Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dr. Robert Morrison

It's not often one gets to meet an individual who has significantly influenced the way a profession is practiced, let alone help to invent a device that literally has changed millions of lives, but I had that very honor yesterday when I had to pleasure to spend time with Dr. Robert Morrison.  Dr. Morrison is a 1948 graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.  During the course of his very unique and successful career, Dr. Morrison helped to shape the way optometry and ophthalmology are practiced globally. You may ask what were his accomplishments and why haven't I ever heard of him?  I'll address the what first.  Dr. Morrison, working with scientists in Czechoslovakia helped to develop what is today's modern soft contact lens. As a young provider, Dr. Morrison had a keen interest in corneal physiology and contact lenses.  He was a pioneer in the fitting of PMMA lenses and did early research in orthokeratology that helped inform today's body of knowledge.  He also was a leader in the visual treatment of keratoconus, using toric contact lenses to help improve vision.  When he learned of a new polymer (HEMA gel) that was developed in Europe, he worked closely with chemists to perfect the optical quality of the material so it could later be employed as soft contact lenses.  

Always innovative and creative, Dr. Morrison didn't stop there, but he worked to develop toric soft lens designs and was the first to use what we call a "piggyback" lens, a soft contact lens with a rigid lens over it, to correct keratoconic patients.    Bausch and Lomb ultimately purchased the patent for the soft lens and as they say, the rest is history.  Throughout his very illustrious career, Dr. Morrison was called upon by royalty in Europe, movie stars, politicians and others to address their unique visual needs.  An avid tennis player, he managed to weave his love of tennis and eye care together often forging lasting friendships that have served both optometry and ophthalmology well.  He is very humble about all of his accomplishments, thus the reason many have not heard of him.

We've got a copy of his biography in our library and I would encourage our students to read it.  It's not often one person leaves a legacy of innovation, creativity and professional achievement.  Dr. Robert Morrison has done the optometric and ophthalmological professions and the patients we serve a great service and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ice Storm Hits Philadelphia

We've been without power at our Elkins Park campus since the monster ice storm hit the greater Philadelphia area Tuesday night. Many of us are still without power at home as well, including me. The local electric supplier is telling us we should expect to see electricity restored at Elkins Park by late tonight, but that is still just an estimate. We're keeping our fingers crossed that they are correct. In the meantime, I want to take the opportunity to thank our students, faculty, consultants and staff for their perseverance during this weather emergency. I especially want to thank those folks who have kept the clinical operations going smoothly at The Eye Institute and our satellites. As a health science teaching institution,Salus has a dual mission; as an educator of professionals-in-training and as a health care resource to the community. When making decisions on how to operationalize our dual mission student education and safety are always at the core of the decision making process.  We understand that many of our students, faculty and staff are still without electricity, internet, etc. and that creates a major inconvenience for those effected.  We also realize that exam and class schedules are effected as well. We will make it through all this just fine but it's going to take some additional patience and perseverance. As we move into next week, we all need to remain flexible and keep smiling. Academic and clinic schedules will be adjusted accordingly and we'll get the job done. These types of experiences tend to be bonding experiences for those who work through them collectively. Thankfully, we purchased a notification system a couple of months ago that enabled us to put out text, email and cell messages to everyone that signed up.  While not perfect, due to the nature of the emergency we've been able to keep folks informed based on the information we have. 

That's just the nature of the beast. So, thank you ALL for being understanding, professional and flexible. We all learn from these experiences so next time something like this happens our response can be even better. Hoping everyone is safe, warm and ready to hit it hard next week.