The Ophthalmology24 team is excited to share our interview with an inspiring eye doctor - Dr. Oseguera from Mexico.
Dr. Gerardo Lopez Oseguera is an ophthalmologist with a commitment to excellence and innovation. He earned his Medical Degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey and completed an internship at the Hospital Universitario Monterrey.
During his Ophthalmology Residency at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, he was in charge of the glaucoma clinic and laser clinic and excelled as the Chief Resident. His pursuit of excellence extends to a Glaucoma Fellowship and Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Beatrice Tiosano and Prof. Anat Kessler.
Dr. Oseguera expanded his global perspective through a short-term Phaco Course; and Glaucoma surgery & SICS technique fellowships in India. Followed by an Anterior Segment Fellowship at the Instituto de Microcirugia Ocular and Universidad de Barcelona. Apart from his ophthalmology education, his academic pursuits include ongoing studies in Biomedical Engineering and Law Studies.
Beyond his contributions to academia, Dr. Oseguera is actively involved in entrepreneurship. He is the co-owner of Chromagen Mexico and Eye Care Group. One of his latest projects is the Emuna Ophtalmo Tech startup which combines blockchain technology and AI to create a glaucoma checkpoint system to prevent glaucoma blindness.
As a renowned ophthalmologist, we believe Dr. Oseguera can bring valuable insights to our readers. In this interview, we delve into his journey in the world of ophthalmology, his expertise, and his perspective on the latest advancements in eye care.
Dr. Oseguera, what led you to pursue Ophthalmology? How has it shaped your professional aspirations?
My fascination with ophthalmology has deep roots in my childhood, growing up in a family environment of optometrists. From an early age, I often found myself in the office and laboratory, observing how lenses were processed.
This early exposure planted in me an innate curiosity about the visual field, which was strengthened during my medical studies upon discovering that I possessed an exceptional photographic memory, a skill I found particularly aligned with the practice of ophthalmology.
As my career progressed, I realized that despite being a highly selective specialty, ophthalmology needs to be more accessible and democratic, especially in treating diseases like glaucoma, where there is still much to discover.
This need to explore the unknown and face complex challenges with simple and elegant solutions has been a constant driver in my career. My goal is to make advances in eye care accessible to everyone, especially those less fortunate communities, thereby democratizing access to cutting-edge ophthalmological treatments.
Tell us about your journey in Ophthalmology and some of its highlights.
My path to ophthalmology began unexpectedly. Upon completing my medical studies, while reflecting on where to specialize, a fortuitous opportunity presented itself while assisting my family in our optician's shops.
During a medical equipment purchase, I met a doctor who not only invited me to collaborate in his ophthalmology clinic but also introduced me to the possibility of doing my residency in Israel. He enthusiastically spoke of his experience at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, highlighting the exceptional surgical training and focus on innovation he experienced there.
Following his recommendation, I joined the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Israel, under the expert guidance of Dr. Beatrice Tiosano. This period not only solidified my passion for ophthalmology but also offered me the opportunity to serve as Chief Resident, leading glaucoma and laser clinics, experiences that deeply marked my professional trajectory.
The glaucoma fellowship was another cornerstone in my career, allowing me to specialize further in this area and assume responsibility for the glaucoma clinic in the last two years of my stay at Hillel Yaffe. This time was crucial for my development, providing me with vast clinical and surgical experience and awakening a strong interest in research and innovation in glaucoma management.
Additionally, my involvement in creating Emuna Ophthalmo Tech marked a significant milestone in my career. This startup, focused on developing medical solutions for glaucoma using blockchain technology and AI-based decision support, reflects my commitment to the technological forefront and my desire to contribute to the evolution of ophthalmology towards a more accessible and effective future.
What have been the biggest challenges in your professional journey as an ophthalmologist?
One of the biggest challenges in my career has been navigating through the highly bureaucratic educational system of my country. Especially in the field of ophthalmology, which is often perceived as exclusive and accessible only to a privileged few.
This initial barrier motivated me to seek opportunities beyond my national borders. Which, fortunately, allowed me to significantly broaden my horizons and knowledge in various aspects of medicine and ophthalmology.
Moreover, I have faced the constant challenge of balancing the need for precision and technical excellence in clinical and surgical practice with the importance of empathy and understanding towards my patients' concerns and needs. Ophthalmology requires not only solid technical skills but also a deep human connection, essential for reassuring and guiding patients through their treatments.
Working in subspecialties like glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology has presented its own challenges, particularly when dealing with complex and chronic conditions. These areas demand a meticulous and long-term approach to disease management, as well as a continuous commitment to updating and learning about the latest advancements.
This effort to stay at the forefront of my specialty, while providing compassionate and personalized care to my patients, has been one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my career.
What aspect of our field excites you the most, Dr. Oseguera?
What excites me most about ophthalmology is the constant innovation and the direct impact we can have on our patients' quality of life. The ability to restore or improve vision, something so fundamental to the human experience, is deeply rewarding. I am particularly passionate about the field of glaucoma, a disease. The challenge it presents in terms of early diagnosis and long-term management motivates me to seek innovative and accessible solutions.
I am particularly excited about democratizing visual health with the integration of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology, into ophthalmic practice. These tools not only promise to improve the precision and effectiveness of our diagnoses and treatments but also have the potential to make eye care more accessible and personalized.
My work with Emuna Ophthalmo Tech, where we are developing AI-based solutions for glaucoma management, reflects this enthusiasm for combining patient care with technological innovation.
Could you share a case or experience from your early career years that impacted your approach to patient care?
One of the cases that marked a turning point in my ophthalmological perspective and my approach to patient care was that of a 40-year-old man who came to the clinic because he felt his glasses no longer provided the proper visual correction, especially when driving.
What appeared to be a routine consultation transformed into a moment of profound reflection when, after a detailed evaluation, we discovered he was suffering from advanced-stage glaucoma. The disbelief and bewilderment of the patient upon learning about his condition, without having experienced previous symptoms, resonated deeply with me.
This encounter made me reflect on the importance of sight and how it can drastically alter a person's life without warning. The idea that someone could go from seemingly normal vision to facing surgical intervention and the risk of significant visual loss within a few years is truly terrifying.
This case was a turning point in my career, driving me to focus not only on glaucoma treatment but also on the importance of early detection strategies. It motivated me to seek screening methods that are quick, comfortable, accessible, and most importantly, within everyone's reach, aiming to prevent more people from experiencing the devastating impact of a late diagnosis.
The commitment to the prevention and early detection of glaucoma has become one of the cornerstones of my ophthalmological practice and an area in which I continue to passionately seek innovation and improvement.
How do you stay up to date with the latest advancements in Ophthalmology?
Staying at the forefront of ophthalmology is an exciting challenge that requires a constant search for innovation and openness to new ideas. My experience upon arriving in Barcelona was enlightening in this regard; I attempted to promote the importance of image and patient databases and their integration with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Although there was initial resistance and little interest, I persevered, convinced that demonstrating the practical value of these innovations was essential. This early experience reinforced my belief in the need to be a pioneer and educator in adopting new technologies.
My strategy for staying updated transcends the traditional boundaries of ophthalmology. Participating in conferences and symposiums not only within my specialty but also in fields related to innovation, in general, has been key.
For example, exploring how technologies like 3D printing and blockchain could revolutionize ophthalmology has allowed me to conceive innovative solutions that could be applied in my practice. These interdisciplinary interactions foster a flow of ideas that can be extraordinarily fruitful for innovation in ophthalmology.
Furthermore, scientific reading and participation in active professional networks, spanning a wide range of disciplines, allow me to analyze problems from multiple perspectives and collaborate in generating innovative ideas.
I firmly believe true innovation arises from interdisciplinary collaboration and being constantly willing to learn and adapt, not only within our field but also by exploring and applying knowledge and technologies from other areas to eye care.
What emerging trends or technologies in Ophthalmology do you find intriguing? How will they shape the future of the field?
In the field of ophthalmology, several emerging trends and technologies promise to revolutionize the way we diagnose, treat, and understand eye diseases. AI has the potential to analyze large volumes of ocular image data with precision and speed that surpass human capabilities, which can lead to earlier and more personalized diagnoses.
Beyond AI, I envision a future where technology will allow unprecedented democratization of eye health. I imagine kiosks in pharmacies or shopping centers equipped with advanced technology capable of conducting quick and accurate eye screenings. This accessibility could enable anyone to get regular eye evaluations and, if necessary, be referred early to specialists for proper treatment, overcoming geographical and economic barriers that currently limit access to eye care.
I am convinced that the continuous integration and evolution of these technologies into ophthalmic practice are not only transforming our specialty in the present but are also laying the groundwork for future discoveries and advancements. This innovative approach will not only make eye care more precise and efficient but also more accessible and patient-centered, ensuring that visual health becomes a priority accessible to everyone, regardless of their location or economic situation.
This is the future I aspire to and am committed to actively contributing to.
Are you actively working on a project that involves any of these?
Yes, I am actively involved in several projects that incorporate emerging technologies in ophthalmology. One of the most notable is my work with Emuna Ophthalmo Tech, where we are developing innovative solutions for glaucoma management using blockchain technology and AI-based decision support.
This project seeks not only to improve accuracy and efficiency in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma but also to increase the security and accessibility of ocular medical records, facilitating more integrated and personalized eye care.
In addition to this project, I am exploring the use of kiosks equipped with advanced technology to conduct eye screenings in public places, such as pharmacies and shopping centers. This approach has the potential to democratize eye health, allowing regular and accessible eye evaluations for a broad segment of the population and ensuring early referrals to specialists when necessary.
These projects reflect my commitment to integrating emerging technologies in ophthalmology to not only advance clinical practice but also make eye care more accessible and patient-centered. I am convinced that these initiatives will be fundamental in shaping the future of our specialty, making vision care more inclusive and effective.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life in a field known for its demanding schedules?
For me, the key to maintaining a healthy balance between my professional and personal life lies in my passion for my work and the constant reminder of why I enjoy what I do. Every day, I strive to remember the love and dedication I have for ophthalmology, which naturally leads me to a state of satisfaction and commitment to my profession.
In moments when certain aspects of my work, such as a schedule or project, begin to weigh on me, I give myself permission to pause and reassess. This reflection allows me to refocus on what truly motivates and excites me, ensuring that my professional practice remains a source of joy and not stress.
The support of my family is another fundamental pillar in my life. Their understanding, love, and unconditional support are essential for my well-being. Knowing that I have their backing allows me to face the challenges of my career with confidence and serenity. This familial support not only enriches me personally but also fuels my success and satisfaction professionally.
What advice would you offer to other young ophthalmologists navigating their early career years?
One of the most crucial aspects I've learned in my career, and often overlooked, is the importance of truly empathizing with the patient. Beyond a cliché, genuinely putting yourself in the patient's shoes, understanding their experience, fears, and the real implications of their disease in their daily life, is fundamental.
Reflecting on how something as seemingly simple as administering multiple eye drops can affect their routine, or considering the repercussions of surgery on their day-to-day life, allows us not only to better understand their situation but also to make more informed and compassionate decisions.
This deep empathy not only makes us better ophthalmologists from a clinical standpoint but also enriches our practice with an essential human dimension. With each patient and case, this perspective invites us to engage more and grow not only as professionals but as individuals.
Furthermore, an attitude of constant learning is vital. Ophthalmology, with its fast pace of innovations and advancements, demands that we are always in the process of updating and growing. This commitment to learning not only allows us to offer the best treatment options to our patients but also keeps our passion for the specialty alive.
Patience and perseverance are virtues that are cultivated over time and tested daily in our practice. Each challenge and each patient offer us the opportunity to practice these qualities, reminding us that the path to becoming a distinguished ophthalmologist is a continuous journey of personal and professional growth.
My advice for young ophthalmologists would be to embrace these principles: empathy towards the patient, commitment to continuous learning, and patience and perseverance in their practice. These elements will not only contribute to their professional success but will also provide them with satisfaction and richness in their career that goes beyond clinical achievements.
What role can mentorship play in the professional development of young ophthalmologists? Have you had mentors who were particularly impactful in your trajectory?
Mentorship plays a crucial role in the professional development of young ophthalmologists, acting as a catalyst for their growth, learning, and success in the field. Mentors not only provide clinical and surgical guidance but also offer wisdom in navigating professional challenges, work-life balance, and ethical decision-making. A good mentor can inspire, motivate, and open doors to opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.
I have been fortunate to have exceptional mentors in my career, who not only guided me through the technical complexities of ophthalmology but also taught me the value of empathy with patients, the importance of continuous innovation, and the art of perseverance in medical practice. These lessons have been fundamental to my development as an ophthalmologist and as a person.
One of my most influential mentors was during my residency, Dr. Tiosano, who taught me to approach each case with an open mind and a compassionate heart, always reminding me that behind every diagnosis is a human story. This approach has deeply shaped my practice and my relationship with patients.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
At this point in our conversation, I would like to take the opportunity to emphasize the importance of resilience and adaptability in ophthalmology. Our specialty is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be demanding and sometimes overwhelming due to its constant evolution and the inherent challenges in caring for one of the most critical senses of the human being: sight.
For young ophthalmologists, my advice is to embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, because it is through errors that we often find our most valuable lessons. Always maintain a learning attitude, be open to new ideas and technologies, and actively seek opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills.
Additionally, I want to highlight the importance of collaboration and community in our profession. Participating in courses, attending conferences, and being part of ophthalmological societies not only enriches our clinical practice but also provides us with a support network of colleagues who can become friends and mentors. These connections are invaluable, offering diverse perspectives, support in times of doubt, and celebration of our successes.
Finally, never underestimate the impact you can have on your patients' lives. Ophthalmology offers us the unique opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life of individuals, and this is a gift that we must handle with care, empathy, and dedication.
Interviewed by Atanas Bogoev, MD.