100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2016-2017 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Japanese Red Cross Gifu Hospital

Director of Ophthalmology
Takashi Kojima

Aichi Prefecture
Message to young people
While you are young, it is important to get involved in what attracts your interest with no regard for future profit or loss. I think it is good to always go ahead in your quest of knowledge.

I was attracted to microsurgery when I was young, so I chose ophthalmology when I was a medical student. I also think that ophthalmology is rewarding, as we can witness our patients’ joy when they get better eyesight.

As an ophthalmologist, I am specialized in the surface of the eye, which demonstrates the wonders of human body, as seen in corneal transparency and tear function.

After graduating from Nagoya University, I studied at the Graduate School of Medicine at Keio University under professor Kazuo Tsubota and I became interested in researching dry eye syndrome (DES). I also studied in the U.S. at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School in 2005 and at the University of Illinois in 2006.

Roughly speaking, 30 percent of Japanese office workers are suffering from DES. Patients are increasing along with the developing, and stressful, IT society. It is important to decrease stress as I met a high school student who lost tear function under the pressure of university entrance examinations. There are more than a few potential patients unaware of their syndrome. If left untreated, it could cause easily fatigued eyes and vision loss, posing an obstacle to work. Another factor contributing to DES is aging. Proper healthcare for dry eyes to address the rapidly graying society is being researched.

In April 2012, I was appointed as the director of ophthalmology at the Japanese Red Cross Gifu Hospital. I perform around 1,000 operations a year, including cataract removal and corneal transplants.

I also perform Lasik and Phakic IOLs surgeries at a clinic in Nagoya once a week. Although these treatments are not yet covered by national health insurance, I am working to promote them. Phakic IOLs are clear implantable lenses that are surgically placed in the eye. Under a recognition system established by the lens manufacturer and medical specialists, only certified ophthalmologists perform Phakic IOLs surgeries. As one of the experts in Japan, I have been serving as an instructor both in Japan and abroad.

From time to time, I visit China and Mongolia to offer training, as well as perform surgeries. Additionally, I have treated patients from other Asian countries that wanted to get cutting-edge eye surgeries via medical tourism in recent years. As for DES, Japan has become one of the advanced countries in terms of eye-drops and examinations. A great deal of research has come out of Japan in this field. Additionally, Japan boasts high-quality Phakic IOLs surgery thanks to the recognition system. There are around 200 certificated ophthalmologists in Japan. In general, Japanese doctors are skilled with their hands at operations, partly because of their loyalty and craftsmanship.

In addition to daily physical examinations and operations, I have responded to questions on eye problems through the "Click eye counseling room," a free website open to the public since 2005. There have been more than 4,000 wide-ranging questions from those who have yet to see an ophthalmologist, are drowning in a sea of information, or are living in a remote location. In September, selected questions and answers were published in a book. From simple questions to serious anxieties about treatment, the book has brought together my achievements so far.

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Japanese Red Cross Gifu Hospital
General hospital