About Us » FFB Funded Researchers
Gerald Fishman, M.D.
Dr. Gerald A. Fishman is currently Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, UIC Eye Center.
A graduate of Ohio State College of Medicine in 1969, Dr. Fishman pursued his internship training at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio from 1969 to 1970. He then completed a three-year residency training program in ophthalmology in 1973 and a one-year fellowship in ophthalmic pathology in 1974 at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary in Chicago. After joining the staff at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1974, as an assistant professor, Dr. Fishman spent the subsequent 34 years caring for patients and conducting investigations on various forms of hereditary disorders of the retina including, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and other night blinding diseases. He has authored or co-authored over 300 publications in major refereed scientific journals on these and other retinal diseases which often lead to blindness. He holds The Marion Schenk, Esq. Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, UIC Eye Center.
Dr. Fishman and his colleagues are one of 19 research centers throughout the country funded by the Foundation Fighting Blindness. They have focused their efforts in the areas of 1) the identification of molecular genetic defects in various hereditary retinal disorders; 2) clinical investigations of patients with macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and allied disorders; and 3) both electrophysiological and psychophysical testing of visual function in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and various forms of macular degeneration. These efforts have resulted in the discovery of new genetic defects that are responsible for different hereditary retinal disorders. Dr. Fishman and his colleagues have both identified previously undescribed retinal disorders and defined the natural history of visual loss in patients with various blinding retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Leber congenital amaurosis, Stargardt disease, and cone-rod dystrophy. They have also been instrumental in categorizing various subtypes of different juvenile onset macular dystrophies and correlating their expression with various genetic mutations. Dr. Fishman has also investigated the effects of various treatment modalities in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, such as the use of oral and topical medications to reduced fluid accumulation in the central retina which may occur in such patients. Topically applied drops were also found to substantially improve the presence of macular cystic lesions in a number of patients with a juvenile onset form of X-linked retinoschisis.
Dr. Fishman is a member of numerous professional and honorary societies including, among others, 1) The American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2) The Macula Society, 3) Cogan Ophthalmic History Society, and 4) Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
In May 2000, Dr. Fishman received the "Distinguished Faculty Award" from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He also received a "Golden Apple Award" for outstanding teacher in the Department of Ophthalmology on two occasions and was selected to "The Best Doctors in America" as well as listed in "Top Doctors in Chicago." He has presented numerous invited lectures throughout the country and has given three honorary lectures, the Alex Krill Memorial Lecture at the Chicago Ophthalmologic Society, 1983, the Marvin Henry Memorial Lecture at the UIC Eye Center, 1996, and the Paul Henkind Memorial Lecture at the Macula Society meeting, 2000.
In addition to his research and educational activities, Dr. Fishman has had the privilege of evaluating and counseling a large number of patients with various inherited and acquired retinal disorders. He is an advisor and lecturer for the Chicago Chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness since 1985 and a consultant to the Chicago Lighthouse for close to 25 years. Dr. Fishman also is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.