Meet a Specialist: Ryan Vasan, MD

Dr. Ryan VasanDr. Ryan Vasan was a third-year medical student at Wake Forest University when he discovered his deep-rooted passion for ophthalmology. For Dr. Vasan, ophthalmology offered a unique opportunity to provide rapid and often life-changing results for patients with ocular conditions. “As a medical student, I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t want to go into ophthalmology,” he said. 

Pursuing his interest, Dr. Vasan completed an ophthalmology residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College. Next, he completed a joint fellowship in Cornea and Tissue Banking at North Carolina Eye Bank (now Miracles in Sight Eye Bank) and Cornea and External Disease at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. 

Today, Dr. Vasan is a member of the Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, where he treats the full range of eye conditions. “I do a little of everything – from performing routine exams and cataract surgeries to providing follow-up care for patients with diabetic retinopathy,” he explained. “It’s exciting to provide care for so many different people,” he added.

Throughout his career, Dr. Vasan has helped many patients, but one patient made a lasting impression. After undergoing several unsuccessful corneal transplants, an older man with very low vision came to see Dr. Vasan. “When I first met with the patient, he said, ‘I just want to be able to see my granddaughter,’” Dr. Vasan recalled.

Dr. Vasan was confident that the patient’s vision could be improved by implanting an artificial cornea called the Boston Keratoprosthesis (KPro). Developed by one of Mass. Eye and Ear’s leading clinician scientists, Claes H. Dohlman, MD, PhD, the Boston KPro was designed for patients who have corneal conditions that are difficult to treat and is now the most widely used artificial cornea in the world.

After the successful surgery, the patient was able to see his granddaughter clearly for the first time. “He was incredibly happy,” said Dr. Vasan. “It’s a moment I’ll always remember.” 

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Vasan enjoys collaborating with his colleagues on research projects. Previously, he studied various corneal transplantation techniques, including partial thickness techniques that replace only the innermost portion of the cornea. Currently, he is interested in conducting research that can enhance ophthalmology residents’ education, particularly their surgical training experience.

As one who benefited greatly from his mentors during his medical training, Dr. Vasan knows the value of quality mentoring relationships. “I learned so much from my mentors, and I still go to them with questions. It’s gratifying to ‘pay it forward,’ and provide guidance and advice to the next generation of ophthalmologists,” he said.

Contact Dr. Vasan’s office at 617-936-6156 (Longwood) or 781-279-4418 (Stoneham).

View Dr. Vasan's online bio for more information.

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