Scientific Research at Shamir Medical Center


The Esther Matlowz’l Ophthalmology Department at Shamir Medical Centre (SMC) is a state-of-the-art eye care department providing clinical and surgical expertise in all related eye disorders and diseases. 

The Department is ranked as one of the top ophthalmology departments in Israel thanks to a leading professional team, modern technological equipment, and high availability of appointments.

The Department is renowned for being an active and productive center of scientific innovation. It is ranked as one of the top ophthalmology departments in Israel and a leader in the field of medical research and publications. 

Thanks to the generous support of the Matlow family, which previously funded an on-site research laboratory, the department continues to attract leading physicians and students from Tel Aviv University who are interested in participating in cutting-edge research projects.  

The Department conducted important research throughout the pandemic and recently published a study about the relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and facial nerve palsy. 

The team of researchers tested whether the Pfizer vaccine increases the risk of facial nerve palsy, publishing their results in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 

Although facial paralysis was not initially reported as a symptom of Covid-19 at the onset of the pandemic, once the vaccination campaign in Israel began, cases began to rise. It was reported that 13 people who were vaccinated with the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine developed facial paralysis shortly afterwards.   

The research was possible as Israel was one of the first and leading countries to launch a national vaccination program. The vaccination rates per capita were exceptionally high with approximately 92% of the population older than 50 years immunized with the first dose and 85% with the second dose as of March 2021. In addition, all residents of Israel are members of a national digital health registry, which provided a unique opportunity for researchers to perform an early, real-world analysis of any adverse effects of the vaccine.   

 In the study, all patients admitted to the Shamir Medical Center with facial nerve palsy in the first quarter of 2021 were carefully examined. Using a case-control method, the study revealed that there was no increased risk among COVID-19 vaccines for facial paralysis. The researchers conducted a multi-year comparison of the number of referrals to the emergency room in the previous six years and no significant increase in the number of cases was discovered, even though millions of people were vaccinated against the virus that year. 

The researchers also found that there was no increased incidence of facial paralysis among people who have been vaccinated compared to those who were unvaccinated. 

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