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Charles L. Schepens, M.D.

Recognized by many as the "father of modern retinal surgery," Charles L. Schepens, M.D. (born 1912) and a handful of ophthalmologists revolutionized ophthalmologic practice by combining clinical practice and eye research.

The Belgian-born Schepens began his training in mathematics, which led to his subsequent interest in ophthalmic instrumentation. In 1935, he received his medical degree and went on to train in eye diseases at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. The German invasion of Belgium in 1940 interrupted Schepens’s research. He became a medical officer in the Belgian Air Force and later escaped to France to became a distinguished leader in the French underground Resistance. After the war, he resumed his work at Moorfields.

In 1947, Schepens came to the United States as a fellow at the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Two years later, he established the first Retina Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1950, Schepens established the Retina Foundation at Harvard as a center for intensive investigation of the retina and allied conditions. Fifty years later, The Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, continues its commitment to vision research and training.


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