Past, present visionaries inducted into ASCRS Hall of Fame

April 22, 2012

The ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame, which honors the careers and contributions of pioneers who have shaped the profession and patient care, inducted Louis Braille and Jack T. Holladay MD, MSEE, as its newest members.

Chicago-The ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame, which honors the careers and contributions of pioneers who have shaped the profession and patient care, inducted Louis Braille and Jack T. Holladay MD, MSEE, as its newest members.

Braille, born in 1793, became blind as a result of a childhood injury and was motivated to develop his dot-based coding method to allow the blind to read and write because of frustration with an existing system. He also developed a system for annotating music. His work and dedication brought literacy to the blind and reflected his perspective that “access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge.”

The Hall of Fame trophy honoring Braille will be kept at the Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA. Kim Charlson, director of the school’s Braille & Talking Book Library, accepted the award.

“I am here representing all Braille readers for the last 150 years who owe their literacy and their independence to the vision of Louis Braille,” Charlson said.

“Your recognition of Louis Braille and the contribution he has made with his work to the lives of blind people is immeasurable,” she said. “I thank you and I commend you for your foresight in recognizing the contributions of Louis Braille.”

Introducing Dr. Holladay, Richard L. Lindstrom, MD, commented that Dr. Holladay’s tenacity, commitment, and brilliance have given some of the greatest advances in all of ophthalmology. Dr. Holladay is recognized for inventing the Brightness Acuity Tester and developing the Holladay IOL Consultant to improve IOL power calculation in routine and complex cataract surgery cases. He is the primary inventor on a dozen patents, a prolific writer, and a respected teacher who introduced numerous concepts that have advanced patient care.

Accepting the award, Dr. Holladay said that as he reminisced over his past 37 years in ophthalmology and about having had to retire in 2010 after a serious health event, what he thinks about most are not his patents and papers, but his experience teaching.

“I have been fortunate to have roughly 10,000 ophthalmologists that I can count who have been in one of my optics courses, and that has given me so much gratification,” said Dr. Holladay, clinical professor of ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. “But at the same time, my whole goal was to create for them the excitement I had about optics of the eye, which is such a miracle.

“I am very proud to be here today and so honored for that, and I am so grateful for all of the friends I have around the world, which ophthalmology has allowed me to have,” he said. “Thank you so much for this wonderful honor.”

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