Jules François studied medicine at the University of Louvain, and graduated in 1930. He began a private ophthalmologic practice in Charleroi, while also conducting scientific work. François also served as director of the ophthalmology clinic of the University of Ghent and emeritus professor of the faculty of medicine.
Among François’ major accomplishments was detailing the anatomy of the central retinal artery of the optic nerve. With Guy Veriest, he designed instruments for tonometry, perimetry, dark adaptation, and electro-oculography. He described a number of syndromes including vascular pseudopapillitis, corneal dystrophies, facial dysostosis, fundus flavimaculatus, and dystrophic skin-bone cornea.
In the early part of his career, François’ studies centered on general ophthalmology, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, fever therapy, cataract, and biochemistry. Toward the end of his life, he focused on genetic studies and continued his interest in ophthalmic surgery, diabetic retinopathy, and general ophthalmology.
François published more than 1,500 scientific papers and wrote or edited 30 books and numerous book chapters. Several of his books became standaard references and include L’ Hérédité en Ophtalmologie, Les Cataractes Congénitales, and Les Hérédo-degénéréscences Choriorétiniennes (coauthored with Franceschetti and Babel).
For his achievements, Japan and many European governments decorated François. He received honorary doctorates from 10 universities, presented numerous named lectures, and was the guest of honor at 80 national and international ophthalmic meetings.
François served on the editorial board of 25 journals.