Press Release

Mark S. Blumenkranz, M.D., Delivers Jackson Memorial Lecture at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting


STANFORD, CA (December 2, 2013) – Mark S. Blumenkranz, M.D., H.J. Smead Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine, delivered the prestigious Jackson Memorial Lecture on November 17th during the opening session of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in New Orleans. Blumenkranz, who is also Director of the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford, titled his talk, "The History and Evolution of Lasers in Ophthalmology:  A Review of the Interactions Between Physicians, Patients and Photons." The lecture will be published in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

The Jackson Memorial Lecture, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year, is considered the premier lectureship in ophthalmology. In his comments, Blumenkranz discussed the progression of lasers in ophthalmology from their early development in the 1960s and 1970s, including contributions by Stanford University faculty, to more recent contributions in the area of retinal and cataract applications.

"Dr. Blumenkranz's innovations in ophthalmology have resulted in new treatments that improve the lives of patients at Stanford and around the world," said Amir Dan Rubin, president and chief executive officer, Stanford Hospital & Clinics. "He has also been a leader in delivering leading edge and coordinated care that is highly patient-centered. We are extremely pleased to see Dr. Blumenkranz receive this well-deserved recognition from his peers at the American Academy of Ophthalmology."

Blumenkranz was an early innovator in vitrectomy techniques to treat complex forms of retinal detachment, and helped to usher in the modern era of intravitreal and surgical adjuvant drug therapy with laboratory and clinical studies identifying 5- fluorouracil and low molecular weight heparin as potent agents to inhibit ocular scarring. These studies led to subsequent trials for these agents in glaucoma and proliferative vitreoretinopathy. He was a member of the groups that first reported the herpetic etiology and successful acyclovir treatment of acute retinal necrosis, the use of bio-erodable polymers to deliver intraocular steroids for macular edema and published the first human safety study of ranibizumab (Lucentis). He introduced the technique of patterned automated laser scanning of the retina for diabetic retinopathy which has been used on more than one half million patients world wide since its introduction in 1995 and was an outgrowth of his laboratory collaboration with Daniel Palanker also of Stanford, and was an inventor along with Dr. Palanker in the technique of femtosecond laser assisted cataract surgery.

A leading expert in disorders of the retina and macula including age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachments, Blumenkranz has published more than 145 papers in peer-reviewed journals and multiple book chapters, abstracts and patents in the field. He is a past president of the American University Professors of Ophthalmology, the Retina Society and the Macula Society, and serves as a Fellow of the Corporation of Brown University where he chairs the Medical School Committee. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, Retina, Ophthalmology and Graefe's Archives forphthalmology and received multiple awards for his work including the Heed Award, The Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Pyron Award amongst others.

Prior to joining Stanford, Blumenkranz was the founding director of the vitreoretinal fellowship program at William Beaumont Hospital and worked for Associated Retinal Consultants in Royal Oak, Michigan. He received his undergraduate, graduate and medical education at Brown University, residency training at Stanford University, and participated in a fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, where he also served on the faculty for five years.

The Jackson Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of Edward Jackson, M.D. (1856 to 1942). Jackson was dedicated to the education and training of ophthalmologists and had a tremendous impact on the specialty—from popularizing retinoscopy to helping found both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

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