Académie royale de Médecine de Belgique

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Séance à la mémoire du Pr Charles Schepens (28 novembre 2009)

THE OPHTHALMIC HERITAGE OF CHARLES L. SCHEPENS

par  Mme M.-J. TASSIGNON (Universiteit Antwerpen), invitée, et et M. F.J. VAN de VELDE, M.D. (U.Z Gent), invité.  

Charles L. Schepens (born in Belgium, 1912 - deceased in the United States, 2006) graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Ghent in 1936. He trained in ophthalmology in London, Utrecht and Brussels. During WWII he was a resistance leader in Southem France, an activity for which he received the “Légion d'honneur”. In the debris of the bombed Moorfields Hospital of London he created his fust binocular indirect ophthalmoscope. This instrument was to improve dramatically the outcome of retinal detachment surgery by allowing a careful observation of the retinal periphery where retinal tears are often difficult to detect. After the war, he established at Harvard Medical School the Retina Foundation, later called the Schepens Eye Research Institute. Teaching was inherent to his career : he trained over 300 ophthalmologists world-wide and published with them over 400 papers and books. Several advanced surgical and diagnostic techniques were developed in his clinic, including the scanning laser ophthalmoscope.

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