Laser surgery education gets $1 million boost

August 29, 2012
Ophthalmology Times Staff Reports

Ophthalmologists will have a new way to learn about advances in laser surgery next year, thanks to a $1 million donation made to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

San Francisco-Ophthalmologists from around the world will have a new way to learn about advances in laser surgery next year, thanks to a $1 million donation made to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

The gift, from Charles R. Munnerlyn, PhD, and Judith G. Munnerlyn, is one of the largest in the organization’s history, according to the AAO. The organization will use the funds to establish the Web-based Dr. Charles R. and Judith G. Munnerlyn Laser Surgery Education Center and the Munnerlyn Endowment Fund that will be used to maintain it.

The new center’s virtual skills transfer program and educational resources in basic science principles, advances in laser surgery technology, systems-based patient safety programs, and pre- and postoperative care and management will be part of the offerings of the AAO’s Ophthalmic News and Education Network, also known as the ONE Network. They are expected to be available in 2013.

“The knowledge that will be created from these funds, combined with the technology to dispense it to ophthalmologists around the world, will have a direct and immediate impact on the quality of care received by patients on a global basis,” said David W. Parke II, MD, chief executive officer (CEO) of the AAO.

Dr. Munnerlyn is a member of the advisory boards of the Foundation of the AAO and the Optical Society of America. He founded and formerly was CEO of VISX Inc. (now part of Abbott Medical Optics).

He is credited with developing the first autorefractor and the first excimer laser for vision correction. He also introduced what is now known as the Munnerlyn Formula, which dictates the amount of corneal tissue to be removed by the laser to correct vision disorders such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Dr. Munnerlyn's additional contributions to ophthalmology include early work in the development of photocoagulation and pulse YAG laser systems for vision correction.

“The [AAO] plays a critical, global role in the advancement of ophthalmic knowledge," he said. “This gift to the [AAO] supports our personal and lifelong commitment to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from visual impairment.”

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