Dr. DellaVecchia, fellow and trustee of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, is an ophthalmologic surgeon. That means, if you’re running with scissors or doing any one of a number things you were told not to do as a child, he’ll do his best to fix you up if something goes wrong. And things often go very wrong!
If you need a new lens or cornea, there’s a good chance you’ll wind up talking to this guy. Your cornea is the special tissue at the front of your eye, which, along with the lens, provides your eye’s focusing power.If it’s damaged, a surgeon like Dr. DellaVecchia can actually cut it out, and suture a replacement cornea in it’s place! The following is one of the least graphic images of eye surgery he showed us that day. You can see the front portion of the cornea removed, with the apparatus used to stabilize the eye during surgery.
..other surgical procedures aren’t so easy to watch. (Do an image search for “eyeball sutures” to see some amazing/terrifying images for yourself):
For a more hands-on approach to ophthalmology, we got some eyes of our own! Marcy Engelman, the educator for the Mütter Museum, helped us get a sense for how the eye’s structure relates to its function. We used cow eyes, which are structurally very similar to human eyes. Here you can see Danielle taking a photo of her eye so she can document her process.
To get a better look at the anatomy of the eye itself, first you have to remove a lot of the fat and muscle tissue which holds the eye in place and allows it to move around. No simple task!
For a more intimate look at the process, check out this video! Marcy is helping Naminata examine the eye more precisely.
Heartfelt thanks again to Dr. DellaVecchia for sharing his time and expertise with some aspiring young healthcare professionals!