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Three generations of ophtalmic dedication at the Brazilian Sadalla Amin Ghanem Eye Hospital

by OPHTEC on 10 January 2017

Brazil isn’t just about the immense Olympic Games, the seemingly endless Amazon river, or eternal promises of amazing summers. In the small city of Joinville (in the south of this immense country), the Sadalla Amin Ghanem Eye Hospital saw the light in 1942. Over the years, it has developed into a thriving family owned business that breathes dedication and passion - towards patients, towards ophthalmology, and towards maintaining and strengthening family bonds within three generations. In their shared aim for even better eye care, the Ghanem family experienced a full circle moment when Vinícius Ghanem had Artisan lenses implanted in his own eyes, by his father.

Vinícius Amin Ghanem is the grandson of the visionary founder of the hospital. Ghanem: ‘My grandfather was an otolaryngologist and ophthalmologist who decided to start a small clinic to accommodate his polysyllabic dreams ambitions. In 1972, my father joined the clinic, as did my mother. The three of them created the first ophthalmologic group of our state; a group that has grown and developed ever since. Today, our family owns an eye hospital of 10,000 m2 that employs more than 30 full time, fully specialized ophthalmologists. The number of employees totals around three hundred, and we perform more than 1,300 surgeries each month. We use the whole line of Artisan and Artiflex lenses, including the Artisan for aphakia. I’ve been working at the hospital for 15 years now. My parents still work at the hospital, and the ophthalmic virus has spread to my brother and sister-in-law as well. I hope my two small sons will follow the tradition. They are 1 and 3-years-old now. Let’s see what the future brings’.

Working together as a family - what good can come from that? Ghanem: ‘Working together as a family is truly fantastic! We are a very close-knit family that obviously gets on very well together. I am very dedicated to my family, and to the hospital. We always discuss the difficult cases together, and with our ophthalmologists at the hospital. It is wonderful to have this kind of support and dedication but it would have been almost impossible not living the life I live now. I grew up hearing my parents talk about their patients and treatments and about how wonderful it is to help people see again or see better. Actually, I haven’t ever thought of doing anything besides ophthalmology. That was actually good, because when I went to medical school I was already focusing on being an ophthalmologist. That focus put me some steps ahead of many others.’

Like father, like son
Seen in the light of previous revelations, Ghanem’s specialty is not very special, but brims with passion nonetheless: ‘My specialty lies in refractive surgery including phakic lenses, cataract and cornea. We have the Schwind Amaris 1050 Hertz equipped with the best technology available. We have implanted hundreds of multifocal IOLs each year ever since they first arrived in Brazil in 2005. I chose this specialty because my father does the same thing, and right from the beginning I loved it. We really can help people to see better in a question of minutes.’

The stuff legends are made of
The ultimate proof of trust must be to have a family member meddle with your eyes. Legends could be written about that fact. Actually, they probably were but for now, let’s stick to the facts with a first-hand story. Ghanem: ‘About 2 and half years ago, I decided to have Artisan lenses implanted in my own eyes. I’d been using contact lenses for 25 years, and I was ready for a permanent alternative. As an ophthalmologist, the importance of vision is something occupying most of your professional life. So before I decided to have the Artisan lenses implanted in my eyes, I studied all literature I could lay my hands on – not because of lack of trust but because I wanted to be absolutely certain about my choice. I had 9 degrees of myopia, and I knew that the Artisan lens would give me a better quality of vision than laser refractive surgery. But maybe there were innovations that I had failed to notice somehow. There weren’t. And besides: how much proof do you need when your own father has learned how to perform the surgery from Jan Worst in 1997? Exactly. Moreover, it would have been strange to neglect the fact that I myself had been implanting the lenses with confidence since 2002 (with no explants to date). And of course, the design had already stood the test of time. This classic has been used for the last thirty years with hardly any design changes. How much proof does one need!’

'The next day I was able to see without thick glasses or contact lenses: a truly amazing experience’

No ripples
‘The procedure itself was not worth mentioning – I was very calm and everything went by without the slightest ripple or discomfort. What is worth mentioning though, are the results. The following day already proved wonderful because I was able to see without thick glasses or contact lenses: a truly amazing experience. Moreover, my vision improved in the days that followed as the astigmatism improved. My corrected vision was 20/25 before surgery and now is 20/15 without correction. Fantastic! I did experience some glare for about a month, but that slight discomfort subsided. (Just to make it clear: I have no financial interest in this technology.)’


‘Of course, the fact that my father would perform the procedure was truly unique. I knew that his responsibility would be immense, but I trusted him. I am sure that it is not easy to operate on your own son. Today, having experienced the patient position makes me feel even more confident about using Artisan lenses. And I notice that my experience helps my patients as well – I can describe everything vividly, from the procedure itself to the initial glare, to the amazing feeling of having (re)gained your vision, especially if you suffer from high myopia. My message has become more relevant and genuine, and probably adds to the experience we offer to our patients as a whole.’

by: Marij Thiecke

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