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Farhad Hafezi

Professor, University of Geneva; Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Keck School of Medicine, CA, (USC), Los Angeles, USA; Chief Medical Officer, The ELZA Institute, Zürich, Switzerland

Farhad is an eye surgeon dedicated to improving clinical treatments to solve some of the most complex cases in his field. As an internationally recognized pioneer of corneal cross-linking (CXL) and a pacemaker for newer indications like infectious keratitis, he combines his medical expertise to help translate research findings into clinical practice. Farhad and the members of his research groups were the first to publish a clinical study on treating ectasia after LASIK using CXL in 2007, they also proposed the use of hypo-osmolaric riboflavin to treat thin corneas in 2009 and identified oxygen as essential in the CXL process in 2013, all of which are in clinical practice today.

Farhad’s research revolves around the cornea, its biomechanics and, in particular, corneal ectasias like keratoconus and laser refractive surgery. His research labs are at the University of Zurich and the USC Roski Eye Institute, Los Angeles, in collaboration with Brad Randleman (qv). With over 170 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 18 book chapters, Hafezi’s work has been cited 6,900 times. His h-index is 42 and his impact factor is 590.

Farhad and his wife Nikki are responding to a market need to provide a low-cost portable, slit lamp mountable cross-linking device to help people perform this sight-saving procedure in a considerably more affordable, safe and effective manner. Farhad and Nikki also founded the Light for Sight Foundation, whose mission is to increase awareness about keratoconus, and screen children for this disease and to ensure that no child with keratoconus goes untreated.

Nominators said:

“He is an inspiration for both young and experienced ophthalmologists who are seeking more than just routine clinical ophthalmology.”

“Hafezi is a determined and focused individual who always allows science to have the final say in any argument.”

“No one can argue that Prof. Hafezi is dedicated to both clinical and research excellence and he will support anyone who shares this opinion with no exceptions.”

What are your goals for the future?

“I am striving to take vacations on all the school holidays with my wife and children without a risk of everything falling apart. Professionally, I want to continue to build the ELZA clinical team and locations.”

What has been your most successful collaboration?

“Professionally, it is difficult to determine what my most successful collaboration is, but I am surely grateful for my clinical and research teams for their loyalty, dedication and hard work. I am also so thankful for amazing colleagues who make the field interesting and fun.

Privately, I could not be where I am today without my wife, Nikki, who has stood by my side through everything. It is definitely this lifetime partnership covering all aspects of our lives that I am most proud of.”

What are your plans for the next 10 years?

“As with most parents, my plans are dictated to me based on my children’s ages and their school schedules. So, in 10 years, Lola (my third and youngest daughter) will only be 12 years, so professionally, I hope to continue to see patients, operate, conduct research experiment, publish and lecture. Privately, I hope to be helping my eldest daughter Leilah in medical school, transitioning my second daughter Lili into university, leisurely driving my vintage 1986 Yamaha Ténéré motorbike on the weekends and vacationing in warm and sunny locations.”

How to Never be Bored

Planning For Success

CXLUSA: Show us Your Hand

Accelerating PACK-CXL

Why Vision Research?

CXL Excels

Unlocking CXLS Molecular Mysteries with Mice

PACK-CXL for All

Lighting the Way for Corneal Cross Linking

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