Protecting Sight #151: To learn is to be free. Traumatic cataracts and glaucomatous macular damage. Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi and Mario Moore’s Edward Bouchet.

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 – Shameem Akhtar: To learn is to be free. “Shameem Akhtar posed as a boy during her early childhood in Pakistan so she could enjoy the privileges Pakistani girls are rarely afforded: to play outside and attend school. In an eye-opening, personal talk, Akhtar recounts how the opportunity to get an education altered the course of her life — and ultimately changed the culture of her village, where today every young girl goes to school.” (

Constantly inspired by Ted Talk speakers. And especially those who overcame great obstacles to pursue their dreams.

2. Uday Devgan MD – Finishing this case will be difficult. Dr. Devgan writes in part, “The reason why ophthalmologists need to perform at least 1,000 cataract surgeries until they are sufficiently up the learning curve, is because there are unusual issues that happen rarely. This is such a case, where the cataract surgery proceeds normally until it is time for cortex removal. Then we have a challenge where the capsular bag collapses and it becomes very difficult to remove the last bit of cortex. IOL insertion is also a challenge — why? What happened to this eye that we are facing such a challenge? And how can we successfully finish this surgery?” Well done.

3. Journal article – Hirji SH, Hood DC, Liebmann JM, Blumberg DM. Association of Patterns of Glaucomatous Macular Damage With Contrast Sensitivity and Facial Recognition in Patients With GlaucomaJAMA Ophthalmol. Published online November 05, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2020.4749. Good article.

4. Book Chapter – Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Chapter 22, “Paintings Lost and Found.” I love Isaacson’s explanation of the orb and optics.

5. In Conversation: Mario Moore. Hosted by Yale classmate Nicholas Roman Lewis ’93, this Artist Talk featured a conversation with painter Mario Moore ’13 MFA. “Dealing with issues of representation and the impact of Race on the Black body, Mario’s works are both intimate and powerful. Mario was most recently a recipient of the Princeton Hodder Fellowship and completed the commission of Yale’s first African American graduate, Edward Bouchet 1874 B.A., 1876 Ph.D., a noted scientist and educator.” A most enjoyable discussion and Yale will post session online in coming days/weeks.

I have admired Edward Bouchet since my college days. Bouchet’s portrait was installed in Sterling Library during my junior/senior year (around 1992/1993). I remember being astounded when the Yale News article reported Bouchet’s many “1sts.” At the time, he was considered to be the first African American to attend Yale, the first African American to earn a PhD in the country.

In the spring 2004, I stumbled upon an Edward Bouchet postcard at a Sunday morning auction. Bouchet was writing to a friend and described the old Yale alumni building which is now the site of Lanman-Wright Hall. The postcard is part of my Yale collections and digitized here.

6. #AAO2020 – AAO 2020 is upon us! The official launch is on Friday November 13. I’ll list the sessions I viewed and recommend below. Already watched one of the on-demand sessions:

SPO3.01 – Spotlight on Cataract: Complicated Phaco Cases – My Top 5 Pearls – Small Pupils – Rosa Braga-Mele MD.

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