American University of Beirut

  • History

    Initially, the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery were only one single department; then, some 44 years ago in 1960, the two parted. The Department of Ophthalmology capitalized fully on its independence and quickly became the innovator of many advances in the field not only in Lebanon, but also in the region.

    Since then, many major landmarks have occurred, below is a descriptive of a few:

    • In the early 60s, and for the first time in the Middle East, retinal detachment surgery (sclera buckling) took place at AUBMC.
    • In the early 70s, the use of laser to treat the retina of diabetic patients (1st krypton then argon and diode) was introduced.
    • In the mid-70s, glaucoma filtering surgery (trabeculectomy) was introduced and was the first in Lebanon and the region.
    • In the early 80s, the use of laser to treat glaucoma was initiated.
    • In 1986, AUBMC applied a modern way to perform cataract surgery and implant intraocular lenses.
    • In 1991, the move towards implanting glaucoma drainage tubes inside the eye started.
    • In 1992, the first professional "Eye Bank " was set up in the country: the only local member of the International Federation of Eye Banks.
    • In 1994, all types of lasers were acquired for the treatment of age related retinal degeneration.
    • In 1995, of the ocular electrophysiology laboratory for performing ERG, EOG, and VEP tests for children and adults who are poorly sighted were established.
    • In 2002, the first professional and scientific "Laser Vision Correction Center" in the country was inaugurated.
    • In 2002, the first "Low Vision Clinic" was established.
    • In 2004, First 25 Gauge Vitrectomy in the region 
    • In 2005, First intravitreal injection of medication in the Middle East 
    • In March 2010, the first DSAEK in Lebanon was performed
    • In 2010, the first endocyclophotocoagulation was used in Lebanon for management of glaucoma
    • In 2011, the first EVO ICL phakic intraocular lens was implanted in the Middle East
    • In November 2011, the first small aperture corneal inlays were placed in the Middle East 
    • In 2012, the first Retinoblastoma Program in Lebanon and the region was established in collaboration with the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN: accepting retinoblastoma patients of all nationalities, offering work-up, imaging (RetCam), treatment (only center in Lebanon providing thermotherapy), surgery, surveillance and genetic testing/ counseling
    • In 2014, Ziv-aflibercept was pioneered at AUBMC with more than 20 papers published on the subject. It is currently used worldwide to treat diabetic retinopathy or age related macular degeneration with significant decrease in cost. 
    • In January 2016, the first DMEK (Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty) was performed in the Middle East 
    • In June 2017, the first intraoperative OCT technology was introduced in the Middle East 
    • In June 2017, the first low energy laser Cataract surgery was performed in Lebanon and the region
    • In January 2017, the first sutureless scleral fixation of intraocular lens was performed in Lebanon and the region (first by glue technique and later by the haptics flanged technique) 
    • In April 2017, the first Customized laser and LASIK using ultra high definition ocular higher order aberration technology in Middle East was introduced
    • In 2018, the first Humanoptics artificial human iris was implanted in Lebanon
    • In 2018, the first Femtosecond assisted and OCT guided Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty was performed in the Middle East October 
    • In April 2019, the first non-penetrating sutureless artificial cornea was implanted in the Middle East
    • In 2019, the first Thyroid eye disease clinic was established: Multi-disciplinary clinic that deals with all aspects of management of thyroid orbitopathy and rehabilitation surgeries including advanced orbital decompression, Strabismus surgery and eyelid surgery.  
    • In 2019, the first Corneal Allogenic Intrastromal  ring segments (CAIRS) were inserted for Keratoconus in the Middle East and 3rd Center in the World 
    • In 2019, Advanced management of vascular malformations: First direct embolization and excision of orbital vascular malformation.

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