Here you can read about 3rd place winner Nan-Ji Lu's feelings and thoughts about 2023 Ophthalmology Star Awards!

Clinical Study Title: A new keratoconus staging system based on OCT

1. Congratulations on your third-place win at the Ophthalmology Star Awards. Can you share your thoughts on the importance of such awards in recognizing excellence in ophthalmic research?

As one of the important events during the ESCRS, the Ophthalmology Star Awards provide the opportunity to recognize the recent exciting publications and research.

2. Your research introduced a new staging system for keratoconus based on OCT technology. What inspired you to investigate this specific area in ophthalmology?

We need to admit that optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been the most important new developing technology and examination method in Ophthalmology area during the recent ten years. As an anterior segment and refractive surgery surgeon, during my PhD study following Prof. Carina Koppen, Prof. Farhad Hafezi, and Prof. Jos J. Rozema, we tried to use OCT to better manage keratoconus and facilitate our daily clinical practice.

 3. How do you envision this novel staging system improving the diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus, and what benefits might it bring to both clinicians and patients?

As we mentioned in our paper, compared to Scheimpflug-based tomography and Placido-based topography, OCT has a higher scan resolution and can uniquely provide the epithelium and stroma thickness profile. In the current staging system called STEP, the ‘ST’ stands for stroma overall thinnest thickness, which can directly help the clinicians for the choosing of cornea cross-linking (CXL) protocol; the ‘EP’ stands for epithelium overall standard deviation, which can describe the overall remodeling of epithelium caused by keratoconus. Existing studies showed that the epithelium profile can help the early-stage keratoconus diagnosis. Therefore, with the application of the STEP system, clinicians can better make early diagnosis of keratoconus, correctly assess the grade of the disease, and help them make the right choice of CXL protocols.

 4. Looking forward, do you have any upcoming research initiatives or areas of interest within the field of ophthalmology that you are excited about? Are there any future projects or developments you can share with us?

Applying OCT to the full course management of keratoconus will be our future work direction. At the same time, continuously developing new CXL protocols for keratoconus and applying photo activated chromophore for keratitis (PACK)-CXL at the slit lamp for timely treatment of infectious keratitis are also our future projects.