Hindsight, 1970: Edward A. Dunlap, MD

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Doctor Edward Dunlap was one of our faculty members in 1970, when our topic of interest was Strabismus.  Despite his humble upbringing as one of three children raised by a single mother in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Dr. Dunlap became a pioneer in the study of strabismus and a beloved chief of the Ophthalmology Division of Cornell Medical Center in NYC.

Despite the family’s circumstances Edward’s mother, Maud, managed to put her son through Westminster College during the Great Depression.  In 1935 he graduated from Western Reserve Medical School and after an internship in Panama, became Dr. John McLean’s first resident at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center.  His residency was interrupted by WWII and he enlisted and returned to Gorgas Hospital in Panama as an army physician.  After his tour of duty was complete, he returned to New York and finished his residency in 1946.

Though Edward was highly competent in all aspects of ophthalmology, where he shined was with treating strabismus, particularly in the cases of children.  He authored 69 publications on the topic, and his research led him to discover that the use of Supramid sleeves and caps in could be used as a solution to the scarring that occurs after multiple strabismus surgeries.  This idea was the subject of his American Ophthalmological Society thesis, which was published in the Transactions in 1967.

Following John McLean’s death in 1968 Edward became chief of the Ophthalmology Division of Cornell Medical, and remained there until his retirement.  During his time there he made a number of faculty appointments critical to maintaining the viability of the division, strengthened the Alumni Association, and preserved the McLean legacy at Cornell by sustaining the endowment of the John McLean Professorship and Chair.

To the residents who trained under him, Dr. Edward Dunlap was a fatherly figure who served as a friend and confidant, as well as a brilliant teacher of the art of ophthalmology.  He passed away in 2004.

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