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Department of Ophthalmology Protective care for Sensory Disorders Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine

The Department of Ophthalmology of the Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine was established in 1882. The goals of the Department of Ophthalmology from the beginning have been threefold; the treatment of patients with the newest therapeutic procedures, the training of new ophthalmologists and retraining of older ophthalmologists, and the performance of research to advance the understanding of the visual system.

During the 130 years, tens of thousands of patients have been examined and successfully treated both surgically and medically. Several new ocular diseases have been identified by faculty members, and new treatment protocols have been developed and introduced to ophthalmologists worldwide. A very important accomplishment of the Department of Ophthalmology has been the training of hundreds of ophthalmologists and eye surgeons. These Nagoya University-trained ophthalmologists have brought expert ophthalmic care to patients throughout Japan.

The current Professor of the Department of Ophthalmology is Dr. Hiroko Terasaki. Professor Terasaki received her medical and ophthalmological training at the Medical School of Nagoya University under the tutorship of emeritus Professors Hiroshi Ichikawa, Shinobu Awaya, and Yozo Miyake. She was also trained at the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, MA under the guidance of Professor Tatsuo Hirose.

At present, the Department of Ophthalmology has 13 full time faculty members, and 10 adjunct faculty members. There are 26 post graduate students, and 10 ophthalmic technicians.

The department specializes in vitreoretinal surgeries, such as diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, macular hole, premacular membrane, and retinopathy of prematurity. Professor Terasaki was a pioneer in perfecting macular translocation surgery, and has been a frequent invited speaker at International Ophthalmological Conferences where she presented her techniques and experiences in retinal surgery.

High quality innovative vitreoretinal surgeries are performed daily on many patients. Other more routine surgeries for cataracts, glaucoma, cornea, strabismus, and pediatric eye diseases are also performed daily. At present, the annual number of first-visit patients is about 3,400, and the annual total number of revisit examinations is about 46,000. The annual total number of surgeries is about 1500, of which 750 surgeries are for vitreoretinal diseases, the highest number among the National Universities in Japan.

Advanced, high-quality treatments for age-related macular degeneration are performed in the Department of Ophthalmology. The annual number of patients treated by intravitreal drug injections is about 1600. In addition, new drug therapies including molecular targeted drugs such as anti-VEGF antibodies are being used to treat several kinds of retinal diseases that were considered untreatable not too long ago.

One of the goals of the Department of Ophthalmology is to develop and perform procedures that will obtain information about the pathophysiology of macular diseases. To accomplish this, members of the department are conducting both clinical and laboratory studies on macular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, central serous chorioretinopathy, and high myopia. We have the newest instruments that allow us to perform advanced optical coherence tomography and adaptive optics studies. Information from these devices is used not only to make accurate diagnosis but also to determine the effectiveness of treatments being performed.

Our Department of Ophthalmology is a leading center for electrophysiological studies of inherited retinal diseases worldwide. We are continuing with the new electrophysiological examination protocols developed by Emeritus Professor Miyake. These protocols have made it possible to discover new diseases and monitor the course of many inherited retinal diseases.

These studies have continued under Professor Terasaki to evaluate the effect of medical and surgical treatments for retinal diseases using focal macular electroretinograms and full-field electroretinograms.

In 2009, Dr. Mineo Kondo and Professor Terasaki created the first transgenic rabbit carrying a mutation of the rhodopsin gene. Many experiments have been performed on this transgenic rabbit in our laboratory and in other laboratories worldwide. The findings on this model have led to a greater understanding of the pathophysiology of Retinitis Pigmentosa.

The goal of the research in the Molecular & Cell Biology section is to determine the molecular basis of chorioretinal diseases. Our research targets are the degenerative retinal and retinal pigment epithelial diseases. In addition, experiments are being performed on ocular angiogenesis.

We can conclude that the Department of Ophthalmology of the Nagoya University, Graduate School of Medicine has continued to fulfill its goals of treating all patients, teaching new ophthalmologists, and discovering new treatments and diseases. Although new surgical procedures and instruments are continuing to be developed, we can be sure that our Department will be at the forefront in implementing these new procedures.