Prithvi Sankar

Professor of Clinical Opthalmology
Scheie Eye Institute

How long have you been at Penn?
Nearly 13 years.

Where can you primarily be found at Penn?
“I’m mostly here at Scheie. I see patients here and I also operate here. Scheie has a satellite site, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, which I go to for about a day-and-a-half a week, and I’m also at the VA Medical Center.”

What kind of work do you do?
“I see patients usually for the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. I do see patients for cataracts and other diseases, too. I also work on research grants, particularly looking at glaucoma and the genetic reasons for glaucoma in West Philadelphia and, in particular, African-American communities.

You teach, as well?
“I, along with many of my Scheie colleagues, teach the anatomy of the eye, where the students dissect the eye and look at the individual parts of the anatomy. We also have a clinical skills course during their first year. During their second year, the students rotate through the ophthalmology clerkship. Those who are interested may do electives through the department. Seeing medical students mature is fascinating, and it’s like seeing a jigsaw being put together sometimes. But it all works out. It’s nice because you can see how folks progress over time. They start out knowing little about medicine, and by the time they graduate, they know so much more and you can really see their careers being sculpted.”

What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
“I think seeing patients and teaching are the most rewarding things. I’m fortunate that I can see patients for years, so I see them longitudinally. I see them, diagnose something, we manage it for years, and I get to have a great rapport with the patients. They’ll tell me about what’s going on with their lives, and we’ll talk about their vision issues and their health issues. It is quite rewarding.”

M.Z.