“He was second only to God. We have only this great man to thank for the gift of sight.”
—Sid Sklar, recipient of one of Castroviejo’s first successful corneal transplants
Ramon Castroviejo, the son of a Spanish ophthalmologist, came to the United States as a young man to do a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He stayed on at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where he performed the world’s first successful human cornea transplant. Creating a rectangular rather than circular “window” in the cornea was the secret to his successful transplants. Although the medical community was slow to recognize his successes, Castroviejo was eventually lauded for his sight-saving corneal tissue transplant techniques, which he continued to refine and teach for many years. Castroviejo also promoted the donation of corneal tissue in the United States and designed numerous ophthalmic instruments.