Being awarded would greatly assist the possibility to continue my research along with my clinical work!
Eszter Szalai, MD, PhD, holds the position of the Assistant Professor at the University of Pécs, Department of Ophthalmology. She has published over 60 scientific papers in major peer-reviewed journals. Her research field is pathophysiology and diagnosis of corneal and ocular surface disorders with a focus on modern imaging techniques of the anterior segment of the eye. She has conducted basic and clinical research in the field of ophthalmology. She has studied newly developed diagnostic modalities in various eye diseases, such as optical coherence tomography, Scheimpflug imaging, ultrasound, in vivo confocal microscopy and recent biometry devices. More recently, she has performed investigations in ocular oncology with special interest in diagnosing and treating of ocular surface tumours.
She was made a nominee for a study, the first of its kind, which compares the performance of eight intraocular lens calculation formulas (vergence, artificial intelligence and combined formulas) when using a recently developed high-resolution multimodal imaging device (swept source optical coherence tomography). Being a young academician, the nomination is a significant recognition of both her clinical work and research.
Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgical procedure worldwide with an over 95% success rate. The success of the procedure and patient satisfaction depends on the preoperative planning of the implanted intraocular lens. Our results indicate that the tested multimodal swept source optical coherence tomography provides accurate ocular biometry measurements before cataract surgery and its built-in software enables precise calculation of intraocular lens refractive power. We also concluded that the Haigis formula provided accurate intraocular lens calculations. Artificial intelligence-based formulas showed an overall better performance than traditional vergence formulas. Accurate preoperative calculation of the intraocular lens is one of the most important determinants of surgical outcome and patient satisfaction. Knowing the best diagnostic device and the most reliable intraocular lens calculation algorithm is of great importance in order to minimize the refractive surprises after cataract surgery.
Dr. Szalai enjoys research very much and it gives her long-term job satisfaction. Her interest in eye research began when she was a medical student. This led to her first accepted peer-reviewed article (Szalai E, Németh G, Berta A, Módis Jr L. Evaluation of the corneal endothelium using noncontact and contact specular microscopy. Cornea 2011;30:567-570).
However, she lives and works in Hungary where there are limited financial resources for research. Although the institution she works at is supportive of her research activity, awards both for recognition of research and financial awards would greatly assist her ability to continue research along with her clinical work.
While obtaining personal enjoyment from the clinical work (seeing and treating patients with anterior and posterior segment diseases, including neuroophthalmological and malignant disorders), she finds that from the professional point of view, research and peer-reviewed publications give her both a greater professional growth and enjoyment. She has to keep track of the continuous progress of ophthalmology. How is she coping with COVID-19 and the very limited possibilities of going to congresses? She states that she has turned to online self-education.
Beside her work, Dr. Szalai is very devoted to her family whom she used to visit a lot. She is also a keen traveller. Both activities are now at a standstill for known reasons. However, COVID-19 has had no impact on running and hiking in the hills near Mecsek, Hungary, where she lives.