Friday, April 27, 2012


Major honour for former programme chairman of ESCRS

By Howard Larkin in Chicago 

In recognition of his prominent role advancing cataract and refractive surgery in Sweden and Europe, incoming ASCRS President David Chang MD welcomed Bo T Philipson MD PhD, Stockholm, Sweden, as an honored guest at this year’s ASCRS Symposium.

“Dr Philipson also played a key role in development of the first OVD as well as heparin-coated IOLs, and the Technis diffractive multifocal IOL,” Dr Chang said.

Dr Chang also noted Dr Philipson’s service as a leader, founder and programme chair of the ESCRS, his extensive lecturing and surgery in more than 20 countries, his leadership of the ophthalmology department at Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute and his founding of the Ă–gonklinik, now Sweden’s largest private eye clinic. “He has educated a generation of Swedish cataract surgeons and led the efforts to adopt phaco emulsification, intraocular lens implantation and corneal refractive surgery in his home country.”

Accepting the honor, Dr Philipson expressed his gratitude for the opportunities he had to improve ocular surgery and those who supported his efforts. “I am very fortunate to be of the group to have experienced the evolution of cataract and refractive surgery from intracapsular surgery to the modern very advanced surgery. It’s been very fascinating. This shift of surgical technique and the improvement of outcome have been made possible by the excellent teaching facilities that ASCRS and ESCRS have provided to us.”

Noting that he has attended almost all ESCRS and many ASCRS programs over the years, Dr Philipson thanked several American colleagues with whom he has studied and worked over the years, and whose ideas he shared in Europe. “Bob Sinskey was really my first mentor, and I visited him many, many times. Howard Fine was a fantastic teacher, and I had the possibility to work with and learn from Doug Koch, Steve Obstbaum and Dick Lindstrom. Jack Holladay and Jay McDonald, and I am very sorry we miss David Apple and Charlie Kelman. They taught us a lot.”


Jack Holladay inducted into ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame in emotional ceremony

By Howard Larkin in Chicago

Internationally known for his pioneering work in optics, including brightness acuity tester for assessing the impact of glare on vision and widely used IOL power calculation formulae, Jack T Holladay MD MSEE FACS, was inducted into ASCRS’ Ophthalmology Hall of Fame. In an emotional address to the opening session of the ASCRS Symposium, Dr Holladay thanked colleagues for their support following high-risk aortic surgery in 2010, and cited his teaching experiences as among the most rewarding of his life.

Dr Holladay has contributed immensely to improving the understanding of optics in ophthalmology, including glare testing, interpretation of corneal topography and the nature of astigmatism, said Douglas Koch MD, Houston, US. His IOL consultant power calculation software that takes into account factors such as corneal transplants and refractive surgery have improved vision outcomes for cataract patients around the world.

Dr Holladay spoke from the perspective of one who came close to death. His operation to correct an aortic aneurysm involved lowering his body temperature enough for him to survive cutting off blood flow to his brain for about 20 minutes during the procedure, followed by an eight-day coma, he said.

“I had a one in 10,000 chance of survival. The intensive cardiologist just happened to be walking down the hall and the only surgeon in Houston who could do the procedure was doing heart surgery upstairs,” said Dr Holladay. Though he is still a Clinical Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, he no longer sees patients. Holding back tears, he haltingly recounted the support he received from his family during his eight-day coma, and the hundreds of messages from colleagues and students around the world.

“After 37 years in ophthalmology I had to retire because I wasn’t quite the same after the operation. Looking back, the things I think about are not the patents, not the papers, none of those things, really. It’s the teaching,” Dr Holladay said. In 40 years of teaching, as an engineer before he completed his medical training and as a physician, Dr Holladay estimates he has taught more than 10,000 ophthalmologists in optics.

Dr Holladay added: “I wanted to create for them the same excitement I had about the optics of the eye that is such a miracle; get them to understand this miraculous device that allows us to interact with the world. Every day we perform a miracle on patients by restoring their vision. Within a few hours they can go from complete blindness to vision that is almost perfect. Most important, I am grateful for all the friends I have around the world in ophthalmology. I say to you thank you, thank you so much.”

Embracing Dr Holladay at the podium, ASCRS Foundation Chair Richard Lindstrom MD, Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, shared the warm feelings Dr Holladay expressed. “He is a friend, colleague and a true giant in the field. His tenacity, commitment and sheer brilliance have given us some of the greatest advances in all of ophthalmology.”