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  • H. Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD

    Dunbar Hoskins Jr., MD, Who Transformed the Academy into an International Association, Dies at 84

    As executive vice president from 1993 to 2009, Dr. Hoskins grew the American Academy of Ophthalmology into the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons and guided it into the digital era, with the goal of providing ophthalmologists worldwide with resources to improve ophthalmic care and their patients’ lives. Dr. Hoskins died Saturday, Jan. 27. Services are pending at this time.

    Dr. Hoskins recognized early on the potential of making the Academy’s wealth of evidence-based educational material easily accessible to the world’s ophthalmologists through the internet. He launched the Ophthalmic News and Education (ONE®) Network, a global platform for ophthalmic education that has been especially impactful for ophthalmologists in under-resourced regions.

    The online resource gets millions of views annually, as residents and practicing physicians alike access the latest developments in the field through news articles, videos, podcasts, and free access to leading peer-reviewed ophthalmic journals. The platform offers opportunities to improve clinical skills with learning plans, interactive cases and courses, as well as disease simulators that allow residents to learn and practice challenging skills.

    Dr. Hoskins redefined how a medical society can serve members and the public. He provided early guidance on the hugely popular EyeWiki®, a community-generated eye encyclopedia that gets nearly 20 million page views annually. He launched EyeSmart, a website that provides the public with timely, accurate information about their eye health and safety. He also developed the first computer-based registry, the National Eyecare Outcomes Network (NEON) Cataract Surgery Database, which was an early iteration of today’s IRIS® Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight).

    Dr. Hoskins established EyeNet® Magazine, the most respected and well-read non-peer-reviewed ophthalmology publication. Recognizing the value of perspective from leaders in other fields, he added a public trustee to the Academy’s board, the first medical professional association to do so. Dr. Hoskins also created the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives® (AAOE®), the Surgical Scope Fund, the Rotary Club Host Project and the Orbital Gala.

    He also understood the central role of advocacy in advancing the profession in the service of patients. He launched the Mid-Year Forum as an opportunity for Academy members and other ophthalmic leaders to gather and discuss critical policy issues facing ophthalmology, and to lobby members of Congress on the issues that affect the practice of ophthalmology and our patients. He initiated the Leadership Development Program, which identifies, trains, and develops future leaders of state, subspecialty, and specialized interest societies. Thanks to this program, hundreds of ophthalmologists around the world now have the skills, knowledge, and relationships to shape governmental policies and provide organizational leadership.

    A respected clinician, teacher, and researcher, he authored more than 90 publications in peer-reviewed journals. His clinical research included trials of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and timolol for glaucoma, reliability indicators for visual field changes, the use of portable applanation tonometers, and innovative treatments for childhood glaucomas. 

    As a principal investigator of the Collaborative Normal-Tension Glaucoma Study in 1998, a randomized clinical trial that is still widely referenced, Dr. Hoskins and his co-authors developed a template for collaborative multicenter clinical studies. He has given over 350 invited lectures in over 30 countries and was a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1978, he co-founded Glaucoma Research Foundation, an organization that provides education to glaucoma patients and has funded more than $70 million in glaucoma research. But at his core as a practicing ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist with Shaffer Associates Medical Group for 45 years, Dr. Hoskins was a devoted clinician, delivering patient-centered care with skill, empathy and compassion.