David Maurice, PhD

  • Presented: 
    2018
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

(1922 – 2002)

Dr. David Maurice was a British ophthalmologist, noted for his contributions to the development of the specular microscope used for examination of the cornea.

Dr. Maurice received a B.Sc. General in 1941 and a B.Sc. in Special (Physics) in 1942 from the University of Reading. After serving in the military during World War II from 1942 to 1946, he received his PhD in physiology from University College, London in 1951. From 1950 to 1968, he did research in ophthalmology at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London. From 1968 to 1993, he was a senior scientist and then professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University Medical School. From 1993 to 1996, he was a professor of ocular physiology in the Department of Ophthalmology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. From 1996 to 2002, he was an adjunct professor of ocular physiology in the Department of Ophthalmology, Columbia University. From 1951–1952, he was a British Council Scholar at the University of Rome. From 1957–1958, he was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. And, from 1979–1980 he was a Guggenheim Fellow at the University of Paris.

His PhD thesis on corneal permeability introduced the pump-leak hypothesis for the corneal endothelium. At the Institute of Ophthalmology in London, he worked on the explanation of the physical basis of corneal transparency, aqueous humor dynamics and other topics in the physiology of the eye. He introduced fluorescein for the investigation of aqueous humor flow, now an important technique in ocular research.

In 1968, he moved to the United States. He settled at Stanford University, where he became a research professor of ophthalmology. He continued to develop a specular microscope, which subsequently has become a widely used, routine tool for evaluating the corneal endothelium in health and disease. It is also used for screening donor corneas for transplantation. Together, with a long list of fellows, he developed highly original methods for impression cytology of the conjunctiva, penetration of drugs into the eye and measurements of toxic side effects to the eye.

He was a founding member of the journal, Experimental Eye Research and a member of its editorial board until 2001. In 1998, he published a theory of REM-sleep oxygen supply to the cornea.

Upon his death, he was survived by his wife, his ex-wife, three daughters and four grandchildren.