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Spotlight Interview with Anat Loewenstein

Authors: Anat Loewenstein, Tel Aviv University, Israel

The next interview in our The Ophthalmologist Power List series is our Editorial Board member Professor Anat Lowenstein. Prof Loewenstein of Tel Aviv University, Israel, was named one of the emerging leaders in the 2019 Power List. In this short interview, Prof Loewenstein shares her motivations, career highlights and the recent advances that excite her.

Q: What motivated you to become an ophthalmologist?
Ophthalmology is a profession in which you can really help your patients in a timely, efficient manner. It was this fact that made me want to become an ophthalmologist. I realised that this was a field with huge potential for innovations in the future, providing endless opportunities for me to help patients on the one hand, and for myself to develop enthusiastically on the other.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?
My career in general is very rewarding, so it is difficult to pinpoint which bit stands out above the rest. I think that being able to contribute to breakthrough developments, such as bevacizumab’s lack of toxicity to the retina, technology for the early detection of macular degeneration, and slow-release devices has been an important rewarding aspect. In addition, the ability to mentor young retina specialists from my country and from other countries is a very satisfying part of my professional life.

Q: What developments are you most excited to hear about in 2019/2020?
I am really excited about the development of slow-release devices and long-acting drugs that will make treatment of our patients more feasible and successful. I am also excited about the use of artificial intelligence for the screening and monitoring of our patients, for example with in-home optical coherence tomography. We are developing a disruptive technology to replace the surgical microscope by a digital platform which I anticipate to be a game changer in the field of retina surgery.

Support: No support was received for the publication of this Insight article.

Published: 2 July 2019

Author profile:
Anat Loewenstein, MD, Full Professor of Ophthalmology, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Sidney Fox Chair of Ophthalmology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at the Tel Aviv University, and the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Tel Aviv Medical Center.

Dr Loewenstein studied medicine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and following that, spent 4 years in the Israeli Navy, serving as a physician officer at the Navy’s Headquarters. She completed residency in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Tel Aviv, and a fellowship in retina vascular diseases and vitreoretina surgery unit at the Wilmer Institute, at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She then returned to Israel and after 2 years as the Head of the Vitreoretina Unit, became the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Tel Aviv Medical Center. Dr Lowenstein has also completed a Master of Health Administration degree at the Tel Aviv University Business School.

Her main field of interest is the investigation of the drug toxicity to the retina. In addition, she is involved in the development of multiple innovative efforts, was the leader behind the development of novel technology for early detection of macular degeneration, and recently, the development of automated technology for detection of retinal disease activity and the development of augmented virtual reality to replace the operating microscope.

Dr Lowenstein has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and contributed multiple chapters to ophthalmology textbooks. She has multiple roles in the most prominent retina societies (previously as the international representative in the ASRS, and international representative in the Macula Society; and currently, serves on the International committee of the macula society and is currently the General Secretary of the EURETINA). Dr Lowenstein is active at most international retina meetings as a delegate and an invited speaker. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Case Reports in Ophthalmology, and is an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Ophthalmology and of Ophthalmologica. In Israel, Dr Lowenstein has served as the Chairman of the Israeli Board of Ophthalmology, and currently serves as the chair of the Ministry of Health’s ethics committee and is a member of the National Council of Surgery and anaesthesia. She has received multiple international awards, including the “Rosenthal” award, and the Patz medal of the Macula Society, as well as most recently, the Michelson Award of the Macula Society, and the Silver Fellow Medal of ARVO.

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