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Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath, MD

  • Presented: 
    2001
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

(1920-1992)

“He himself had great and brilliant ideas and was able to pick up ideas from others and, together, come to better results.”
—Norbert Bornfeld, MD

German ophthalmologist Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath trained and worked in Munster, Hamburg, and Bonn before being appointed professor and director of the University Eye Clinic in Essen in 1959, a position he would hold for 25 years. After seeing the effects of a solar eclipse on the retina of a student, Meyer-Schwickerath began looking for a way to use light to purposely coagulate retinal tissue. He experimented with natural sunlight and a heliostat and then a carbon arc lamp before Zeiss developed the xenon photocoagulator for him. Even this light source would later be replaced by the first ophthalmic lasers. Meyer-Schwickerath’s invention of photocoagulation revolutionized the treatment of retinal tears, macular holes, diabetic retinopathy, and other problems of the retina and macula. A brilliant educator, he was also the first to take flash photographs of the fundus, laying the foundations for later angiography techniques. Accepting the award on behalf of Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath: Rolf Meyer-Schwickerath, MD