Charles D. Kelman, MD

  • Presented: 
    1999
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

"Charlie Kelman was a very remarkable person in that he fought against all the odds and developed this technique which absolutely revolutionized cataracts . . . it certainly altered my career dramatically."
-Robert Sinskey, MD

Charles Kelman pioneered cryoextraction of cataracts and the use of freezing for the repair of retinal detachments, but he is best known as the father of phacoemulsification. His realization that ultrasonic vibrations could be used to emulsify the lens and extract it through a very small incision revolutionized cataract surgery. For this technique, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by George Bush in 1992. Kelman also designed numerous ophthalmic instruments and phakic and aphakic intraocular lenses and made significant contributions to plastic surgery. In addition to his surgical skills he was an accomplished Broadway producer, composer and jazz saxophonist. Kelman served as president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) from 1995-1997.