Dr. Carl Kupfer, an ARVO member for over 30 years, passed away April 7, 2011. He was appointed as the first director of NEI after the Institute was established by Congress in 1968 and stepped down from his position as director on July 15, 2000 at 72 years of age.

During his leadership of NEI, Dr. Kupfer served under six NIH directors and six U.S. presidents. He witnessed the NEI budget grow from $24 million in 1970 to more than $450 million in 2000. He also served short periods as acting director of the Fogarty International Center at NIH in 1988 and acting deputy director of NIH intramural research in 1991-1992.

Through his championing of controlled clinical trials, Dr. Kupfer leaves a lasting legacy of successes for the American people in ameliorating vision loss from a number of major eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma affecting millions of adults to retinopathy of prematurity affecting vision of infants.

Upon his retirement Dr. Kupfer said, "My journey at the NEI and the NIH has been richly rewarding. "As a scientist, clinician, and administrator, I have been wonderfully blessed with experiences that have brought me to the cutting edge of vision research. One of my most satisfying achievements has been helping to shape the direction of this research during the past 30 years.

The National Eye Institute and the entire vision research community have lost a pioneer.