Tell me a surprising fact about you.
I used to play professional tennis. When I was 12 years old, I switched from traditional school to an at-home independent study program so I could start playing tennis full time. I traveled around the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America competing on the professional circuit. I played professionally until age 27.
I also am a classically trained violinist and played the violin in my own wedding ceremony.
How did you choose Venice, Florida?
Venice was an easy pick for me. Venice is my hometown; I grew up here. The pace of things here is more my style compared to other parts of Florida. I think there is a relative lack of surgical cornea specialists between Naples and Tampa. I am excited to bring my comprehensive cornea transplant and cataract surgery skill set to the Venice and Sarasota area.
Why did you choose Ophthalmology and specifically Cornea?
That was a really hard decision. I really liked both Ophthalmology and Ob-Gyn when I was a medical student. Ultimately it was the fine detail, the fine motor skills, and the delicate procedures that drew me to Ophthalmology. I am fascinated with the eye, it’s really beautiful. The ability to impact someone’s life by restoring vision is really exciting.
I picked Cornea because I wanted to be a master of something. It’s hard to be a master of everything within General Ophthalmology. My cornea fellowship allowed me to really focus on the anterior segment of the eye and gain a level of expertise beyond my residency training. You can take someone who may not be able to see very well, give them a new cornea, and help them see again. There are also tons of options short of doing a cornea transplant to maximize someone’s vision potential, like rehabilitating the surface of the eye, advanced treatments for dry eye, and cataract surgery. There are all kinds of things we can do to help people see better. As a cornea specialist, that’s my wheelhouse; maximizing the visual potential from the front of the eye.
What is your favorite condition to treat?
Fuchs’ dystrophy. It’s a condition where the cornea will slowly swell and take on water over time; we call that “corneal edema.” The reason this happens has to do with specialized pump cells that live on the inside of the cornea. Over time they can slow down or stop working as a natural consequence of getting older. In someone with Fuchs’ dystrophy, this process happens at an accelerated rate.
The typical story of Fuchs’ dystrophy is someone in their 40s or 50s who notices blurry vision worse in the morning. It may take an hour or two after waking until the vision clears. In later stages, the vision may stay blurry for the whole day.
The treatment options for Fuchs’ dystrophy have really exploded in the last 10 years. We can catch the condition much earlier and treat it before people develop the end-stage disease. Just a few decades ago the only way to treat this condition was with a full-thickness cornea transplant. The techniques we have today allow for quicker recovery and a better chance at restoring near-perfect vision. The treatment options can be technically challenging, but that’s part of the reward. It’s really fun to give people their life back.
What lies ahead for you in the coming year?
I am really excited about a new DSAEK 3.0 (partial thickness cornea transplant) injector system that I’ve been working on for the past two years with Lion’s Eye Institute for Transplant and Research. They selected me to be their lead cornea surgeon on this project, and I am very grateful for that opportunity.
This injector system is a revolutionary way of doing DSAEK cornea transplant surgery, with smaller wounds and a brand new “no-touch” technique. The system delivers the cornea transplant tissue into the eye without disturbing or damaging the graft. It’s really exciting to be able to develop this new device and bring this technology to other cornea surgeons.
Steven Kane, MD, FAAO is a Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery specialist with Tailored Eyes in Sarasota county Florida. He proudly serves the people of Venice, South Venice, Sarasota, Plantation, Osprey, Nokomis, Laurel, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Anna Maria, Palmetto, Ellenton, St. Petersburg, Englewood, North Port, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Charlotte Harbor, Manasota Key, Arcadia, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.