Cavanagh wins Cornea Society's highest honor

Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh
Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh

DALLAS — Oct. 30, 2009 — Dr. H. Dwight Cavanagh, vice chairman of ophthalmology at
UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been named the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Castroviejo Medal, one of the top ophthalmology prizes in the world.

The Cornea Society annually awards the medal to an ophthalmologist who exemplifies the society’s mission to pro-mote knowledge and the exchange of scientific ideas related to the cornea, anterior segment and external eye.

“It is the highest honor in my field in the world and the capstone of my career,” said Dr. Cavanagh, medical director for the Transplant Services Center, which serves as the eye bank for Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding areas.

The Castroviejo Medal is the newest entry to a lengthy history of recognition for Dr. Cavanagh’s clinical and research efforts. Among his other honors:

  • In 2008, Dr. Cavanagh won the Dr. Donald Korb Award for Excellence, given by the American Optometric Association in recognition of a true innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease. Dr. Cavanagh was the first medical doctor to receive the award.
  • He is president of the International Society for Contact Lens Research, 2009-2011. The group is limited to 100 elected members worldwide.
  • In 2008, he was awarded the first Hamano Gold Medal Award and Lecture at the 31st World Ophthalmology Congress in Hong Kong. The award is  for outstanding contributions to corneal and contact lens clinical practice and research.
  • This year, Dr. Cavanagh was a member of the inaugural class of distinguished fellows of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), the largest eye and vision research organization in the world.

Dr. Cavanagh’s research focuses on the cornea, including cell biology, transplantation, wound healing, bioimaging and contact lenses. He is working on a new generation of lenses that allow better oxygen flow to the eye, thus reducing infections and blocking bacteria from entering the cornea while contact lenses are in use.

Ongoing work in his lab includes studies on the effects of contact lens wear with special attention to the prevention of infection; wound healing responses to laser refractive surgery; the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control normal corneal homeostasis; and prevention and treatment of acanthamoeba infections of the cornea.

Uniquely, Dr. Cavanagh’s laboratory combines confocal microscopy for both clinical and lab use with advanced molecular and cellular multiphoton imaging, allowing the study of corneal biology in four dimensions in vivo.

The Cornea Society was founded in 1975 to recognize the contributions of its namesake, Dr. Ramon Castroviejo, an educator and pioneer in corneal transplantation, who freely shared his ideas and techniques of corneal surgery from his office and hospital in a converted townhouse on New York City's East Side.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/ophth to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in ophthalmology.

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Media Contact: Russell Rian
214-648-3404
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu

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