UF COM alumni join ophthalmology department for annual Scientific Program Day

Pioneers in the field and up-and-coming researchers were celebrated at the UF College of Medicine’s department of ophthalmology annual Alumni Association and Residents’ Day Scientific Program.

The event, held June 17 at the College of Public Health & Health Professions, featured lectures by UF ophthalmology residency alumni S. Lance Forstot, M.D., and Maher Fanous, M.D., plus former UF ophthalmology professor George A. Stern, M.D. Five second-year ophthalmology residents and cornea fellow David Warner, M.D., also presented their research projects at the event.

(From left to right) Melvin L. Rubin, M.D., UF professor and chairman emeritus of the department of ophthalmology, talks with S. Lance Forstot, M.D., Peter J. Polack, M.D., and Christopher Polack at the UF College of Medicine’s department of ophthalmology annual Alumni Association and Residents’ Day Scientific Program. Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Forstot, who is an ophthalmologist in private practice in Colorado, was a 1975 UF ophthalmology resident who did a fellowship in corneal and external diseases in 1976 at the department. He presented the fourth annual Frank Polack, M.D., lectureship, entitled “The Diamond Burr Superficial Keratectomy: Origin, Utility and Results.” His talk detailed how he uses a diamond-tipped device to correct damage to the surface of the eye.

The lecture is in honor of the late Frank Polack, a longtime UF professor and world-renowned cornea specialist who died in 2007. He joined the university in 1967, later leaving full-time academic medicine in 1980 and entering private practice in Gainesville. Polack’s son Peter J. Polack, M.D., who is an ophthalmologist in Ocala, and grandson Christopher, 14, attended the event.

“His hands would just dance under the microscope,” recalled Forstot of Polack. “He was a great surgeon and a pleasure to watch.”

Fanous, an ophthalmologist in private practice in Gainesville, did a 1993 ophthalmology residency and a glaucoma fellowship at UF. He presented the second annual Bill Doyle, M.D., lectureship, entitled “The Express Shunt: My Personal Experience.” Fanous’ lecture was about his experience using a new type of shunt for glaucoma surgery.

The lecture is in memory of the late James William Doyle, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at UF’s College of Medicine and former medical director of the Eye Clinic at Shands at UF who died in 2008. Doyle received his doctorate in pharmacology in 1982 and his medical degree in 1987, both from UF. He also did his ophthalmology residency and a fellowship specializing in glaucoma at UF and joined the faculty in the department of ophthalmology in 1992. Doyle’s wife Mary Fran Smith, M.D., an associate professor of ophthalmology at UF, attended the lecture.

Stern, who now is in private practice Missoula, Mont., was a professor of ophthalmology at UF from 1979 to 1997. He gave a lecture, entitled, “Contact Lens Related Corneal Infections: What Have We Learned?” His talk outlined research done on the causes of corneal infections among contact lens wearers.

At the event William T. Driebe Jr., M.D., professor and chair of the UF ophthalmology department, extended an invitation to alumni to attend the graduation ceremony that evening for the five third-year ophthalmology students.

Next year’s event will mark a special milestone – the 50th anniversary of UF’s ophthalmology department. Herbert Kaufman, M.D., came to UF to begin the department in 1962.

The 50th anniversary of Kaufman’s arrival will be celebrated March 23-24, 2012. There will be an all day scientific program and a reception at the Presidents’ House that evening. Other social events will be scheduled for alumni and their families throughout the weekend.