ASRS 2023: Pyron, Founders, Crystal Apple, Young Investigators, Packo and Lifetime Achievement Award

Viet Chau, MD
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Miami, FL

Several awards were presented this year to recognize leaders in the field of retina who have made a remarkable impact. The session was moderated by Dr. J. Michael Jumper, MD, and Judy E. Kim, MD.

The first award was the Pyron Award to recognize outstanding vision scientists whose work contributes to knowledge about vitreoretinal diseases. The award was given to Dr. Eugene de Juan, MD who is currently a Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco. His contributions to ophthalmology include founding ForSight Labs, co-inventing and developing the first retinal prosthesis (Argus II), and spearheading advances in microsurgery including the introduction of 25-gauge surgery and the transconjunctival approach to vitrectomy.

The second award was the Founders Award to honor the Society’s founders. Dr. Johanna Seddon, MD received the award, who is currently professor at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at University of Massachusetts. Dr. Seddon is a renowned clinician scientist who spearheaded seminal advances in managing AMD and reported the first evidence that lutein, zeaxanthin, and eating green leafy vegetables reduced the risk of advanced AMD. She has led key clinical trials finding several genetic and environmental features can increase the risk of AMD.

The next award was the Crystal Apple Award that recognizes a member who has gone to great lengths to advance the education and professional development of young vitreoretinal specialists. The award was given to Dr. Prithvi Mruthyunjaya, Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiation Oncology at Stanford University. His introduction was brief as his contributions were later recognized at the Early Career Section session.

Next, the Young Investigators Award, which is an award to recognize a member 45 years or younger who has made substantial contributions to the field of retina that will potentially improve patients’ lives, was awarded to Dr. Aaron Lee, MD, who is currently an associate professor and vitreoretinal surgeon at the University of Washington Department of Ophthalmology. His work has focused on utilization of artificial intelligence and has pioneered the application of big data and computing techniques to break new ground in computational ophthalmology to accelerate medical discoveries.

The Packo Award, a recognition in honor of Dr. Packo whose leadership and innovations helped shape and advance ASRS, was given to Dr. Timothy Murray, who is the founding director and CEO of Ocular Oncology and Retina in Miami. He was an ASRS past president and ASRS Foundation past president, and has been on the Board for greater than 20 years. He helped develop an integrated Ocular Oncology service at BPEI/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and his practice provides national, international, and regional care for patients with life and sight threatening conditions.

The final award was the Retina Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award given to Dr. Steven Charles for his induction into the Retinal Hall of Fame, who is currently a vitreoretinal surgeon at the Charles Retina Institute in Tennessee. He was described as a true pioneer in the history of retina and as a living legend regarding his contributions to the field and his patients. He has performed greater than 45,000 vitrectomies, operated in over 25 countries, and has contributed several surgical technique innovations including internal drainage of subretinal fluid, endophotocoagulation, and retinectomy. He holds more than 200 patents, and is the Founder of MicroDexterity Systems and CamPlex.