areas such as cornea, refractive surgery, glaucoma, and prosthetic iris implantation. These individuals include Richard Packard, MD (England), Graham Barrett, MD (Australia), Ron Yeoh, MD (Singapore), Abhay Vasavada, MD (India), Lucio Buratto, MD (Italy), Boris Malyugin, MD (Russia), Ike Ahmed, MD (Canada), the Trindade family (Brazil), Mike Snyder, MD (USA) and George Waring, MD (USA).

What’s coming next

The remainder of 2024 is expected to include a walk-through of the sponsor exhibit floor to showcase technologies, the highlights of ESCRS from Vienna, and perhaps favorite videos from the previous 4 decades to celebrate the 40 year anniversary.

“A love of video and a passion for education has made for a very enduring and relevant product. It’s been a privilege to have served as a Founder and Editor, and I have no plans to discontinue this mission,” Dr. Osher concluded.

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