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Tele-Ophthalmology is Here 

Columbia Ophthalmology is taking the fight against the leading causes of blindness out of the traditional clinic and onto the streets of New York City. The Department's new mobile tele-ophthalmology unit will be  serving  neighborhoods with populations at high-risk for eye disease. 

The mobile screening project strengthens the Department’s commitment to combating sight-threatening eye diseases and disorders by testing patients in local communities who are underserved and most vulnerable.

Under the leadership of Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and glaucoma expert Lama Al-Aswad, MD, MPH,  the staff of the mobile unit plans to perform free screenings for at least 2,000 people a year at locations in the five boroughs  for the  four leading causes of blindness: glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. 

Dr. Al-Aswad and her team will also screen patients for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, all of which are common risk factors for eye disease.      

Tele-Ophthalmology Project Team








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From left:

  • Rahul Kapoor, MD - Research Fellow
  • Maya Ramachandran - Research Assistant
  • Vipul Patel - Project Manager
  • Lama Al-Aswad, MD, MPH - Director of Tele-Ophthalmology Initiative
  • Emery Jamerson - Medical Student 
  • Jennifer Alcantara-Castillo, COA - Clinical Research Co-orrdinator, and
  • Richard Pedone, Sr. - Mobile Unit Driver



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It's a wrap. The 2018 Conference was a success and sold out in its first year. A robust agenda with an international roster of speakers from all areas of the discipline played a big part.To see, hear, and read all about the day, click any of the links below. Be sure to sign-up for news and update for the 2019 meeting, via e-mailing: HarknessEyeInstitute@CUMC.Columbia.Edu .

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1. Linnehan, R. (2018, June). AI applications in ophthalmology achieve human expert-level performance. Ocular Surgery News, U.S. Edition, pp. 1-11. Retrieved from