Perspective

Ophthalmology world mourns loss of William Tasman, MD, FACS

William Tasman, MD, FACS, former Wills Eye ophthalmologist-in-chief and a pioneer of retinopathy of prematurity treatment, died March 28 at the age of 87.

A graduate of Haverford College and Temple University’s School of Medicine, Tasman served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology, and president of the American Ophthalmological Society and the Retina Society during his career. He was chief of the Wills Eye ophthalmology program from 1985 to 2007.

William Tasman

William Tasman

One of his crowning achievements was the development and advancement of treatments for ROP, according to his colleagues at Wills Eye.

Tasman was the first to conduct trials and publish papers regarding laser photocoagulation for ROP, which is now the preferred treatment, according to information from Wills Eye.

“Treating the eyes of these weak, fragile, premature babies is just about the hardest thing you can do in ophthalmology. It is heroic,” William E. Benson, MD, Tasman’s original medical partner, told Wills Eye.

During his tenure as president of the AAO, he was credited with helping physicians expand their knowledge by strengthening subspecialty days during the organization’s annual meeting.

David W. Parke II , MD, current CEO of the AAO, told Wills Eye that “few ophthalmologists of his generation have had a more profound impact” as Tasman.

According to his obituary, Tasman wrote The History of Wills Eye Hospital in 1980, with an expanded edition in 2002, and he trained 139 retina fellows and 476 residents during his time at Wills Eye.

Tasman is survived by his wife, Alice Lea, three children and five grandchildren. – by Rebecca L. Forand

William Tasman, MD, FACS, former Wills Eye ophthalmologist-in-chief and a pioneer of retinopathy of prematurity treatment, died March 28 at the age of 87.

A graduate of Haverford College and Temple University’s School of Medicine, Tasman served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology, and president of the American Ophthalmological Society and the Retina Society during his career. He was chief of the Wills Eye ophthalmology program from 1985 to 2007.

William Tasman

William Tasman

One of his crowning achievements was the development and advancement of treatments for ROP, according to his colleagues at Wills Eye.

Tasman was the first to conduct trials and publish papers regarding laser photocoagulation for ROP, which is now the preferred treatment, according to information from Wills Eye.

“Treating the eyes of these weak, fragile, premature babies is just about the hardest thing you can do in ophthalmology. It is heroic,” William E. Benson, MD, Tasman’s original medical partner, told Wills Eye.

During his tenure as president of the AAO, he was credited with helping physicians expand their knowledge by strengthening subspecialty days during the organization’s annual meeting.

David W. Parke II , MD, current CEO of the AAO, told Wills Eye that “few ophthalmologists of his generation have had a more profound impact” as Tasman.

According to his obituary, Tasman wrote The History of Wills Eye Hospital in 1980, with an expanded edition in 2002, and he trained 139 retina fellows and 476 residents during his time at Wills Eye.

Tasman is survived by his wife, Alice Lea, three children and five grandchildren. – by Rebecca L. Forand

    Perspective
    Richard L. Lindstrom, MD

    Richard L. Lindstrom, MD

    Bill Tasman was a major contributor to ophthalmology during a long and productive career. He was an extraordinary leader at Wills Eye Hospital for decades and served as president of AAO, AOS and the Retina Society. His work in retinopathy of prematurity was foundational. He remained active in AAO after retiring, writing many interesting articles for the Senior Ophthalmologists publication. I will especially remember him for the way his faculty, residents and fellows appreciated and respected his caring leadership.

    • Richard L. Lindstrom, MD, OSN Chief Medical Editor