Deborah Langston Becomes First to Receive Three Highest Honors in the Field of Cornea

October 14, 2016
Deborah Langston Becomes First to Receive Three Highest Honors in the Field of Cornea

Deborah Pavan-Langston, MD, FACS—Harvard Ophthalmology alumna and Professor Emeritus—received the Claes Dohlman Society Award at the Cornea Society/Eye Bank Association of America 2016 Fall Educational Symposium. This lifetime achievement award recognizes her excellence in teaching and contributions to the field of cornea and external disease. 

Dr. Langston is the first person to receive all three of the highest honors in cornea: the Castroviejo Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Corneal and Anterior Segment Disease (American Academy of Ophthalmology), the Phillips Thygeson Plaque and Lecture (Ocular Microbiology & Immunology Group), and now the Claes Dohlman Society Award. 

Before retiring in 2015, Dr. Langston spent nearly 50 years—first as a trainee and later as a clinician scientist and faculty member—working and studying at Mass. Eye and Ear/Harvard Ophthalmology. She was the first woman to complete Harvard Ophthalmology residency training, and the first woman to complete a Cornea Fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear, working under the expert guidance of Claes Dohlman, MD, PhD. After additional training in ocular virology and uveitis, she joined Harvard Ophthalmology in 1971, and two years later, was appointed the first woman director of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Cornea and External Disease Service. She attained the rank of Professor in 2009. 

Internationally renowned as an authority in ocular herpetic disease, she has made seminal contributions to the Department and to the broader field of ophthalmology through clinical care, research and teaching. Her clinical and laboratory research deepened our understanding of herpetic diseases of the anterior segment and greatly improved patient care. Notably, her research helped pave the way for three FDA-approved drugs now used to treat blinding corneal herpetic disease. 

A dedicated teacher for more than four decades, Dr. Langston played a vital role teaching and mentoring trainees at all levels.  

See also: Awards, Cornea