Kara Hartl, MD FACS
Educated at Harvard University and University of California-San Diego Medical School, trained at the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Dr. Kara Hartl was well-equipped to create a world-class medical center in an underserved community and bring the best medicine in the world to the people of Alaska. Her entrepreneurial spirit grew a multispecialty medical center from the ground up and has created the most technologically advanced medical and surgical center in the state, rivaling anywhere in the country. Dr. Hartl has developed high-level systems for virtually every aspect of her business, from designing an ophthalmic technician training program to defining the hospital protocols. She has raised the standards of medicine in Alaska to the highest levels in the country.
But, Dr. Kara Hartl certainly didn’t stop there. She founded the international non-profit Gift of Sight that is dedicated to curing blindness across the globe. The Prevention of Global Blindness fellowship, which she co-founded, was created to empower recent graduates to join this international community. Dr. Hartl has recently expanded her focus into the world of medical technology. This is an exponential field that is changing the way we will practice medicine and she is passionate about incorporating technology into the future of eye care. She continues to work with early stage start-ups to help them grow in this ever-developing field.
Most recently, Dr. Kara Hartl has become increasingly concerned about the effects of our increased screen time. Since living in Alaska, Dr. Hartl has spent over a decade studying the effects of light on our eyes and our bodies, both natural and artificial light. The studies all point to a shocking amount of damage to both the eyes and the whole body. During the COVID pandemic, all of our screen time has increased dramatically, both for ourselves and for our children. The general public intuitively knows this is “not great,” but virtually no one understands exactly how bad it is or how to protect ourselves and our children. As a result, Dr. Hartl has started a public education initiative to inform the everyday LED screen user about these affects and the easy ways to protect themselves while continuing to use their devices.