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Theo Seiler, MD, PhD

  • Presented: 
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

“Dr. Theo Seiler is a true luminary in the field of ophthalmology. His pioneering work in the areas of corneal collagen crosslinking and excimer laser technology have dramatically advanced the fields of corneal and refractive surgery. He is certainly very deserving of this special honor.”

Terry Kim, MD
Professor of Ophthalmology
Duke University Eye Center

Professor Theo Seiler invented and pioneered the corneal collagen crosslinking procedure. His procedure has shown to strengthen the eye's clear surface through the application of riboflavin, a form of vitamin-B2, followed by treatment with ultraviolet light. He is also a world pioneer in laser surgery and was the first to perform the photorefractive keratectomy procedure in 1987. He is credited with being the first physician to treat a human eye using an excimer laser.

Dr. Seiler teaches general ophthalmology and is a specialist in corneal and refractive therapy, physiologic optics, lasers in ophthalmology, and anterior segment surgery. Born in Ravensburg, southern Germany in 1949, he studied medicine, mathematics, and physics at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin. From 1976 to 1980, Dr. Seiler served as a professor of physics at the Peter-Silbermann College in Berlin. However in 1981, he returned to medicine and began his residency at the Department of Ophthalmology at the Free University of Berlin, where he rose to senior assistant and lecturer in 1985 and was named a professor of ophthalmology in 1990. In 1993, Dr. Seiler was named professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Technische Universität of Dresden, which is a unique interdisciplinary center focusing on research and teaching. In 2000, Dr. Seiler assumed the position as professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. In October 2002, he founded the Institute for Refractive and Ophthalmic Surgery (IROC) in Zurich.

Dr. Seiler is a member of the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Swiss Ophthalmological Society, the American Society of Refractive and Cataract Surgery (ASCRS), the European Cornea Society, the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) and served as board member for the DOG, ISRS and EuCornea.

Dr. Seiler’s awards include the Binkhorst Award (ASCRS) 1994; the Barraquer Award (AAO) 1995; the Graefe Award (DOG) 1996; and the Honor Award (AAO) 1997. He was also chosen to present the ASCRS Charles D. Kelman Innovator Lecture in 2008.

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