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  • American Academy of Ophthalmology Appoints Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal, Ophthalmology

    A luminary in vision science and respected editor to lead the most-read clinical publication in medical eye care

    SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The American Academy of Ophthalmology today announced the appointment of Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, as Editor-in-Chief of its flagship journal, Ophthalmology, the most widely read clinical publication within the medical specialty of ophthalmology. Dr. Van Gelder is a renowned scientist, prolific author, and esteemed editor who has served as an editorial board member for Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Retina and Ophthalmology Science, and as a member of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board. Dr. Van Gelder is the chair of the University of Washington department of ophthalmology in Seattle, director of the Roger and Angie Karalis Johnson Retina Center, and holder of the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial endowed chair.

    “I am deeply appreciative for the opportunity to lead Ophthalmology,” Dr. Van Gelder said. “The journal is respected worldwide for the outstanding research it publishes, its high editorial standards, and its outstanding editorial board and staff. I look forward to continuing the journal’s long history of excellence and service to our profession.”

    Dr. Van Gelder’s laboratory, continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1999, has been at the forefront of research in non-visual photoreception and pathogen detection in uveitis. Non-visual photoreception is an unconventional kind of light-sensitivity sometimes described as sensing light without sight. His team is also investigating an exciting approach to reversing blindness from outer retinal degeneration that involves photoswitch chemicals that can be modulated by visible light.

    “Dr. Van Gelder is a seasoned scientist, author, reviewer, and editor who has served our journal so well over the years,” said Stephen D. McLeod, M.D., who will be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief on Feb. 1 to assume the role CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “He brings a deep knowledge of science as well as an acute sense of the need that our profession and practicing physicians have for the most rigorously vetted information to guide our care.”

    Dr. Van Gelder has published over 200 papers and book chapters. He has won numerous awards, including the Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award, the Culpeper Foundation Clinician-Scientist Award, the Translational Scientist Award of the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation, the Bressler Award from the Lighthouse Guild, and the Heed-Gutman Award of the Heed Society. He is a past President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, and previously served as Chair of the AAO Council. He is a past President of the American Uveitis Society, and served as 2021 Jackson Memorial Lecturer at the AAO Annual Meeting.  He currently serves on the Council of Councils to the National Institutes of Health.


    About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
    The Academy is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, it protects sight and empowers lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for its patients and the public. The Academy innovates to advance the profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Through its EyeSmart® articles on, the Academy provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit 

    About Ophthalmology
    Ophthalmology®, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, publishes original, peer-reviewed, clinically applicable research. The Ophthalmology franchise, owned by the Academy and published by Elsevier, also includes subspecialty publications: Ophthalmology® RetinaOphthalmology® Glaucoma, and Ophthalmology Science. For more information, visit