Hans Goldmann, MD

  • Presented: 
    2000
  • Recognition: 
    ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

(1899–1991)

“Hans Goldmann took the torch and illuminated vast areas of ophthalmology. Every patient and every ophthalmologist benefited from his contributions.”
—Michael A. Kass, MD, in an American Journal of Ophthalmology obituary.

Although he was born near Prague and studied there, Hans Goldmann spent most of his career in Bern, Switzerland. He rose rapidly to the position of chief of the University of Bern Eye Clinic and was later named chancellor of the university. Influenced by many of the great European scientists and philosophers, Goldmann was a Renaissance man—as much at home with the arts, philosophy, or history as with optics, physics, and medicine. He was, by all accounts, a man of tremendous intellect. Goldmann is best known in ophthalmology for the instruments he developed and refined. He improved the slit-lamp microscope, making it much more useful in clinical practice, and invented the applanation tonometer, still the gold standard for measuring intraocular pressure. He was the first to standardize perimetry and made a critical breakthrough in biomicroscopy with his 3-mirror goniolens. Goldmann’s legacy of instrumentation also includes the colorimeter, dark adaptometer, and fluorophotometer.