Hindsight, 1974: Dr. Douglas R. Anderson

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In 1974 the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology held our symposium with a focus on glaucoma, and one of our well-regarded speakers was Dr. Douglas Anderson.  Dr. Anderson’s passion in the field of ophthalmology has been his efforts to understand the mechanism of glaucomatous damage to the optic nerve.

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami, Dr. Anderson got his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.  He completed his residency in San Francisco at the University of California, and a glaucoma research fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

When asked by Glaucoma Today about his early research on the relationship between IOP and damage to the optic nerve, he stated:

When I entered the field of ophthalmology from a background that included early ultrastructural studies, I worked to understand the normal structure and cell biology of the trabecular meshwork and optic nerve. My efforts evolved into studies of the events during optic nerve diseases like papilledema, optic atrophy, and glaucomatous cupping. Gradually, with a clinical focus on glaucoma, my laboratory work became almost exclusively devoted to understanding the pathogenic process of glaucomatous optic atrophy—first, by determining that an elevation of IOP affected axonal transport and, later, by showing that this event likely related to the impairment of blood flow.

Dr. Anderson has held office in numerous committees and organizations in the field of ophthalmology, including the Optic Disc and Visual Field Reading Committee, and Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for the Normal-Tension Glaucoma Study (1988 to 1999), which received International Glaucoma Review Global Glaucoma Special Recognition in 2002.  He was also a Trustee of ARVO, 1983 to 1988; President of ARVO, 1987; recipient of Mildred Weisenfeld Award, 1997; and Chairman of the ARVO Committee on Ethics and Regulations for Clinical Research, 2001 to 2004.  He is the founding member of the American Glaucoma Society and President, 1990 to 1992; a recipient of the Hans Goldmann Medal, Glaucoma Society of the International Congress of Ophthalmology, 2003; and a recipient of the Georg von Bartisch Medal for Contributions to Glaucoma Research, 2002.

In 1992 Dr. Anderson founded Optos after his then five-year-old son went blind in one eye when a retinal detachment was detected too late. Although his son was having regular eye exams, they were uncomfortable, especially for a child, which made it impossible for the doctor to conduct a complete exam and view the entire retina. Anderson set out to commercialize a patient-friendly retinal image product that encompassed a digital widefield image of the retina in a single capture.

Dr. Anderson is currently the Professor of Ophthalmology and Douglas R. Anderson Chair in Ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine.

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