Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

  • The History of Neuro-Ophthalmology at The University of Iowa

    The University of Iowa has had a college of medicine for 150 years, but it was not until 1925 that Ophthalmology was separated from Otolaryngology to become a department in its own right. This step was prompted in part by the plans to build a grand new University Hospital on the West side of the river. In 1925 Dean L.W. Dean recruited Cecil Starling O'Brien from Indiana to be the first head of the Ophthalmology Department.

    In 1938 O'Brien asked P.J. Leinfelder, one of his former residents, to head a neuro-ophthalmology section in the department. Leinfelder was one of a very small group of Americans including David G Cogan, Frank B Walsh, Donald Lyle, and Wilbur Rucker who were starting to publish papers on clinical neuro-ophthalmology, an area that was just beginning to be thought of as a subject worthy of legitimate full-time subspecialization. Leinfelder always thought of himself as a general ophthalmologist with an interest in neuro-ophthalmology. He was available to the residents and to the surrounding medical community for consultation on neuro-ophthalmic questions until he retired in 1978.

    In 1967, Dr Alson E. Braley, the retiring head of the department and the new head, Fred C. Blodi, hired H. Stanley Thompson as a neuro- ophthalmologist, and in 1968, ophthalmology residents started to do a 3 month full time rotation on the neuro-ophthalmology service.

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    Dr. Thompson Teaching Residents, 1968

    The University of Iowa Department of Neurology was founded in 1919 with Clarence Van Epps as Head. At the time there were only two other University Neurology Departments in America. Dr Van Epps was followed by Adolph Sahs who was head of the department until 1971. In the 1950's and early 60's Dr Blodi and Dr Van Allen had a fruitful research collaboration doing their pioneering work on the electromyography of the extraocular muscles.

    In 1977, the third head of the Neurology Department, Maurice W Van Allen, hired James J. Corbett as a neuro-ophthalmologist, and through 1990 Drs Thompson and Corbett worked together to run a 3-lane Neuro- ophthalmology Clinic, located in the Eye Clinic, 5 days a week.

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    Drs. H. Stanley Thompson and James C. Corbett

    Dr. Thompson took a special interest in the workings of the pupil of the eye, and Dr. Corbett became expert in pseudotumor cerebri.

    In 1989 Dr. Kardon joined the Ophthalmology faculty as a neuro ophthalmologist with a keen research interest in pupillary function, and Dr. Patricia Johnston joined the Neurology faculty to see headache patients and do neuro-ophthalmology.

    In 1991 Dr Corbett moved to Jackson, MS to become chairman of the Neurology Department at the University of Mississippi and in July 1991 Dr. Johnston joined the Carle Clinic in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, as a neuro-ophthalmologist.

    In September 1991 Dr Michael Wall joined the Neurology Department as a neuro-ophthalmologist, and the Neuro-ophthalmology Clinic was then staffed by Drs Thompson, Kardon and Wall.

    Since 1971 there has been a fairly steady flow of fellows working alongside the eye residents. All patients have been examined and staffed by faculty since 1977. Ramona Weber is our secretary for the Neuro-ophthalmology Service and coordinates administrative aspects of the fellowship.

    In June 1997, after 30 years on the faculty as a neuro-ophthalmologist, Dr. Thompson retired. He started to work on various historical papers and only returned to staff the clinic when coverage was needed.

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    1995-96 Fellow and Faculty
    Drs Thompson, Spiegel, Kardon and Wall

    In 2000, Dr. Andrew Lee came from Houston, Texas to join the Iowa Neuro-ophthalmology faculty and departed in March 2009 to become the Chairman of the newly created Department of Ophthalmology at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.

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    December 2002
    Top row: Dr. Stan Thompson, & visiting speaker, Dr. James J. Corbett
    Bottom row: Drs. Michael Wall, Randy Kardon, Andrew Lee, & Steve Goldin

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    Drs. Corbett, Kardon, Wall and Goldin at Clinical Conference, Dec.6, 2002


    In 2004, The Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic became
    The H. Stanley Thompson Neuro-Ophthalmology Clinic  

    In September of 2007, Dr. Steve Stasheff joined the Pediatric Faculty in Neurology and Pediatric Neuro-ophthalmology with a joint appointment in Ophthalmology. Dr. Stasheff also sees neuro-ophthalmology patients in the Ophthalmology Department with a special interest in Pediatric Neuro-ophthalmology

    In July 2008, Dr. Reid Longmuir (former fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology and then Glaucoma at Iowa) joined the faculty and functions as Neuro-ophthalmology Faculty at the University of Iowa and staffs both neuro-ophthalmology and glaucoma patients at the Veterans Hospital across the street from the University Hospital complex.

    In March 2009, Dr. Andrew Lee accepted a position to return to Houston as Chairman of Ophthalmology at Methodist Hospital. Dr. Lee still maintains an adjunct appointment with our Ophthalmology Department at Iowa.

    In December 2010, Dr. Matthew Thurtell was welcomed as our new addition to the Iowa Neuro-ophthalmology family and joined our Ophthalmology Department as Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in Neurology and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Thurtell trained in Neurology in Sydney, Australia under the mentorship of Dr. G. Michael Halmagyi, one of the most well known experts in ocular motility and the vestibular system. Following his residency, Dr. Thurtell completed a two year fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology with Drs. John Leigh and Robert Tomsak at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. During his clinical fellowship in Cleveland, Dr. Thurtell continued to develop his expertise in eye movement and in the visual afferent system, with special interest in the pathophysiology and treatment of raised intracranial pressure as it pertains to the visual system. Dr. Thurtell then completed a third year of Neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia under the direction and mentorship of Drs. Nancy Newman, Valerie Biousse, and Beau Bruce. Dr. Thurtell adds important expertise to our Iowa Neuro-ophthalmology Service in central and peripheral aspects of ocular motility physiology and pathology. He also continues his interest and expertise in the afferent visual system, including idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which follows a long history of interest in this area at Iowa by Dr. Michael Wall and Dr. James Corbett. With the addition of Dr. Thurtell, Iowa Neuro-ophthalmology represents one of the largest groups in the world dedicated to research, teaching, and clinical care of neuro-ophthalmologic disorders.

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    Former Neuro-ophthalmology Fellows

    1971 Paul Rutkowski, MD (Harrison, NY)
    1971 Ronald M. Zahoruk, MD (deceased)
    1975 Sydney F J Pilley, MB, FRCS (Vancouver, BC)
    1976 Jan S.C.Czarnecki, MD, FRCSC (Thunder Bay, Ont)
    1976 Bong Leen Chang, MD (Seoul, Korea)
    1977 Pierre Bourgon, MD, FRCSC (Fort Myers, FL)
    1977 Raymond A.Bell, MD, FRCSC (Victoria, BC)
    1977 Nancy Crickard, MD (Rochester, NY)
    1979 Thomas J. Zweifel, DO (Sheboygan, MI)
    1979 Joel M.Weinstein, MD (Madison, WI)
    1981 Terry A. Cox, MD, FRCSC (Chapel Hill, NC)
    1981 Denise Taylor, MD (St Louis, MO)
    1982 Jane Z. Portnoy, MD (Bala Cynwyd, PA)
    1982 David H. Zackon, MD, FRCSC (Ottawa, Ont)
    1983 Michael J Price, MD, FRCSC (Malden, MA)
    1984 Adeyinka O. Ashaye, FRCS(Glas), MBBS(Ib), DO(Dub), FWACS, FRCOphth (Ibadan, Nigeria)
    1984 Qi (Luke) Jiang, MD (deceased)
    1984 Paul Babikian, MD (Des Moines, IA)
    1986 Charles E. Maxner, MD, FRCPC (Halifax, NS)
    1986 F. Jane Durcan, MD (Salt Lake City, UT)
    1987 Mei-qi (Meggy) Jiang, MD (Philadelphia, PA)
    1987 Kathleen B Digre, MD (Salt Lake City, UT)
    1987 Daniel M. Jacobson, MD (Marshfield, WI)
    1989 Patricia K (Johnston) McNussen, MD (Urbana, IL)
    1989 Randy H Kardon, MD, PhD (Iowa City, IA)
    1989 Zbigniev Wszolek, MD (St. Petersburg, FL)
    1990 Gerard Hershewe, DO (Reno, NV)
    1991 Jason Barton, MD (Boston, MA)
    1991 Timothy Martin, MD (Winston-Salem, NC)
    1991 Pinar (Kirkali) Aydin, MD (Ankara, Turkey)
    1992 Aldo Fantín, MD (Santiago, Chile; Troy, MN)
    1992 Jonathan Calk(wood), MD (New Orleans, LA)
    1993 Aditya Mishra, MD (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
    1994 William N. White, II, MD (Warsaw, NY)
    1994 Sean P. Donahue, MD, PhD (Nashville, TN)
    1994 Richard K. Neahring, MD (Salem, OR)
    1995 Johane M. Robitaille, MD (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
    1995 Peter H. Spiegel, MD (Palm Springs, CA)
    1996 Michael L. Murphy, MD (Milwaukee, WI)
    1998 Anil D. Patel, MD (Oklahoma City, OK)
    1999 Syndee Givre, MD (Chapel Hill, SC)
    1999 Asim Kamal, MD (Mesa, AZ)
    2000 Fiona Costello, MD, FRCPC (Ottawa, Ontario)
    2001 Julie Falardeau, MD, FRCSC (Montreal, Quebec)
    2003 Steven Goldin, MD (Berkeley, CA)
    2004 Sonalee Kulkarni, MD (Indianapolis, IN)
    2005 Shannon Lynch, MD
    2006 Sandeep Randhawa, MD
    2006 Vinay A. Shah, MD (Kansas City, MO)
    2007 Reid Longmuir, MD (Iowa City, IA)
    2007 Jacinthe Rouleau, MD (Montreal, QC, Canada)
    2008 Michael C. Johnson, MD (Edmonton, Alberta)
    2008 Colin J. Scott, MD (Long Island, NY)
    2008 N. Troy Tagg, MD (Washington, DC)
    2009 Mansoor S. Mughal, MD (Houston, TX)
    2009 Fabiana C. Policeni, MD (Iowa City, IA)
    2010 Travis C. Rumery, DO (Ann Arbor, MI)
    2010 Yanjun "Judy" Chen, MD, PhD (Madison, WI)
    2011 Scott Haines, MD (Richmond, VA)
    2012 Alethia Pantazis, MD (Private Practice, Florida)
    2013 Kimberly Winges, MD (VA Medical Center/Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR)
    current fellows: John J. Chen, MD, PhD and Joey Brinkley, MD