News Release: Emory Healthcare , School of Medicine

Nov. 10,  2009

American Academy of Ophthalmology Honors Emory Eye Center Physicians

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) honored three Emory Eye Center faculty members and two associate faculty at a recent meeting. AAO is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, eye MDs, with more than 27,000 members worldwide.

"We are very proud that our Eye Center faculty have been recognized and honored with such prestigious awards," says Timothy W. Olsen, director of Emory Eye Center. "Individually and collectively, they have made important contributions to ophthalmology, in very different and important ways. We are proud to serve with such dedicated and respected professionals."

The following Eye Center physicians were honored:

Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr., MD, MSPH, the M.L. Simpson Distinguished Professor and Chair Emeritus of Emory Eye Center, was honored with the prestigious Schepens Lectureship and award. The lectureship honors Charles L. Schepens, MD, recognized as the "father of modern retinal surgery" by many. The award was established to ensure that Schepens's accomplishments are remembered and his vision perpetuated. In 2008, the Retina Research Foundation and the Schepens International Society established the Charles L. Schepens MD Lecture. The purposes of the Schepens Lecture are to honor the past, to celebrate the present and to facilitate future progress.

Aaberg's lecture - Is Surgery Still the Primary Management of Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy? - was presented on Oct. 23. As a result of this high award, Aaberg was presented with $35,000, plus $15,000 for research funding.

Aaberg served as chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Emory Eye Center director from 1988 until 2008. During that time, the department grew from some six physicians to 38 today along with 11 basic scientists and a total staff of 300. He developed a nationally recognized residency training program together with fellowship programs in eight clinical ophthalmological subspecialties. Aaberg has personally been involved in the training of 62 vitreoretinal fellows who are in academic or private practice throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, his reputation as a consummate retina physician and educator was established.

Aaberg was senior associate editor of the American Journal of Ophthalmology from 1982-2002, is past president of the Macula Society and past president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology. He holds memberships in numerous ophthalmology organizations, has given 38 named lectureships including the Edward Jackson Memorial Lecture, AAO, 1988, and The Hermann Wacker lecture, and Club Jules Gonin, 2000. Aaberg has 151 publications in peer-reviewed journals, has co-authored a textbook on vitrectomy and published 19 book chapters.

Aaberg's surgical and research activities have been the management of complicated retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy. His main career interest, however, has been that of teaching. He has been honored by receiving Clinical Teaching Awards by the residents at the Medical College of Wisconsin and at Emory University School of Medicine where the annual Clinical Teaching Award was named the Thomas M. Aaberg, Sr., MD Clinical Teaching Award in 2006.

R. Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD was presented the 2009 Life Achievement Honor Award for his contribution to the Academy, its scientific and educational programs and to ophthalmology. The award is based on a point system and approved by the Awards Committee and the Board of Trustees.

Stulting is an internationally known corneal and refractive surgery expert. He is the John H. and Helen S. Hughes Professor in Ophthalmology at Emory, the medical director at Emory Vision, Emory Eye Center's refractive surgery center, and director for the Section of Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery. He is the editor of the journal Cornea and is both a reviewer and editorial board member of several other journals.

Stulting was awarded the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Honor Award in 1989 and the FDA's citation for excellence, commitment, and outstanding service in protecting the public health as a consultant and a voting member of the Ophthalmic Devices Advisory Panel. He received the prestigious Paton Award from the Eyebank Association of America in 2005. Dr. Stulting has been principal investigator for a number of NIH-supported grants and has directed many clinical investigations. He has authored over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, published textbook chapters, taught courses for 20 years at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and lectured around the world. He is currently president-elect of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).

Hans E. Grossniklaus, MD, MBA was presented the 2009 Secretariat Award, which recognizes ophthalmologists for special contributions to the Academy and ophthalmology. Recipients are selected by the senior secretaries and secretaries in their respective areas and approved by the Board of Trustees. This annual award was developed to increase opportunities for ophthalmologists to be recognized for contributions that are outside of the scope of the current Achievement Award Program.

Nominees have provided service and effort out of proportion to other volunteers-service "above and beyond"-i.e., individuals who have contributed through outstanding organizational, management and/or administrative activities in support of the Academy and ophthalmology. This award is intended to acknowledge those individuals who made a difference in their efforts. Forty-seven individuals were so honored.

Grossniklaus is F. Phinizy Calhoun Jr. Professor of Ophthalmology, director of the nationally-respected L.F. Montgomery Pathology Laboratory and the Section of Ophthalmic Pathology/Ocular Oncology. He is a renowned physician with expertise in diagnostic ophthalmic pathology, ocular oncology, age-related macular degeneration and ophthalmic pathology research.

At the The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) and Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology (ATPO) ACE 2009 meeting, which ran concurrently with AAO meeting, the following Emory Eye Center associate faculty members were honored:

Lindy DuBois, MEd, MMSc, CO, COMT, was awarded the prestigious Lancaster Medal, an award bestowed to an excellent orthoptist by the AACO (American Association of Certified Orthoptists) in recognition of meritorious contributions to orthoptic excellence. It is a lifetime achievement award. DeBois has served at Emory Eye Center for more than 20 years. She has served as national and site study coordinator for numerous National Eye Institute (NEI) trials. She serves as the national coordinator for the Infant Aphakia Treatment Study, among other duties. She has published the text, Basic Bookshelf for Eyecare Professional series. In 2004 she was awarded the AAO's Achievement Award.

Donna Leef, MMSc, COMT, was presented the JCAHPO Statesmanship Award for a Commissioner, granted to a person who has manifested leadership through the support, training, and use of allied health personnel in ophthalmology and whose career has demonstrated dedication to the finest ethics and ideals of the ophthalmology profession. The award is bestowed in recognition of outstanding achievement for the health science of ophthalmology. Leef has served at Emory Eye Center for more than 20 years, where she is senior supervisor of clinical research in the Glaucoma section. She has coordinated several NEI studies and coordinates Emory's involvement in the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study. She has been involved with certification of all levels of Ophthalmic Medical Personnel for JCAHPO, having served as commissioner and committee chair. 


Emory Eye Center has a mission to conduct pioneering research into blinding eye diseases, to educate and train eye professionals, and to provide excellent patient care. The Department includes 38 ophthalmologists, eight optometrists, 11 basic scientists, 11 post-doctoral fellows, and nine researchers in other Emory departments who hold joint appointments in the Emory University School of medicine's Department of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology research is supported by current NIH funding of $20 million through 2010. The Department remains in the top rankings (#9 - 2009) by U.S. News & World Report for the 14 years the magazine has held a ranking for Ophthalmology. It also ranks in the Top Ten in the peer-reviewed Ophthalmology Times annual report. For more information, see


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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