• Outstanding Eye Physicians and Surgeons Recognized for Innovation in Patient Care

    American Academy of Ophthalmology honors leaders in the profession at AAO 2015

    LAS VEGAS – November 12, 2015 – The American Academy of Ophthalmology will pay tribute to outstanding eye physicians and surgeons who have made significant achievements in various areas of the profession. These range from scientific innovation and humanitarian service to education and advocacy. The honorees will be recognized AAO 2015, the Academy’s 119th annual meeting in Las Vegas.

    Each year, the Academy presents a series of awards to exemplary member ophthalmologists. The most prestigious of these honors is the Laureate Recognition Award. It recognizes ophthalmologists who made exceptional scientific contributions to preventing blindness and restoring sight worldwide. This year’s recipient is esteemed educator and innovator Bruce E. Spivey, M.D., M.S., M.Ed.

    Dr. Spivey’s achievements span almost every area of the profession. He was the first CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology when it split from the American Academy of Otolaryngology in1978. Under his leadership, the Academy experienced tremendous growth. It formed its charitable foundation and developed a code of ethics for the profession of ophthalmology. It also initiated the Academy’s EyeCare America® public service program that provides eye exams and care for medically underserved seniors often at no out-of-pocket cost. He also led the establishment of the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company, the largest insurer of ophthalmologists in the United States.

    Most recently, he served as president of the International Council of Ophthalmology, presiding over that organization’s growth in global ophthalmic education. The ICO represents and serves professional associations of ophthalmologists throughout the world.

    "Dr. Spivey’s tireless work has accelerated just about every facet of the profession, helping to protect the sight of millions worldwide,” said David W. Parke II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The Academy and the field of ophthalmology would not be what they are today without his transformative leadership.”

    Other awards that will be presented during AAO 2015 include:

    • The Distinguished Service Award honors an individual or organization for ongoing notable service. This year’s recipient is Research to Prevent Blindness. RPB has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in grant support for eye research. The organization also aided in the creation of a the National Eye Institute, part of the United States government’s National Institutes of Health, and was instrumental in the creation of scores of academic departments of ophthalmology throughout the United States. RPB-supported researchers have been associated with nearly every major breakthrough in vision science in the past 50 years.
    • The Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award recognizes ophthalmologists dedicated to volunteerism and community service. These individuals go above and beyond typical duties of an ophthalmologist. The Academy presented the awards to the following individuals:
      • Stephen L. Beaty, M.D., of the West Georgia Eye Care Center for providing free eye care across four continents since 1987. From 2000-2004, he also donated his time to provide eye education to local doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe.
      • Gary E. Fish, M.D., of Texas Retina Associates, for his volunteerism at an Eye Clinic in Haiti. He cared for thousands of patients with serious illnesses over the last 30 years in Haiti. He has also participated in several other medical missions in Honduras and Mexico.
    • The International Blindness Prevention Award honors ophthalmologists dedicated to restoring sight worldwide. These ophthalmologists have made significant contributions in preventing blindness on a global scale. This year’s honoree is James E. Standefer, M.D., of the University of Minnesota. Dr. Standefer is a prolific volunteer, teaching about glaucoma in many developing countries.
    • The Outstanding Advocate Award recognizes ophthalmologists who take part in government advocacy-related efforts. This year’s recipient is Jean E. Ramsey, M.D., MPH of Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Ramsey played a key role in championing a Massachusetts vision screening bill. This bill made it possible to obtain universal screening and eye care for all children in Massachusetts.
    • The Artemis Awardrecognizes a young ophthalmologist who demonstrates exemplary caring and service. This year, the award goes to Wendy M. Hofman, M.D. of Bongolo Hospital, Gabon, West Africa. The Academy commends Dr. Hoffman for her dedication to caring for the underserved.
    • The Guests of Honor Award recognizes exceptional ophthalmologists and is chosen by the Academy president each year. This year president Russell N. Van Gelder, M.D., Ph.D., is honoring:
      • Stuart L. Fine, M.D., of the University of Colorado Medical Center at Denver for his seminal contributions to ophthalmic practice. Dr. Fine is also being commended for his tireless mentoring of young ophthalmologists.
      • Robert E. Kalina, M.D., of the University of Washington Medical Center for his contributions to advancing ophthalmic care, his professional leadership, and his serving as role model for generations of ophthalmologists.
      • Krzysztof Palczewski, PhD, of the Case Western Reserve University for his groundbreaking research into the biochemistry of vision. He has substantially advanced the understanding of hereditary blindness. He also developed the basis for potential treatments to slow retinal degeneration in children and adults.

    “These awardees represent some of the greatest minds and biggest hearts in ophthalmology,” said Dr. Van Gelder. “Not only are they accomplished scientists, physicians and surgeons, they are also admired mentors, humanitarians and advocates. They are prime examples of the vast impact ophthalmologists can have on society.” 

    For full awards descriptions, recipient biographies and information about other awards given to Academy members this year, please visit www.aao.org/awards. Known as the place "Where all of Ophthalmology Meets,"™ the Academy’s annual meeting runs until Nov. 17 at the Sands Expo/Venetian in Las Vegas. It is the largest ophthalmology conference in the world. For more information, see the AAO 2015 highlights.

    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, serving more than 32,000 members worldwide.  The Academy’s mission is to advance the lifelong learning and professional interests of ophthalmologists to ensure that the public can obtain the best possible eye care. For more information, visit www.aao.org.

    The Academy is also a leading provider of eye care information to the public. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit EyeSmart or OjosSanos to learn more.