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David J. Apple, MD

  • Presented: 
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame


“Fundamentally, Dr. Apple pioneered the field of pathology of ophthalmic devices. His contributions are simply invaluable.”
—Douglas D. Koch, MD Professor and Allen, Mosbacher and Law Chair in Ophthalmology Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Apple is professor of ophthalmology and pathology and director of the Laboratories for Ophthalmic Devices Research at the John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. A native of Illinois, Dr. Apple did his undergraduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, where he graduated in 1966. He served his internship and residency in pathology at Louisiana State University and Charity Hospital in New Orleans. In 1970, he completed a National Institutes of Health–sponsored post-residency in ocular pathology under Lorenz E. Zimmerman, MD, at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Apple used his training and skills as both an ophthalmologist and pathologist to investigate the impact of intraocular lens implantation on the eye. His work profoundly influenced the design, manufacturing, and surgical implantation of this innovative device. His work also led to new understanding of surgical techniques in areas such as capsulorhexis, hydrodissection, cortical cleanup, and dealing with the posterior capsule. He trained a generation of ophthalmologists (known as the Apple Corps) who have continued the tradition of bringing scientific discipline to understanding cataract and refractive surgery. Dr. Apple has published extensively, including peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters, and texts, as well as more than 600 publications that document and disseminate his findings. He has delivered more that 1,300 lectures throughout the world to improve the understanding of other ophthalmologists about the impact of their surgical techniques on the eye. Most recently, he wrote a book that succeeds in capturing the personality and contributions of Sir Harold Ridley, the first surgeon to implant an intraocular lens. Among his many honors are the Binkhorst Medal (1988) and the Charles D. Kelman Innovator’s Award (2005). He is the only American to have been selected to give the European Guest lecture at the highly respected Oxford Ophthalmological Congress, Oxford (1998). Dr. Apple is a fellow of the American Ophthalmological Society. In 2003, he was elected to the German Academy of Research in the Natural Sciences, which is the equivalent of the American Academy of Sciences.