June 4, 2008
Dr. Paul R. Lichter receives top ophthalmology award
Paul R. Lichter, M.D.
ANN ARBOR, MI - Paul R. Lichter, M.D., received the Lucien Howe Medal for his distinguished service to ophthalmology at the May meeting of the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS). The Howe Medal, first awarded in 1922, is one of the highest honors in the field of ophthalmology.
Dr. Lichter, a glaucoma specialist, is Chair and F. Bruce Fralick Professor of the University of Michigan Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He is also Director of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center.
In presenting the award, Dennis J. Robertson, M.D., representing the AOS, noted that recipients of the Howe Medal are “individuals who have made powerful marks on our ophthalmic heritage.” He cited Dr. Lichter’s service to professional organizations, his pivotal role in clinical studies involving patients with glaucoma, and his research on the genetics of glaucoma. “His leadership and tenacity helped spearhead a number of studies, including one that was uniquely dear to his heart, involving quality-of-life issues among glaucoma patients,” said Dr. Robertson, Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology at the Mayo Medical School. He also noted Dr. Lichter’s role in advancing ultrafast laser technology for eye surgery and his interest in genetic research, which led to the discovery of a genetic link between glaucoma and Nail Patella Syndrome.
Dr. Lichter’s leadership of the Department of Ophthalmology was recognized as well. As Dr. Robertson observed, “The department has continued to grow, not only with the addition of outstanding personnel, but also in the expansion of research space.” In his early years as chair, Dr. Lichter accomplished his goal of bringing together in one building the researchers and clinicians who worked from many locations across the U-M medical campus. His efforts culminated in 1985 with the dedication of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center. Today, Dr. Lichter is overseeing his second major building project, the expansion of the Kellogg Eye Center. In 2010, the expanded facility will open to serve the rapidly growing number of patients who will need advanced eye care.
Dr. Lichter was recognized for having authored over 200 publications and for giving numerous named lectures, including the 50th Edward Jackson Memorial Lecture. Dr. Lichter served as President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) during its centennial year, and has, in fact, been president of many ophthalmology organizations.
Dr. Lichter has served on the editorial boards of several major journals, including his tenure as Editor-in Chief of the AAO’s Ophthalmology. Dr. Robertson noted that Dr. Lichter wrote many “thought-provoking editorials,” never afraid to take on a controversial issue, and crafting clever titles to engage his readers in the editorial content.
Dr. Lichter is a Detroit native who graduated from Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills. He received his undergraduate, medical school, and ophthalmology residency education at the University of Michigan. Dr. Lichter completed his glaucoma fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco. He has served as Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences since 1978.
The American Ophthalmological Society was founded in 1864 to promote excellence in the field and to advance the art and science of ophthalmology. Since 1922, some 73 ophthalmologists have received the Howe Medal, named after Lucien Howe, a noted ophthalmologist who endowed several awards to recognize his peers, of which the AOS Howe medal is the most celebrated.