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  • Introducing the World to the Science of Sight

    Dr. Truhlsen’s recent $4 million gift will introduce visitors from around the world to the science and history of vision. He and his wife, Dorothy, are members of the Foundation’s Visionary Society. They have made more than $5 million in lifetime donations.

    In 1931, when Academy Past President Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD, was 10 years old, a well-respected local physician invited him along on a trip to Canada.

    It was a remarkable opportunity for a boy from Herman, Neb., a village of less than 400 people. On the trip, Truhlsen witnessed the impact that a physician could make serving his patients. He decided he’d make his own career in medicine someday. Back home in the years that followed, he witnessed another kind of service: that of individuals to their community. During the long hardship of the Dust Bowl and the Depression, the families in his small town pulled together, giving their time and resources to help each other get by. He never forgot it.

    Those early experiences led to Dr. Truhlsen’s career as a private practitioner, university educator and leader in the field of ophthalmology. They led to scores of honors and recognitions, among them, the prestigious Lucien Howe Medal for ophthalmic service. They also led to a lifetime of philanthropy, from launching EyeCare America (formerly the National Eye Care Program) during his 1983 term as Academy president to, in recent years, creating an endowment fund for simulation and interactive learning technology on the ONE® Network.

    Dr. Truhlsen’s generous gift leads the way for the Academy to build a new home for the museum. It’s estimated to attract 30,000 visitors in its first year alone.

    Now, a $4 million gift by Dr. Truhlsen will introduce the world to the science of sight.

    This historic donation paves the way for the new Museum of Vision in San Francisco, the world’s first cost-free public museum and education center dedicated to vision. Set to open in late 2019, the museum will use interactive, high-tech exhibits to connect visitors of all ages to the science of how they view the world. It will also be a stunning showplace


    “New programs emerging from this project will facilitate learning for thousands of ophthalmologists.”


    for a rotating portion of the Academy’s 38,000-piece collection of ophthalmic artifacts. Visitors will come away amazed by what their eyes can do, motivated to protect their vision and informed about the field of ophthalmology. As a destination in one of the world’s top tourist cities, more than 30,000 visitors are expected in the first year alone. With this exposure, the museum will secure a more prominent place for ophthalmology in our cultural awareness — and, like Dr. Truhlsen’s early experience, inspire future generations of ophthalmic leaders.

    “I have supported the Museum of Vision because of its many programs to preserve the history of ophthalmology and the Academy. The museum puts all these materials at your fingertips. It’s a marvelous thing,” says Dr. Truhlsen. “It’s the vehicle by which our heritage remains both relevant and inspiring, promoting continued discovery and advancement.”

    A childhood journey sparked Dr. Truhlsen’s path to medicine and the lifelong commitment to philanthropy that followed. Because of it, generations of young people will soon be able to engage in their own journey at the Museum of Vision — and perhaps someday, follow his lead.

    “The new Museum of Vision will be the first of its kind where the public can go to learn about sight, to see it, to touch it,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO, American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Dr. Truhlsen’s extraordinary benevolence is a gift not only to our profession, but to the world.”