January 7, 2005

Sternberg lecture highlights ophthalmology advances

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Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., left, and his mother Dorie Sternberg with Walter Stark, M.D., the first Paul Sternberg Sr. lecturer.

Sternberg lecture highlights ophthalmology advances

The inaugural Paul Sternberg Sr. Lectureship at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute began with a discussion of advances in anterior segment surgery — removing cataracts with a sutureless technique, managing complex cataracts and complications from the surgery, and concurrent cataract and glaucoma surgery — which will bolster clinical services at Vanderbilt.

Walter Stark, M.D., director of corneal and cataract services at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, delivered the lecture.

Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., George W. Hale Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and chair of the department, established the lectureship in honor of his father, Paul Sternberg Sr., M.D., who died last March at age 86.

The elder Sternberg was a Chicago native and an ophthalmologist in private practice for more than 40 years. He also helped train residents from the Michael Reese Hospital and the University of Illinois.

He received his bachelor and medical degrees from Northwestern University, and trained at the Michael Reese Hospital and the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, and completed fellowships at Cornell University and the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

"For as long as I can remember, my father emphasized the importance of education, and I recall many evenings when I would find him reading the latest ophthalmology journal with great concentration," Sternberg says.

"He always emphasized the importance of keeping up with the latest advances in his field, and, as a result, was one of the first to embrace microscopic eye surgery, intraocular lens implantation, and many of the other spectacular advances that he witnessed in our field."

Likewise, Stark is recognized as a national leader in corneal transplantation and intraocular lens implantation, as well as a pioneer for his work with the Excimer laser.

"Walter exemplifies what is exceptional about ophthalmology," Sternberg said. "He is a marvelous clinician and his patients love him, something that was often said of my father."

Dorie Sternberg said her late husband would have enjoyed the lecture. "Dr. Stark personalized the lecture, he made everybody in the family very comfortable," she said.

The younger Sternberg trained under Stark at the Wilmer Eye Institue. The elder Sterberg knew Stark well, and even went to him when he needed cataract surgery, Mrs. Sternberg said.

"I know my father would be thrilled that his legacy would be celebrated with an endowed lectureship in ophthalmology and my wife Gloria and I are pleased that we have been able to establish this in his memory," Sternberg said.