Pioneer of vitreoretinal surgery in Poland, Prof. Jerzy Nawrocki and world-famous American retinologist, Prof. Marco Zarbin, who has been cooperating with Polish ophthalmologists for many years, received Innovation Leaders' Patents. The statuettes were handed out remotely to both winners during a ceremonial session of the Association of Polish Ophthalmologists Surgeons (SCOP) on November 20. The outstanding retinologists for this award were nominated by the Chapter chaired by Prof. Robert Rejdak, President of the SCOP and composed of last year’s winners: Prof. Marek Rękas, national ophthalmologist consultant and Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, University of Tübingen.
Patents of Innovation Leaders were granted for the second time. This award is presented once a year by the Association of Polish Ophthalmologists Surgeons in cooperation with the Editorial Office of Innovation Leaders to the Polish and foreign scientific authorities for outstanding achievements in world ophthalmology.
In a solemn session consisting of two parts, first Prof. Jerzy Nawrocki and Prof. Marco Zarbin were honoured and lectures given by both laureates were listened to, and in the second part two substantive presentations were given by Prof. Zofia Nawrocka and Prof. Robert Rejdak.
– It is an online meeting with the legends of world ophthalmology – said Prof. Robert Rejdak, President of SCOP inaugurating the solemn session devoted to the awarding of Innovation Leaders Patents and briefly justified the decision of the Chapter.
Prof. Jerzy Nawrocki has made a huge contribution to the development of diagnostics and therapy of retinal diseases. He introduced many techniques of vitreoretinal surgery. He is, among others, the author of an innovative method of treatment of the macular hole, which consists in its closure with an inverted flake of the inner membrane. This is a technique of inverted petal ILM in the surgical treatment of macular orifices. This method has aroused great interest around the world and has become a standard in the treatment of this type of diseases. This concept is still used in other indications such as maculopathy, i.e. closing the developmental hole of the optic nerve disc with an ILM flap.
The Vice President of the Association of Polish Ophthalmologists Surgeons Prof. Marek Rękas, the national consultant for ophthalmology, presented Prof. Jerzy Nawrocki with the Patents of the Leaders of Innovation, said to the laureate – The ophthalmology community is very impressed with the achievements of the creator of Polish ophthalmology as regards vitrectomy. The development of the method of treatment of the macular hole, consisting in its closure with an inverted petal of the inner membrane, has already become an international success. Dear colleague, we are proud that you have convinced the world about this method of treating macular holes and other retinal diseases. As a national consultant, I have tried to emphasize this many times at my conventions during the autumn ophthalmology workshops, so these Innovation Leader Patents are an award that is a summary of these achievements in terms of my personal recognition, but also the ophthalmology community from SCOP. You have already won international awards many times and this collection is now joined by the Innovation Leaders' Patents. This assessment was also shared by the President of SCOP, Professor Robert Rejdak, who was the applicant for the award.
Thanking for this award, Professor Jerzy Nawrocki said – I am touched by this award, because I accept it from the hands of such distinguished colleagues with whom we have cooperated for many years. The recognition of the ophthalmology community is undoubtedly the most important distinction I have received in my life. I also perceive it as a distinction for my colleagues, because it is never the case that a person can do something alone. Basically, the whole work is made up of a team of people who participate in it, and in this case the most important role was played by my two Zofia, working with me scientifically, my wife Zofia Nawrocka and my daughter Zofia Anna Nawrocka, who will give the second part of the lecture on innovative surgical treatment of macular diseases.
Professor Jerzy Nawrocki’s lecture was preceded by this speech, in which the laureate recalled that macular diseases themselves are innovative because they have not been treated for decades in modern ophthalmology. It is only for the last 20-30 years that we can talk about the treatment of macular degeneration and these methods are being improved.
Professor Jerzy Nawrocki’s lecture included presentations of many difficult clinical cases and was illustrated with videos.
The second winner of the award was presented by Prof. Robert Rejdak, pointing to the worldwide achievements of the scientist. Prof. Marco Zarbin of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is a co-creator of telemedical systems in the USA and the most experienced practitioner in this field. He specializes primarily in the treatment of retinal diseases, but also has many achievements in gene therapy, hereditary diseases and eye injuries with innovative methods. He is a world-famous retinal surgeon.
The President of SCOP added that Professor Marco Zarbin has been working closely with the Polish ophthalmologist community for years, including the Military Medical Institute in Warsaw and the Lublin environment. He is a scholarship holder of the Fulbright Foundation in Lublin. Within the framework of the grant of this Foundation, together with Professor Robert Rejdak, head of the General Ophthalmology Clinic of the Lublin Medical University, he implements a scientific-research project using the most modern techniques based on telemedicine and artificial intelligence. He is also strongly involved in clinical research on new drugs in the treatment of macular diseases.
Thanking for the award, Professor Marco Zarbin emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity to cooperate with Polish ophthalmologists, whom he highly values for their achievements. Grant applications are being prepared, among others to ABM, which will strengthen Polish-American ties in the field of retinology, in which cooperation with Professor Robert Rejdak plays a key role.
At the end of the ceremonial SCOP session, Prof. Robert Rejdak gave a lecture on the treatment of eyeball injuries, in which he summarized the latest trends and strategies of surgical treatment in ophthalmic traumatology.
The session was attended by over 80 Polish ophthalmologists. An account of this event will be available on the website of the Association of Polish Ophthalmologists Surgeons.