Accessibility Toolbar

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute 50th Anniversary Reunion & Scientific Meeting

Bascom Palmer 50th Anniversary Home Page


Victor L. Perez, MD, lead the medical team that performed the first modified osteo-odonto keratoprosthesis procedure (commonly known as the "eyetooth" surgery) in the United States restoring vision to a woman who had been blind for 9 years.


Victor L. Curtin, M.D., vitreo-retina specialist, founding medical director of the Florida Lions Pathology Laboratory and Eye Bank at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He was recruited by Dr. Norton to become the second faculty member in 1959.


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Palm Beach Gardens opened in 2006. This $22-million expansion includes research and education for Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.


BascomPalmer Eye Institute pioneered new treatment for retinal detachment caused by giant retinal tears.


Robert Machemer, M.D., vitreo-retinal specialist, performed the world's first pars plana vitrectomy in April 1970.


Ophthalmology residents, fellows and community ophthalmologists gather for educational presentations at the Berrocal Auditorium which was underwritten by Jose Berrocal, M.D., Dr. Edward Norton's first retina fellow The first retina specialist in Puerto Rico, Dr. Berrocal was the chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine for many years.


J. Lawton Smith, M.D., was recognized as one of the greatest neuro-ophthalmologists in the country. Founder of the Journal of Clinical Neuro-ophthalmology, Smith also created the neuro-ophthalmology course at Bascom Palmer shorlty after joining the faculty in 1962.


The Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Vision Research Center, located adjacent to Bascom Palmer Eye Insitute in Miami, houses the vision research and training components of the Institute.


Bascom Palmer's annual Curso Inter-Americano is designed for practicing ophthalmologists in Latin America and the Caribbean, to provide maximum emphasis on practical approaches to clinical problems. Held in Miami following the AAO meeting, more than 500 ophthalmologists gather from 30 countries to benefit from the knowledge and expertise shared by the outstanding guest faculty and the faculty of Bascom Palmer.


Glaucoma specialist and editor of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Atlas of Ophthalmology, Richard K. Parrish II, M.D., became the third chairman for Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1996.


Vitreo-retinal specialist, J. Donald M. Gass, M.D., joined the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute faculty in 1963 and was known as the "Father of Macular Diseases." His classic textbook Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment is in its fourth edition. He was voted one of the 10 most influential ophthalmologists of the 20th century.


Mary Lou Lewis, M.D., vitreo-retinal specialist, became the first female faculty member at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in 1972.


The first residency class in 1962 with Drs. Victor Curtin and Edward Norton, far left and far right in front row. Between them are Drs. Norman Sanders and Bernd Silver; in the back are Drs. James Major, Norman Ballin and Robert Mickatavage.


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's oculoplastics services gets its start in 1986 with the arrival of David T. Tse, M.D., oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He is seen here performing an eyelid procedure in 2003.

John T. Flynn
John T. Flynn


John T. Flynn, M.D., pediatric ophthalmologist, dedicates his career to restoring vision and preventing vision loss from retinopathy of prematurity. He is the 5th faculty member recruited to Bascom Palmer in 1965.


Philip J. Rosenfeld, MD, PhD, introduced bevacizumab (Avastin) for the treatment of retinal diseases including usage for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and venous occulusive disease and revolutionized how these diseases were managed.

John G. Clarkson
John G. Clarkson


John G. Clarkson, M.D., served as Bascom Palmer's second chairman until he was appointed dean and senior vice president for medical affairs for the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1996.


Vittorio Porciatti, D.Sc., neuro-scientist, electrophysiologist, biophysicist and research professor of ophthalmology, was named director and vice chair of research of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Vision Research Center.


Cornea specialist and leading authority on endophthalmitis, Richard K. Forster, M.D., served as Bascom Palmer’s interim chairman from 1999-2001.


After joining the faculty in 1985, vitreoretinal specialist Janet L. Davis, M.D., focused on ocular inflammatory diseases. She quickly became a leader in the fight to save sight in AIDS-related eye disease.

Bascom Palmer Vision Van


Bascom Palmer's Vision Van has been dispatched to offer ophthalmic care to the victims of natural disaster victims in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and Sendai, Japan following their 2011 earthquake and tsunami.


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami is comprised of 3 interdisciplinary components: Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Vision Research Center; and the Edith and Earl Retter Education Center.


Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been ranked the #1 eye hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report for 8 consecutive years.


Biomedical engineer and biophysicist, Jean-Marie Parel, Ph.D., Ing. ETS-G, holds 44 patents for his inventions, has developed more than 200 ophthalmic instruments and devices and continues to contribute significantly to the advancement of vision research at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.


Founding 5 Bascom Palmer Eye Institute ophthalmologists Seated: J. Lawton Smith, M.D., J. Donald M. Gass, M.D., Victor T. Curtin, M.D., Standing: John T. Flynn, M.D. and Edward W.D. Norton, M.D.


Bascom H. Palmer, M.D., moves to Miami to open his practice in 1923. While he did not live to see his dream of building an eye institute, his spark had ignited the imaginations of many and his torch was passed to others who would take up his cause.


Co-inventor of optical coherence tomography, Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., M.B.A., is named Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's fifth chairman in 2001.

Learn more about Bascom Palmer's history. Watch the video.


Glaucoma specialist, Douglas Anderson, M.D., coating a specimen for electron microscopy scanning.


Edward W.D. Norton, M.D., founder of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, served as chairman for 33 years. His greatest asset is said to have been hiring stellar physicians and scientists and then supplying them with the tools to flourish.


Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., known for his clinical expertise and pioneering research in eye diseases, corneal surgery and ocular microbiology, was named Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's new chairman in 2007.

Scroll over the images to learn more about some of the people and events that have shaped Bascom Palmer Eye Institute's 50-year history.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
50th Anniversary Scientific Meeting
View meeting highlights

Reserve your seat today!

A Message from Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology

Dear colleague,

More than 600 ophthalmologists and vision scientists from around the world, including 300 of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute’s alumni, attended our 50th Anniversary Scientific Meeting on February 2, 3 and 4. This unprecedented meeting – or as it became known – our family reunion was a blockbuster!

We celebrated 50 years of excellence, having ensured Dr. Bascom H. Palmer’s ambitious dream to create an eye hospital and research and education center unlike any other. The meeting’s success is due to the participation of many who were able to join and so many more who could not do so. We were thrilled to see all of the attendees engage in discussion and questions with the speakers and fellow participants throughout the three days of the conference.

The enthusiastic contribution of Bascom Palmer alumni, faculty, fellow ophthalmologists, colleagues and friends of the Institute helped make the scientific meeting an exciting and memorable tribute to our first 50 years. As we look to the future, I hope to see you often this year, and to always welcome you back to your second home – the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Very best regards,

Dr. Alfonso Signature

Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D.

Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine