The 90-year-old cataract specialist surgeon Norman Jaffe, MD, has died, leaving a legacy of several major contributions to improving the vision and lives of people, as reported by Helio Ophthalmology.
Jaffe was one of the founders of the Jaffe Eye Institute, as well as the founder and president of the American Intraocular Implant Society.
However, one of his most remarkable contributions was the development of the artificial intraocular lense (IOL) implantation method. Norman Jaffe was one of the physicians that developed the IOL implantation technique, and was dedicated to instructing others in it while serving as clinical professor at the University of Miami.
In addition, he was among a limited number of surgeons that started conducting implantation as part of cataract surgery after first performing it in 1967. IOLs are artificial lenses that are placed instead of the natural lens in the eyes during cataract surgery. Prior to the method, which was approved by the FDA for the first time in 1981, patients would have to use thick eyeglasses or special contact lenses, given the fact there would be no artificial replacement for the removed natural lens.
After proving the effectiveness of the technique, Jaffe dedicated his career not only to conducting the surgery, but also teaching it to other ophthalmologists. Alongside his three sons, he introduced the method in the People’s Republic of China in 1988, conducting 23 cataract surgeries with IOL implants in front of an audience of 500 Chinese ophthalmologists.
Other highlights in his career included a nomination as heir of the Department of Ophthalmology at St. Francis Hospital between 1958 and 1983, as well as belonging to the American Academy of Ophthalmology since 1951. His contributions to the improvement of cataract surgery granted him an invitation to be a guest of honor during the 1997 annual AAO meeting and to join the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Hall of Fame in 2003.
The surgeon was born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York, and received his medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine. In addition to his work as surgeon, he also contributed to medical education, authoring hundreds of scientific papers, editing over a dozen textbooks, and hosting over thousand scientific lectures.