Posted by: Georgia Retina in Uncategorized

Hobbies Include Woodworking and Aikido

The precision required for a career as a retina surgeon follows Jay Stallman, M.D., in his many hobbies as he relaxes by crafting authentic replicas of 18th century antique furniture and practicing the demanding Japanese martial art of aikido.

As a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in vitreoretinal surgery at Georgia Retina, Dr. Stallman holds a fourth degree black belt in aikido and also creates elaborate and intricate designs as he builds chairs, tables, and even tall case clocks.

“When I commit myself to a particular area I like to explore it in depth. It can take decades to develop real proficiency in an art of any kind. The more you learn, the more you feel like a beginner,” Dr. Stallman says of his hobbies, which also include photography, tennis, scuba diving, and fly-fishing.

Dr. Stallman incorporates his passion for details into his woodworking, often taking more than a year to complete a project. “I started woodworking as a kid, and developed it more and more over the years, learning delicate carving, turning, inlay, and veneering.”

A pair of 18th century-style knife cases with serpentine fronts took him a year and a half to complete. Other recent projects include a Newport case clock, a Philadelphia secretary, and Chippendale-style chairs with ball and claw feet. He recently displayed his knife cases at the Society of American Period Furniture Makers meeting, an organization of which he is a member.

“These projects take hundreds of hours over several years. When I’m focused on doing these things, they require my full attention in the moment, both for safety and for the quality of the work,” explains Dr. Stallman.

“That focus is a skill that is required for doing anything well,” he said.

Dr. Stallman began martial arts training during his medical school internship, and now, 22 years later, continues to practice and teach aikido at Peachtree Aikikai in Atlanta. Often called the peaceful martial art, aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba and relies on balance and harmony. Unlike some martial art forms that are practiced alone, aikido is practiced with a partner and emphasizes blending and harmonizing with your adversary to neutralize an attack or conflict.

“Aikido is very complex and requires a lot of time and effort. It teaches you to be aware of your own body’s center and, on an emotional level, it helps you to be centered under stress,” he said.

Dr. Stallman feels that practicing aikido has been especially helpful in the operating room, where surgeons “must be calm in the eye of the storm. Retinal surgery is one of the most delicate and demanding forms of microsurgery you can do. It takes a long time and requires meticulous attention to fine detail.”

Dr. Stallman is developing his digital photography skills, and many of his travel photographs are on display at the Lawrenceville and Northside offices of Georgia Retina.

He also enjoys fly-fishing, both in the Chattahoochee National Forest near his Atlanta home and on trips to North Georgia and Montana.

Dr. Stallman and his wife live in Dunwoody and have two daughters, ages 16 and 18. He has been in private practice as a vitreoretinal specialist since 1990.

Graduating with the highest honors from the combined six-year program of Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Stallman was elected to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

After his residency in ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, he completed a two-year fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans.

Dr. Stallman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and has published articles in several professional journals. He is also a member of the American Society of Retinal Specialists and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

He has served as visiting faculty with Orbis International in China and the Philippines, and has been a speaker at numerous professional meetings.

He has been the principal investigator of a number of large multicenter clinical trials conducted at Georgia Retina.

At Georgia Retina, patients’ vision needs are the top priority. As one of the largest retina-only medical practices in the southeastern United States, Georgia Retina specializes in treating diseases of the retina, macula, and vitreous. Its nine board-certified ophthalmologists have received special Fellowship training in vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery, and are engaged in clinical trials with the goal of advancing research into retinal diseases, their causes, and their cures.

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