A Brief History of the
American Glaucoma Society

The American Glaucoma Society was founded in 1985 with the stated purpose to "maintain and improve the quality of patient care primarily through improvement, exchange and dissemination of information and scientific knowledge pertinent to glaucoma and related diseases."

Although Drs. Douglas Anderson and Jonathan Herschler had organized the very successful Annual North American Glaucomatologists' Learning Ensemble (ANGLE) in the 1970s to provide in-depth focus on glaucoma research topics of mutual interest, insightful members of the glaucoma community felt that an additional forum for both clinical and scientific interchange among glaucoma specialists was needed.

In May 1984, Drs. Max Forbes and Bruce Shields began to discuss the concept of an American Glaucoma Society. Drs. George Spaeth and Richard Simmons subsequently were persuaded to join in formalizing this concept and help organize the American Glaucoma Society. Nine other leading members of the glaucoma community also were recruited to participate in this endeavor. An initial meeting of the group took place in Atlanta on November 11, 1984, at which everyone's full agreement and cooperation was established.

Dr. Simmons prepared a Constitution and Bylaws for the American Glaucoma Society, which was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on August 30, 1985. The thirteen founding members subsequently approved the Constitution and Bylaws in San Francisco, California, on September 29, 1985. The first elected officers included George L. Spaeth, President; Richard J. Simmons, Vice-President; Harry A. Quigley, Secretary; and John Hetherington, Jr., Treasurer. The new executive committee met in the Spring of 1986, at which time a list of invitations to sixty-nine charter members was compiled. In 1986, eighty-two individuals became charter members of the newly formed Society.

In honor and memory of Dr. Charles D. Phelps, one of the founding members and former chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa, who died in September, 1985, the first meeting of the American Glaucoma Society was held in Iowa City, Iowa, in June, 1987. Dr. M. Bruce Shields served as chair of the Program Committee for the Society’s inaugural meeting as well as the next four, and Dr. Stephen Drance delivered the first American Glaucoma Society Lecture. A Washington Hawthorne tree was planted in Dr. Phelps’ memory and still stands on the University of Iowa Medical Center campus, just outside of the office of the Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

In Iowa City, Dr. Spaeth quoted Sir Winston Churchill by stating that, "We are at the beginning of the beginning.” Twenty-eight years and twenty-three meetings later, the American Glaucoma Society has grown to include approximately 980 members and has become one of American ophthalmology’s premier and most influential subspecialty societies.

Thirteen Founding Members of the American Glaucoma Society

George L. Spaeth, MD

Richard J. Simmons, MD

M. Bruce Shields, MD

Max Forbes, MD

Douglas R. Anderson, MD

David G. Campbell, MD

John Hetherington, Jr., MD

H. Dunbar Hoskins, Jr., MD

Allan E. Kolker, MD

William E. Layden, MD

Charles D. Phelps, MD*

Irvin P. Pollack, MD

Harry A. Quigley, MD

 

Sixty Nine Charter Members of the American Glaucoma Society

Robert c. Allen, MD*

Jorge A. Alvarado, MD

Mansour F. Armaly, MD*

Frank S. Ashburn, Jr., MD

George S. Baerveldt, MD

Bernard Becker, MD*

Hugh Beckman, MD

C. Davis Belcher III, MD*

A. Robert Bellows, MD

Richard F. Brubaker, MD

Paul A. Chandler, MD*

John S. Cohen, MD

Marshall N. Cyrlin, MD

Gordon R. Douglas, MD, FRCSC

Stephen M. Drance, MD

David K. Dueker, MD

David L. Epstein, MD

Douglas E. Gaasterland, MD

Joseph S. Haas, MD

Thomas S. Harbin, Jr., MD

Sohan S. Hayreh, MD, DSc

Jonathan Herschler, MD

Elizabeth A. Hodapp, MD

B. Thomas Hutchinson, MD

Murray A. Johnstone, MD

Frederick M. Kapetansky, MD

Michael A. Kass, MD

Paul L. Kaufman, MD

Edwin U. Keates, MD

Theodore Krupin, MD*

Carl Kupfer, MD

Raymond P. LeBlanc, MD

Pei-Fei Lee, MD*

Ralph Z. Levene, MD*

Paul R. Lichter, MD

Alan I. Mandell, MD*

Wayne F. March, MD*

A. Edward Maumenee, MD*

Samuel D. McPherson, Jr., MD*

David W. Meltzer, MD

Donald S. Minckler, MD

Donald J. Morin, MD

Robert A. Moses, MD

Paul F. Palmberg, MD, PhD

Richard K. Parrish II, MD

Jonathan E. Pederson, MD

Edward S. Perkins, MD

Steven M. Podos, MD*

Ronald L. Radius, MD

Kenneth T. Richardson, Jr., MD

Thomas M. Richardson, MD

Robert Ritch, MD

Alan L. Robin, MD

Harold G. Scheie, MD*

Bernard Schwartz, MD*

Arthur L. Schwartz, MD

Marvin L. Sears, MD

Robert N. Shaffer, MD*

Jess A. Smith, MD*

Robert L. Stamper, MD

H. Saul Sugar, MD*

John V. Thomas, MD

E. Michael Van Buskirk, MD

Paul A. Weber, MD

Robert N. Weinreb, MD

Elliot B. Werner, MD

Jacob T. Wilensky, MD

Michael E. Yablonksi, MD, PhD*

Thom J. Zimmerman, MD, PhD*

*Deceased