Carl B. Camras, MD, died peacefully at home on April 14, 2009, after a long battle with constrictive pericarditis. Dr Camras was a world-renowned glaucoma specialist and research scientist. His most widely recognized contribution to ophthalmology was the development of the prostaglandin analogues for the treatment of glaucoma.
Born in Glencoe, Illinois, on November 23, 1953, Carl began his work with prostaglandins as an undergraduate majoring in biochemistry at Yale University. He discovered that, in contrast to what was believed at the time, prostaglandins can lower intraocular pressure if given in low concentrations. In medical school at Columbia University, with convincing data and much perseverance, Camras persuaded one of his professors to take on the prostaglandin project. In collaboration with many others, the topical prostaglandin F2α analogue latanoprost was developed. First approved in 1996, the prostaglandin analogues are now the most widely prescribed glaucoma medications in the world.
While pursuing the prostaglandin work, Dr Camras also completed his residency at the University of California–Los Angeles Jules Stein Eye Institute and a glaucoma fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He served on the faculty at Mount Sinai from 1983 to 1991, then he came to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Dr Camras became chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the year 2000 and led the department to new levels of excellence in research, teaching, and patient care. As a clinician and surgeon, Dr Camras attracted international referrals. As a teacher, he was so often recognized by his residents for his excellence that in 2008 they named the departmental teaching award in his honor.
But Carl Camras' extraordinary professional accomplishments are only a small part of what made him so widely respected. His colleagues and coworkers consistently marveled at his kindness and generosity. Young students and indigent patients were treated with as much regard as any famous scientist or wealthy business leader. Carl was a maximalist who strove for excellence in every aspect of his life, and he did so with honesty, integrity, and the greatest respect for others. The greatest tribute that we can give Carl is for each of us to do the same.
Correspondence: Dr Toris, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 985840 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5840 (firstname.lastname@example.org).