Meet a Specialist: Peter B. Veldman, M.D.
Dr. Peter Veldman is a member of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear and a highly trained surgeon with a special focus in lamellar, or partial thickness, corneal transplantation procedures. The most advanced of these partial thickness techniques, Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) , provides patients with faster and better visual recovery with a lower risk of rejection than any prior form of corneal transplantation, including its partial thickness predecessor, Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). Dr. Veldman is one of only a handful of ophthalmologists on the East Coast with extensive experience in DMEK surgery.
Dr. Veldman treats patients with a wide range of corneal diseases, including Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy, bullous keratopathy, keratoconus, post-LASIK ectasia, corneal scarring, stromal dystrophies, corneal infections and cataracts. He offers multiple forms of partial thickness corneal transplantation procedures, including DMEK, DSAEK and Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratectomy (DALK), as well as full thickness Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK). By offering a wide array of corneal transplantation options, Dr. Veldman is able to perform the procedure that most directly addresses his patients’ disease without sacrificing otherwise healthy and beneficial corneal tissue.
“Corneal surgery has undergone a transformation over the last 10 to 15 years,” comments Dr. Veldman. “Previously we offered only full thickness corneal transplants. Since that time, techniques have advanced to the point where we can selectively replace as little as the inner 1 percent of the cornea with a DMEK or a DSAEK.”
Dr. Veldman has found that his patients are quick to understand the benefits of partial thickness corneal surgery. “If you have a leaky heart valve, your surgeon most often replaces that valve rather than transplanting your entire heart,” he notes. “There is tremendous benefit to fixing what is broken without sacrificing what is functioning normally, both in and outside of surgery.”
Due to the many advantages of partial thickness corneal transplantation, particularly DMEK, Dr. Veldman is developing a teaching program that will allow surgeons to observe this procedure, shadow in the clinic, and learn the essential techniques in a surgical training facility. And while currently DMEK has not been widely adopted, Dr. Veldman predicts that DMEK will soon become the standard-of-care for many indications of endothelial keratoplasty, including diseases such as Fuchs’ dystrophy, bullous keratopathy and even failed prior PK and DSAEK. This prediction is in part based on some of his research, which demonstrates that adding a mark to the DMEK graft at the eye bank improves the success rate of the surgery. This new preparation technique has made DMEK surgery safer and is being adopted by surgeons around the country as they seek to offer this exciting procedure to their patients.
For Dr. Veldman, becoming a doctor has been a goal from an early age, initially fostered by his grandfather—a general surgeon at a regional Indiana hospital for over 50 years. “My grandfather took me on hospital rounds with him from a very young age, and when I was 11, he took me into the OR for the first time. He’s was a bit of an idol for me and certainly the single person most responsible for my interest in medicine,” Dr. Veldman recounts.
On the road to a career in Ophthalmology, Dr. Veldman completed both his undergraduate and medical school studies at the University of Pennsylvania and his ophthalmology residency at Harvard Medical School. Following residency he served an additional year as Chief Resident and Director of the Eye Trauma Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. He then completed a one year corneal surgery fellowship at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon, where he trained under Drs. Mark Terry and Michael Straiko.
“My number one priority is to be able to offer the very best treatment for each of my patients,” notes Dr. Veldman. “I try to fully explain everything, so that patient understand their options and get answers to all of their questions. That knowledge then empowers them to decide how they want to proceed. I can’t think of any setting better than Mass. Eye and Ear to do exactly that.”
Dr. Veldman practices at three locations: Mass. Eye and Ear, Longwood, located at 800 Huntington Avenue in Boston; Mass. Eye and Ear’s main campus, located at 243 Charles Street, and; Mass Eye and Ear, Stoneham located at One Montvale Ave. He also serves as Associate Director of the Harvard Ophthalmology Residency Training Program.
Contact Dr. Veldman’s office at 617-573-3938 (main campus); 617-573-3202 (Mass. Eye and Ear, Longwood), or; 781-279-4418 (Mass. Eye and Ear, Stoneham).
View Dr. Veldman’s online bio for more information.
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