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Benjamin F. Boyd
Benjamin F. Boyd, MD, FACS, ophthalmic surgeon and professor died February 5, 2018, at the age of 93
Dr. Boyd was past president and executive director of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO), where he made significant inroads in organizing and promoting ophthalmic education throughout the Western Hemisphere and fostered the development of international relations between ophthalmologists.
In recognition of his contributions to education and the restoration of sight, PAAO created the Benjamin F. Boyd Humanitarian Award and Gold Medal in 1987. The award is presented every two years to a PAAO member or significant individual who participates in charitable activities, indigent care, community service, and humanitarian activities through a program of public service.
In addition to his roles with PAAO, Dr. Boyd was past president of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, president of the Panamanian Academy of Medicine and Surgery of the Republic of Panama, founder and president of the Panamanian Society of Ophthalmology, founder of the Boyd Ophthalmology Center, and a founder of the School of Medicine of the University of Panama, where he was the first professor of ophthalmology and then dean of the faculty of medicine.
He was also the founder, author, and editor-in-chief of Highlights of Ophthalmology, a bimonthly journal published in English and Spanish.
Robert D. Reinecke
Robert D. Reinecke, MD, OD, lauded pediatric ophthalmologist, died January 17, 2018, at the age of 88
During his extensive career, Dr. Reinecke was a professor at Albany Medical College before becoming ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital and professor and chairman of ophthalmology at Jefferson Medical College. He was the first Director of the Foerderer Research Center, which eventually became internationally acclaimed for its landmark work in understanding eye movements and nystagmus. Dr. Reinecke lectured and published extensively, and served in various leadership roles including president of the Academy (1989) and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (1975-1976). “He was a true pioneer in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus in this country,” said his colleague John Simon, MD. “As one of the founding members of AAPOS who served as its second president, he was a mentor and inspiration for future generations of pediatric ophthalmologists.”
Harvey A. Lincoff
Harvey A. Lincoff, MD, pioneer of retinal detachment surgery, died November 25, 2017 at the age of 97
During his lauded career, Dr. Lincoff shifted the paradigm of retinal detachment repair with the development of revolutionary techniques and instruments. Decades after their introduction, many of his advances—such as the use of cryopexy and a method for locating retinal holes—remain gold standards. Prior to his passing, Dr. Lincoff served as professor emeritus and director of retinal research at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, and received numerous international awards and honors, including the Academy’s inaugural Charles L. Schepens Lecture and medal in 2008. “Dr. Lincoff’s career spans over a half-century of landmark contributions that even today impact the field of vitreoretinal surgery,” noted Dr. David Parke. “He was a true innovator, an engaging teacher and an urbane colleague.”
“His contributions will remain a testimony to his excellence in research and clinical management of retinal disease for generations of young colleagues, and his capacity for friendship will continue to inspire us for many years to come,” said Thomas J. Wolfensberger, MD, speaking on the behalf of Dr. Lincoff’s many friends and colleagues from the Club Jules Gonin.
William H. Spencer
William H. Spencer, MD, internationally recognized ophthalmic pathologist died September 24, 2017, at the age of 92
Dr. Spencer was a leading figure in ophthalmic pathology and the editor of the classic Ophthalmic Pathology: An Atlas and Textbook. Throughout his lauded career, he served in various leadership roles at the Academy (Board of Trustees, Secretary for Continuing Education, Chair of the BCSC), the American Board of Ophthalmology (Executive Director) and the American Ophthalmological Society (President). He was a respected educator and recognized with numerous honors and awards. "Bill had a unique and encyclopedic memory for ophthalmic details," said his friend and former colleague Bruce E. Spivey, MD. "His absence will be deeply felt by all who knew him."
Joseph B. Walsh
Joseph B. Walsh, MD, distinguished physician, educator and humanitarian died August 25, 2017, at the age of 76
A retired chair and professor emeritus at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEE) of Mount Sinai, and former acting editor of Ophthalmology, Dr. Walsh was a lauded expert in medical and surgical retina. Throughout his distinguished career, he was committed to humanitarian work, and he received the Senior Honor Award from the Academy. “He was a tireless teacher and advocate for residents and fellows, and especially passionate about providing quality ophthalmic care to underserved populations in New York City and throughout the world,” said his colleague James Tsai, MD. “Joe left an indelible mark on NYEE, international ophthalmology and academic medicine.”
Robert C. Drews
Robert C. Drews, MD, leader in cataract surgery and lens implantation died May 9, 2017, at the age of 86
A pillar of his native St. Louis community, Dr. Drews completed medical training and residency and later served as emeritus professor at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). In addition to teaching and operating a private practice, Dr. Drews dedicated himself to service, as one of the first presidents of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, president of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology and board member of the American Board of Ophthalmology, and to more than 60 other ophthalmologic societies and organizations. Throughout his career, he traveled the globe to share innovative microsurgical techniques in more than 1,000 lectures—delivered in both English and Spanish—and contributed over 500 articles, books and book chapters. “The common theme that united his endeavors was his selfless pursuit of knowledge and understanding,” said Professor James C. Bobrow, MD, a friend and colleague at WUSM. After passing away, Dr. Drews’ body was donated to the School of Medicine.
Roger F. Steinert
Roger F. Steinert, MD, distinguished innovator and teacher died June 6, 2017, at the age of 66
Dr. Steinert passed away after a long illness. He was the Irving H. Leopold Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at the University of California Irvine and the inaugural director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. His illustrious career was focused on cataract, refractive, and corneal surgery and novel applications of laser in ophthalmology. Among his many accomplishments were the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy, the Dohlman Award for Teaching Excellence, the OIS Innovator Award and tenure as president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. His lasting contributions to the field include his seminal Cataract Surgery textbook and more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters. “Roger was a prince of a person, and his loss is one for our entire profession,” noted Academy CEO David W. Parke II, MD. “He was a skilled clinician and surgeon, a gifted and insightful scientist and a dedicated steward of his profession. Roger will be remembered by his many, many friends as a genuinely good man with a keen sense of humor and tremendous laugh, and possessing a wonderful blend of professional authority and personal kindness. Our hearts go out to April and his entire family.”
Connie S. McCaa
Connie S. McCaa, MD, PhD, leading advocate for ophthalmology, died April 19, 2017, at the age of 79
During her long career as a lauded corneal transplant surgeon and LASIK expert, Dr. McCaa was a constant advocate for quality eye care. She served as the director of the division of cornea, external disease and refractive surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for 25 years and president of the Mississippi Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons from 2003–2005. During her MAEPS tenure, she worked tirelessly to help defeat the optometric scope legislation and raise funds for M.D. Eye PAC.
An active member of the Academy, Dr. McCaa served as a councilor representing Mississippi and won the Secretariat Award for her work in implementing the Academy’s Residents’ Advocacy Program, which encourages advocacy and mentoring of residents and fellows. In 2014, she became the first women recipient of the Academy’s Hall of Fame award, which recognized her commitment to public policies supporting quality medical and surgical care. “Connie McCaa was an early role model for advocacy and a true champion for our profession and patients,” said Daniel Briceland, MD, the Academy’s senior secretary for advocacy. “She was truly a wonderful and gifted physician.”
Richard C. Troutman
Richard C. Troutman, MD, pioneer of ophthalmic microsurgery, died April 5, 2017, at the age of 94
Dr. Troutman served for 27 years as the head of ophthalmology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he established one of the first subspecialty ophthalmology programs in the United States and instituted microsurgical training for all residents. Throughout his career, he invented numerous surgical microscopes and instruments that laid the groundwork for current technologies. Dr. Troutman co-founded the Microsurgical Research Foundation and the International Society for Refractive Surgery (ISRS), and in 2000, he received the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “Microsurgery of the Anterior Segment of the Eye, one of many books authored by Richard Troutman, is the treatise on the fine art of ocular microsurgery,” said Academy President Cynthia Bradford, MD. “It is a treasure — one I would never loan out. A gifted surgeon and teacher and a true gentleman, Dr. Troutman will be missed and remembered as an icon of ophthalmology.”
William Tasman, MD, who transformed Wills Eye into a powerhouse, died March 28, 2017, at the age of 87.
Dr. William Tasman was ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital from 1985 to 2009, where he trained 161 residents and 199 retinal fellows. Dr. Tasman also did his residency at Wills Eye Hospital and served as chief resident in 1960 and 1961.
“Few ophthalmologists of his generation had a more profound impact on our profession,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the Academy. “At the Academy, Dr. Tasman touched just about everything—from education to advocacy to the Annual Meeting to the Foundation. He chaired the Laureate selection committee until age 86. His impact on nearly every facet of Academy activity was equally significant.”
“Bill Tasman epitomized professionalism and civility in American ophthalmology,” Dr. Parke continued. “He was the consummate clinician and surgeon, an endearing teacher, a powerful leader whose style was marked by grace and humility, and a deeply principled man. He and his wonderful wife Alice Lea leave an indelible mark on our profession and on our personal lives.”
Dr. Tasman founded Mid-Atlantic Retina, formerly Retinovitreous Associates, Ltd. in 1974. He is a past president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Ophthalmological Society, and the Retina Society. Dr. Tasman is a founding member of both the Retina Society and the Club Jules Gonin Retina Society.
Interviewed by Retina Today in 2012, Dr. Tasman was asked about the greatest achievement of his professional career:
“It is tough to pull out a single achievement. I have had a special interest in pediatric retinal diseases, and I have followed some patients from the time they were premature infants until their 40s or 50s. To see that these people still have sight is pretty gratifying. Unfortunately, I cannot say they were all successes, but the ones who were certainly do make you feel good.”
A history buff, he enjoyed delving into how the eye injuries of important figures affected history and the arts. Included among the 19 books he authored is a History of Wills Eye Hospital. The last article he wrote for Ophthalmology in October 2016 offered historical perspective on the management of retinal detachment.
Eliot L. Berson
Eliot L. Berson, MD, leader in the field of inherited retinal diseases died March 19, 2017, at the age of 79.
Dr. Eliot L. Berson, was founding director of the Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, where his discoveries laid the foundation for understanding retinitis pigmentosa, and lead the way for new therapies for these disorders.
He was also distinguished professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and senior scientist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear.
In the 1960s he discovered that Electroretinography (ERG) could detect photoreceptor dysfunction early in life, prior to visual deterioration. Dr. Berson subsequently led research showing that dietary supplementation with Vitamin A, omega-3s and antioxidants could slow visual loss from the disease.
In the 1990s, he co-discovered the first genetic defect associated with retinitis pigmentosa, a point mutation in the rhodopsin gene. Further investigations yielded 20 more causative mutations for RP and other retinal degenerations, paving the way for research into possible treatments.
His most recent research involved safety and efficacy studies of investigational gene therapies in animal models of hereditary retinal degenerations.