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December 2007

J. Clement McCulloch, MD, FRCSC (1914-2007)

Arch Ophthalmol. 2007;125(12):1719. doi:10.1001/archopht.125.12.1719

Clement McCulloch was born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada, on December 14, 1914. He was a silver medalist in mathematics before he entered the faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto.

After spending time in family practice in Toronto and St Catharines, he settled on ophthalmology, doing a 3-year residency with Phillips Thygeson at Columbia University's Presbyterian Hospital in New York, New York. Clem then served 4 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, researching the psychophysics of high-level flying and the optics of night vision.

In 1947, Clem was appointed head of ophthalmology at the Toronto Western Hospital; after 15 years there, he was appointed professor and chair of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto. During his 21-year tenure, 144 residents were trained.

Clem was a pioneer in ophthalmic microsurgery. With an ear, nose, and throat colleague, he purchased a surgical microscope and taught himself to do cataract surgery under its magnification, which was deemed unnecessary by many contemporaries who were quite content with loupes and silk sutures. Along with members such as Heinrich Harms, Günter Mackensen, Dermot Pierse, Joaquin and Jose Barraquer, Richard Troutman, and Michel Mathieu, Clem founded the International Ophthalmic Microsurgical Study Group, a group of 40 who explored all aspects of instrumentation, techniques, and education of peers in the use of the then-revolutionary technology of stereoscopic surgical magnification.

Clem had a passion for research and could discuss all areas of ophthalmology—the cornea, retina, and zonule of Zinn (his thesis for the American Ophthalmological Society) and, of course, cataract surgery. He was one of the first corneal transplant surgeons in Toronto, a soft-spoken teacher with a brilliant mind, loyal and supportive to his staff members.

In retirement, Clem followed his passion for golf, even managing a golf course in Magnetawan, Ontario. When he was no longer able to write, he dictated notes to his daughter on subjects such as physics, astronomy, and mathematics.

Clem was the first Canadian president of the American Ophthalmological Society and the 1971 president of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, from which he received a lifetime achievement award in 2006. Clem passed away January 10, 2007, and will be greatly missed by his family and colleagues. We, his friends, established the Clement McCulloch Lectureship held each year at the University of Toronto Annual Research Day. Clem was one of the lecturers. This lectureship will now continue to honor him forever.

Correspondence: Dr Dixon, Department of Ophthalmology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Ave, Ste M1-302, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada (william.dixon@sunnybrook.ca).