Surgeon Dr. Robert Welsh dies

February 22, 2012

Robert C. Welsh, MD, believed to be the first U.S. surgeon to limit his practice to cataract surgery, died Jan. 8. He was 89.

Miami-Robert C. Welsh, MD, believed to be the first U.S. surgeon to limit his practice to cataract surgery, died Jan. 8. He was 89.

Dr. Welsh started the first ophthalmology department at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and helped build the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. He launched the Volunteer Eye Surgeons Association to provide care in developing areas in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, China, and Africa.

Dr. Welsh also developed the Welsh 4-drop lens and a portable microscope that surgeons could use to treat patients in rural areas. The U.S. military used the device in Operation Desert Storm.

With his wife of 50 years, Judi, a writer, he wrote eight books about cataract surgery and hundreds of articles in medical journals. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, a sister, and other relatives. A son preceded him in death.

Dr. Welsh received the Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Maumenee Gold Award from the Baylor College of Medicine.

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