William Mieler, MDWilliam Mieler, MD, has been awarded the prestigious J. Donald Gass Medal by the Macula Society for outstanding contributions in the study of macular diseases.

“I want to sincerely thank the Macula Society for the honor of naming me the recipient of the Gass Medal,” Dr. Mieler stated.  “It is truly a remarkable honor, and I only hope that even a small portion of what Dr. Gass taught me in all aspects of ophthalmology, and life in general, has worn off on me, and that I can pass it on to future generations.”

The Medal honors the late J. Donald Gass, MD , widely recognized as the “Father of Macular Diseases” for his numerous clinical and scientific contributions during his illustrious career.  Dr. Mieler, who is a past president of the Macula Society, joins the company of an extraordinary group of retina specialists who have received the Gass Medal, including Drs. Alan Bird, Frederick L. Ferris, Alexander J. Brucker, Joan Miller and Lee Jampol (an alumnus of the Infirmary).

Currently, the Macula Society has 409 members, including many international members.  Members are selected via rigorous acceptance criteria, including extensive contribution to retinal literature. Members are invited based on their involvement in cutting-edge research and major clinical trials.

“I was incredibly fortunate to do my residency training at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in the early 1980s,” Dr. Mieler said.  “As a resident, I distinctly recall quickly establishing both Drs. Edward Norton and J Donald M Gass as my role models.  However, Dr. Gass in particular was instrumental in shaping my interest in entering the field of vitreoretinal diseases.

Dr. Gass was not only an incredibly skilled vitreoretinal specialist, though as importantly, he was a truly superb, remarkable individual.  He was so generous with his time, always willing to drop whatever he was doing and take a look at a patient, or provide support for a project.

“I distinctly recall the day that he knew my name, calling on me in fluorescein conference, without his secretary whispering my name into his ear.  I felt a sense of accomplishment,” he joked.

Dr. Mieler has a long and distinguished career as an expert in treating diseases of the macula, retina and vitreous. His primary research interests are ocular pharmacology, exploring drug delivery to the posterior segment of the eye (via thermoreversible hydrogels), uptake (and potential toxicity) of topical, periocular, and systemic medications, intraocular tumors and response to therapy and ocular imaging. He also conducts national clinical trials in the treatment of choroidal neovascularization and diabetic macular edema.  Dr. Mieler has led the American Board of Ophthalmology as its director, vice-chair and chair. He has over 315 peer-reviewed articles, and 65 book chapters. Dr. Mieler has edited or co-edited five textbooks and serves on the editorial board of more than 10 journals. He also serves as the ARVO Retina Section trustee and has served the American Board of Medical Specialties on a number of committees.

The presentation of the Gass Medal to Dr. Mieler was introduced by his wife, Jennifer Kang-Mieler, PhD, who made a video with clips from Dr. Mieler’s colleagues. Dr. Mieler expressed his gratitude to Dr. Kang and the friends and colleagues who contributed. “I was deeply moved,” he said.

“This honor is most deserved,” said Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, department chair.  “On behalf of the faculty, fellows, residents and staff of the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, I extend our congratulations to Dr. Mieler.”

Dr. Mieler recently returned  from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he gave the King Khaled Memorial Lecture at the Saudi Ophthalmology Society annual meeting. The SOS invites leading researchers and clinician scientists from the United States and around the world to share findings with Saudi Arabia’s ophthalmology community.  The King Khaled Memorial Lecture is the most prestigious event of the meeting.