Protecting Sight #145: Simplifying complexity. Rotary chop, tiny pupils, fibrotic membranes, CCT, and OHTS. Leonardo and the Science of Art.

Welcome to my daily learning journal. My daily goal is to watch one Ted Talk and one cataract surgery. I also plan to read one journal article and read/listen to a book chapter, short story or significant work.

Here’s today’s list:

1. Ted Talk – Eric Berlow: Simplifying complexity. “Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn’t feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution. Illustrating the tips and tricks for breaking down big issues, he distills an overwhelming infographic on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to a few elementary points.” (

This Ted Talk is less than 4 minutes and simplifies a complex subject. (But I probably need to watch again!)

2A. Cataract Surgery – Dr. Cristos Ifantides – Rotary Chop: A New Way to Learn Phaco Chop. “In this 1-Minute Video, Dr. Cristos Ifantides describes a new technique, dubbed “rotary chop,” to master phaco chop. Rotary chop involves partial-thickness pilot holes, created by the phacoemulsification tip around the periphery of the nucleus, to produce a rotary-phone dial appearance on the surface of the cataract. Using the pilot holes, the surgeon is able to place the chopper deep into the body of the nucleus, avoiding both the need to apply vertical force to the nucleus and zonular stress. Young surgeons can use this technique during routine cataract surgery to quickly master the movements needed for both vertical and horizontal chop. This video was awarded second place in the 2020 YO Video Competition.” Amazing technique.

2B. Uday Devgan MD – tiny pupil and fibrotic membrane. Dr. Devgan writes in part, “This is a very tough case for this senior resident. The patient has a history of chronic uveitis, which has been relatively quiescent for the past few months, combined mechanism glaucoma which required a seton drainage device, and now a dense posterior subscapsular cataract which is hidden behind a small pupil which has extensive synechiae and is covered by a fibrotic membrane.” Brave! I would have used a Malyugin Ring!!

Issue cover for Volume 127, Issue 4

3A. Journal – A Transformative Concept: Central Corneal Thickness. Eve Juliet Higginbotham. Ophthalmology April 2020. S70-71.

3B. Central Corneal Thickness in the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS). James D. Brandt, Julia A. Beiser, Michael A. Kass, Mae O. Gordon, and the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) Group. Ophthalmology April 2020. S72-S81.

The cranial nerves
The cranial nerves c.1508 (Royal Collection Trust)

4. Book Chapter – Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Chapter 17, “The Science of Art.” Love the optics review (which took me back to ophtho board exams!)

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