Daniele Aron Rosa
Friday, April 25, 2008
Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Daniele Aron Rosa was honored by the
Department of Ophthalmology of the University
of Tennessee as the
seventh Ridley Medal professor on April 16, 2008. Two other members of the Biosyntrx
team have been so honored in years past: Dr. Spencer Thornton and Dr. Randall
The Sir Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professorship for Creativity and Innovation in Ophthalmology was created in 2001 by Dr. Jerre Freeman, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, also a member of the Biosyntrx Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Aron Rosa is the inventor of the neodymium pulsed YAG Laser and world-renowned expert on Laser technology and its human application. The YAG Laser is used to open the opacified posterior capsule, a common occurrence following cataract extraction. Use of the YAG laser prevents the necessity of incisions or anesthesia for this surgery and avoids the possibility of infection or allergic reactions.
The Ridley Professorship is the latest of many honors that have been accorded Dr. Aron Rosa. She is a Laureate of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a member of the Ophthalmology Hall of Fame of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and a member of the French Legion of Honor. She has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors for contributions to ophthalmology.
Her University of Tennessee Sir Harold Ridley lecture, titled “Creativity and Innovation in Ophthalmology,” focused on the development of modern cataract surgery, the development of phaco-emulsification, and the development of lasers for human use, including the YAG laser and Lasik.
She pointed out that, as was the case with Sir Harold Ridley in the development of the intra-ocular lens and Charles Kelman in his development of the phaco emulsification technique, innovators are frequently criticized and isolated by those who refuse to acknowledge the value of new technology. She stated that she was not a genius, but simply a hard worker who believed in the validity of her invention. Time proved her right. The YAG laser has found varied applications, including iridectomies, removal of scar tissue, cutting of vitreous strands and traction bands as well as posterior capsulotomy.
Determination of the ideal pulse width took many months of research and experimentation in the 1970s. She worked with various pulse widths (nano and picosecond) and wavelengths, concluding that infrared was the desired wavelength, between 1000 and 1064 nm. This is a zone of zero absorption in water and pigment tissue and hemoglobin. She demanded a solid state laser, easy to manipulate, requiring little maintenance.
Working alone in a small room at Trousseaau Hospital in Paris to prevent discovery until her work was complete and proven, she had to demonstrate to herself and her detractors that the idea of cutting tissue inside the eye was feasible without causing thermal damage or swelling of surrounding tissue or acute elevation of the intraocular pressure.
presentation of her technology in Paris
in 1979 was met with criticism and scorn. Only after performing more than 400
cases referred to her from other countries, and recognition by her colleagues
in the United States,
did her detractors finally have to admit that this was indeed a major advance.
With more than two years' follow-up, microscopy and electron microscopy proved
the total safety of the procedure, with nearly no thermal effect, and no
long-term problems. Now, more than 30 years later, her original prototype
machine still works beautifully. Her presentation of her work to the Paris
Society of Ophthalmology resulted in her being accused of falsifying her
results and was banned from the Society. Later, at the ASCRS Film Festival, the
film of her procedure won the Grand Prize, and her presentation before the
American Society won her a standing ovation.
her lecture with several observations regarding creativity and innovation:
- 1st. Never give up if you
believe in your idea.
- 2nd. Accept the fact that bureaucracy may discourage even the best of inventors.
- 3rd. Develop interests outside your field, both to provide
distraction and an outlet for your creativity.
Ophthalmology, particularly in the area of anterior segment and retinal surgery has been enriched by her work. Successful women in medicine and research worldwide stand partially or wholly on her shoulders and the shoulders of other women who worked so hard to have their brilllance and contributions recognized.
The Biosyntrx founders, staff and scientific advisory board extend our congratulations and
gratitude to Dr. Aron Rosa.
Ellen Troyer, MT MA
Biosyntrx Chief Research Officer