Frederick C. Blodi, MD

  • Presented: 
    2015
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

1917-1996

“Dr. Frederick Blodi had many talents and made abundant contributions to ophthalmology nationally and internationally. He was a respected ophthalmic pathologist, an adept administrator who built one of the great Departments of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, a determined translator of medical textbooks and a brilliant editor of major ophthalmic journals. But most of all Dr. Blodi will be remembered as the consummate teacher.”

Edward J. Holland, MD
Program Chair, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

The namesake of the FC Blodi Eye Pathology Laboratory at the University of Iowa’s Department of Pathology, Dr. Frederick C. Blodi died on October 30, 1996 while the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting was being held in Chicago. He was a recognized expert in ophthalmic pathology, a skilled diagnostician, and an accomplished surgeon. Dr. Blodi was best known for his teaching skills—from medical book editing to thoughtful lecturing.

During his time with the University of Iowa’s Department of Ophthalmology, more than 160 residents and 120 fellows were trained—with a notable amount deciding to work in academia. The then-head of the University of Iowa’s Department of Ophthalmology, Alson E. Braley, MD, invited Dr. Blodi to the university in 1952. Dr. Blodi began his career with the University of Iowa’s Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant professor in 1952 and was named department head in 1967.

A colleague, H. Stanley Thompson, MD, said, "During the years of Dr. Blodi’s leadership (1967-1984), the [University of Iowa’s] Department of Ophthalmology’s reputation was enhanced as one of the very best places in the world to learn ophthalmology."

Dr. Blodi received his doctorate from the University of Vienna, School of Medicine in 1940. Born in Vienna, he served internships and residencies in pathology and ophthalmology during WWII. He was imprisoned near the end of the war for activities against the Third Reich and was liberated from prison by Allied troops.

After moving to the United States in 1947, Dr. Blodi became a research fellow of the World Health Organization at New York’s Institute of Ophthalmology. He explored his interest in ophthalmic pathology and was a student of 2006 ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame honoree, the late Algernon B. Reese, MD (1896-1981). It was in 1950 that Dr. Blodi was certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He was the first foreign-trained ophthalmologist to sit on the American Board of Ophthalmology and served as its chairman in 1975. In addition to being a honorary member of ophthalmic societies throughout the world, Dr. Blodi served as Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology president in 1982 and AAO president in 1979.

In 1980, while serving as chief editor of the Archives of Ophthalmology, he received the Lucien Howe Medal of the American Ophthalmological Society.