Alice R. McPherson, MD, a Harvard Ophthalmology alumna and one of the world's leading vitreoretinal specialists, has been recognized with the inaugural Retina Hall of Fame Award for her pioneering contributions in the retina field. Dr. McPherson received the award at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in San Francisco. The Retina Hall of Fame promotes advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of retina disorders.
Dr. McPherson has helped lead the way for both the advancement of the retina field and women in ophthalmology. After earning bachelors and medical degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where she also completed an ophthalmology residency, she was one of the first fellows of Charles L. Schepens, MD, at Mass. Eye and Ear, and the first-ever female vitreoretinal fellow. Upon completing her fellowship in 1959, Dr. McPherson founded the retina service at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1960 and became the first full-time female retina specialist in the United States.
She has made innumerable contributions to the study and treatment of retinal disease. She pioneered several procedures that are now accepted as basic elements in the treatment of retinal disease, including scleral buckling procedures, cryotherapy, and xenon arc and laser photocoagulation.
Dr. McPherson is the founder of the Retina Research Foundation (RRF) in Houston, Texas, and the McPherson Eye Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Under her leadership as president and scientific adviser, the RRF has funded more than 1,000 grants and helped to launch the careers of many major vision researchers in the United States and abroad.
A Professor of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine, she has trained more than 100 fellows, written more than 70 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, and lectured around the world.
The recipient of numerous honors, Dr. McPherson has applied her knowledge and leadership acumen to many professional organizations, including as president of The Retina Society and second Vice President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In the 1960s, she was the first American woman to be accepted into the prestigious European Club Jules Gonin. And in 2014, she reached another pinnacle in her career, when she was selected to receive the Jules Gonin Medal—one of the most prestigious medals in ophthalmology.