Experts Share With
Fuchs' Friends

What We've Learned From The Best

Fuchs' Friends have had an annual meeting since 2002. We have been fortunate to have heard an amazing parade of eye professionals. To date, here are our speakers and highlights of the knowledge they've shared with us. For a brief look at speech highlights, click on the links within the text.

Richard Eiferman, MD, Corneal Specialist, Louisville, KY -- Talked about Dr. Ernst Fuchs', the endothelium, corneal transplant surgery, and the new artificial cornea.

Michael Doubrava, MD, Corneal Specialist, Las Vegas, NV -- Corneal Transplant, structure of the cornea, Fuchs' Dystrophy.

Henry Edelhauser, PhD, Corneal Researcher at Emory University, GA, author of many journal articles, and recipient of many awards, including the Castroviejo Medal in 1999 -- Talked about the cornea, specular microscopy, and structure of the endothelium.

W. Barry Lee, MD, Eye Consultants of Atlanta, GA -- Discussed cataract surgery for Fuchs' patients, two types of artificial cornea and Dr. Hamilton's Georgia genetic study for Fuchs' Dystrophy.

Alan Kozarsky, MD, Eye Consultants of Atlanta, GA -- Discussed Fuchs' Dystrophy and corneal transplant, including the DLEK and related newer procedures.

Bruce Varnum, CEO GA Eye Bank -- Talked about eye banking and Dr. Castroviejo, from whom he received and still has one of the square transplants still holding strong since the 1960's.

Transcriptions of some of these presentations are available to members of Fuchs' Friends support group.

Ernest Fuchs (pronounced FOOKs) was born in 1851 and attended the University of Vienna. He was brilliant and eventually became Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of Vienna. He was very good at the microscope, and he sketched and described numerous syndromes which still bear his name. Fuchs' Dystrophy is one. In 1889 he wrote the Textbook of Ophthalmology, a definitive work, which is read even to this day and has been translated into many languages. Prof. Fuchs' saw many patients, traveled, wrote extensively, and continued to lecture even after he retired. He died at age 79.

Dr. Ramon Castroviejo (1904–1987) performed the first successful corneal transplant in the United States in 1941. (See note later about Dr. Zirm.) Dr. Castroviejo was boo'ed out of a doctors' conference in Chicago in 1947, EVEN THOUGH he had ten of his successfully transplanted patients there in the back of the room! Dr. Castroviejo's first patient was Sid Sklar, and the transplant was square.

To quote Sid Sklar, who was one of the ten patients at the Chicago meeting: "Doctor Castroviejo swore that he would, in light of what just happened, never teach any American doctors his technique. He held fast to this for many years to come. What a shame that, at that time, the American medical industry missed out on such valuable information due to their own short-sighted and narrow-minded stance."

Just to round out this information, the first corneal transplant in the world was performed by Dr. Eduard Zirm in 1905. If you Google Eduard Zirm, you'll see photos and learn much about his amazing work. Dr. Ernest Fuchs was born in 1851 and Dr. Eduard Zirm was born in 1863. They both attended the University of Vienna. Pretty interesting coincidence.


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Page updated July 15, 2005, by Dorothy
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