SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Russell N. Van Gelder, M.D., Ph.D., has begun his term as the 118th president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. Dr. Van Gelder, who was elected by the Academy's 32,000 eye physician and surgeon members, will hold the office for one year.
Dr. Van Gelder is currently the chairman of the University of Washington department of ophthalmology in Seattle, director of the school's Medicine Eye Institute and holder of the Boyd K. Bucey Memorial endowed chair. An active clinician-scientist, his NIH-funded laboratory has been at the forefront of research in non-visual ocular photoreception and molecular diagnostics of ocular inflammatory disease. In his role as president of the Academy, Dr. Van Gelder will represent the profession within the broader field of medicine and serve as ophthalmology's advocate-in-chief to officials and organizations at the state, federal and global level.
"This is an exciting time for ophthalmology as new treatments and clinical tools, which previously may have been thought of as pure science fiction, are now coming to fruition and showing great potential," said Dr. Van Gelder. "It is an honor and a privilege to serve my fellow ophthalmologists and their patients during this period of rapid innovation."
Dr. Van Gelder is author of more than 100 papers, articles, book chapters and books. He has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research, a Culpeper Foundation clinician-scientist award and the inaugural Physician-Scientist Award given jointly by Bernard Becker, M.D., the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology and Research to Prevent Blindness. Dr. Van Gelder maintains a busy referral uveitis practice and is actively involved in resident education.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology, headquartered in San Francisco, is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, serving more than 32,000 members worldwide. The Academy's mission is to advance the lifelong learning and professional interests of ophthalmologists to ensure that the public can obtain the best possible eye care. For more information, visit www.aao.org.
The Academy is also a leading provider of eye care information to the public. The Academy's EyeSmart® program educates the public about the importance of eye health and empowers them to preserve healthy vision. EyeSmart provides the most trusted and medically accurate information about eye diseases, conditions and injuries. OjosSanos™ is the Spanish-language version of the program. Visit www.geteyesmart.org or www.ojossanos.org to learn more.
SOURCE American Academy of Ophthalmology