You are here

Gerd Meyer-Schwickerath, MD

  • Presented: 
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame


“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