Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015

Dr. Charles Pavlin

The late Dr. Charles Pavlin

Dr. Charles Pavlin passed away suddenly in November 2014. Dr. Pavlin had an outstanding career as a clinician-scientist, and exemplified what a “general” ophthalmologist can accomplish with curiosity and determination to address a problem and develop a practical solution with major clinical significance.

Dr. Pavlin graduated in ophthalmology from the University of Toronto in 1973, and entered practice as a community ophthalmologist in Cabbagetown in Toronto, with a staff appointment at the Wellesley Hospital. During his first few years in practice, he managed many glaucoma patients, and developed some theories of the pathophysiology of glaucoma, which were at odds with the recommended standard at that time. He felt that ultrasound would be the ideal modality for investigating these theories. He decided to close his practice for six months and study ultrasound techniques under the mentorship of Dr. Jackson Coleman in New York.

On returning to Toronto, realizing that standard ultrasound did not have the proper penetrance needed to answer his questions, and in conjunction with Dr. Stuart Foster, a scientist at Sunnybrook, he developed the technique and instrumentation of high-frequency ultrasound – ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) – to image the anterior segment of the eye. They developed a commercially-available UBM machine which now has been a part of eye departments and ophthalmology offices worldwide. The machine was the method needed to develop Dr. Pavlin’s glaucoma theories, which now have become universally accepted.

Dr. Pavlin has been a staff ophthalmologist at Princess Margaret Hospital where his UBM technology had been critical in the management of ocular tumours, and also at Mount Sinai Hospital where he ran the ophthalmic ultrasound unit. Dr. Pavlin is a truly worthy recipient of the COS Lifetime Achievement Award. He will be missed tremendously.

Written by his colleague, and good friend, Dr. Jeff Hurwitz