LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University Foundation board member and top retinal specialist Dr. Michael Tolentino was recognized in his native Philippines for his outstanding achievements in the field of medical research. Tolentino received the Excellence Award by the American Association of the Philippines during the recent annual George Washington Charity Ball in Makati City, Philippines.
Tolentino has a remarkable career in medicine having invented and developed anti-vascular endothelial growth factor eye injections, such as Avastin, Lucentis, and Eyelea, that prevent blindness from macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. His most recent medical innovation is the development of TrueBlue lenses, a patented pigment impregnated eyeglass technology that fully protects against the harmful full spectrum of high energy visible blue light that is predominantly emitted from the sun and electronic devices.
“Recognition for helping people avoid the suffering of blindness is what makes this award so important to me,” said Tolentino, who is a founding eye surgeon of Vision Integrated Partners, a national ophthalmic company with multiple offices in Florida and California. “This was not an academic or scientific award, but rather a humanitarian award. I perform applied research and provide the technology to my patients so that my work can not only help people locally, but around the world.”
Tolentino was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when he was young. His father, Dr. Felipe Tolentino, is a pioneer in retinal surgery at Harvard Medical Schooland author of one of the first textbooks on vitreoretinal surgery. His father also founded the Ophthalmological Foundation of the Philippines and the Asian Eye Institute to provide state-of-the-art eye care to both the indigent and affluent in the Philippines and nearby countries.
Michael followed in his dad’s footsteps and, at 13, began research on the use of silicone oil to repair retinal detachment in his father’s laboratory at Harvard. It is that early passion for innovation that makes Tolentino a great fit for the Florida Poly Foundation’s Board of Directors.
“Most academic institutions pursue purely academic goals, but Florida Poly translates basic research into applications that can help humanity,” said Tolentino.
“Florida Poly is a place where those inspired to change the world can fulfill their inspiration. It is also a unique environment where the pursuit of innovation will solve the world’s problems in better and more creative ways. ”
Assistant Director of Communications