Epstein Lecturers

2019 - Prof Dr Marie-José Tassignon (Belgium)

Prof Dr Marie-José Tassignon
Professor and Head of Ophthalmology Department
University Hospital
Antwerp, Belgium

Marie-José Tassignon is born in 1952 in the French speaking part of Belgium. She was raised in French by her father and in Dutch by her mother. She completed her studies of medical doctor at the Free University of Brussels. She defended her PhD thesis in Leiden, The Netherlands, in 1990 and was appointed Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Antwerp University Hospital and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Antwerp in 1991. In

2007 she became Medical Director of the Antwerp University Hospital after having been Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Antwerp from 2003 to 2006. She was full professor at the University of Antwerp from 2003 till 2017 and closely implicated in the national trainees educational program.

She was president and past-president of the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) from 2004 until 2007 and was president and past-president of the European Board of Ophthalmology (EBO) from 2007 until 2010. She is member of 18 international societies in ophthalmology and has been board member in 5 out of them. She was elected chair “L” of the International Academy of Ophthalmology (AOI) in 2007 and was elected chair “V” of the European Academy of Ophthalmology in 2008. She became Alumni of Pretoria University of South Africa in 2008 and full member of the Ukraine Academy of Medicine in 2012. She became member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium in 2009.

She is chair of the EBOESCRS examination FEBOSCR editions 2017 and 2018.

She became board member of the International Council of Ophthalmology in 2016 and chair of the program committee WOC 2020 and 2022.

She became president of the Academia Ophthalmologia Internationals in 2018 for a term of four years.

Seven patents have been approved out of which the patent of the original bag-in-the-lens design and implantation technique and of the caliper ring to perform a calibrated anterior capsulorhexis. This lens has been commercialized in Belgium in 2004 and is currently on its way to be accepted worldwide as technique to eradicate posterior capsule opacification. The BIL technique is considered very useful in children and combined cataract and vitrectomy.

Two patents have been submitted the last two years in the field of treatment of vitreous floaters.

Marie-José Tassignon was awarded the Kritzinguer award in 2003 in Egypt; the Binkhorts medal at ESCRS in 2011 in Vienna; the Norman Galloway award, Nottingham University, United Kingdom in 2014, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis lecturer in 2015; the Peter Eustace medal in 2015 by European Board of Ophthalmology for excellence in education; the Montgomery lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons delivered at the Irish Council of Ophthalmology in 2015; the Tadeusz Krwawicz award
at WOC 2016; the Moroccan Ophthalmological award in 2016. She gave the Academic Inaugural lecture 2018-2019 at Barraquer Institute of Ophthalmology in Barcelona-Spain.

She became Honorary member of the Bulgarian Ophthalmological Society in 2017 and member of the Ukrainian Academy of Medicine in 2012.
She was honorary guest at the 27th International Congress of German Ophthalmic Surgeons, DOC in Nürnberg and guest professor at Michigan Eye Kellog’s University in 2013 and at Harvard Massachusetts Eye and Ear in 2014.

She received three best paper awards at ASCRS and five best video awards at videorefractiva, ESCRS and WOC.

Marie-José Tassignon is author of 304 publications and of 24 chapters of 23 books.

She is editor of the book “bag-in-the-lens surgical technique” published by Springer Nature in 2019.

2017 - Prof Robert C Stegmann

Prof Robert C Stegmann

Prof. Stegmann started work on sodium hyaluronate (Healon) in 1977 and 1978 with Prof. David Miller of Harvard Medical School U.S.A. This was completed in South Africa in October 1978.

This resulted in the most significant advance in ophthalmic surgery facilitating the development of visual rehabilitation by a quantum leap.

Use of Healon in Ophthalmology extended to: 
 surgical treatment of congenital abnormalities of the anterior segment
corneal grafts
glaucoma surgery
repair of trauma

To date more than 200 million people worldwide have benefited from this original research work carried out in Harvard Medical School (Boston) and Medunsa.

Refinement of surgical techniques as a result of the use of sodium hyaluronate, have led to Department of Ophthalmology in Medunsa being recognized as a world leader in ophthalmic surgery. This is best illustrated by achievement of highest success rate and lowest complication rate in the world today.

To back these facts, the following international recognition has been accorded:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Toronto, June 1985

Order of the Southern Cross (Silver)
Cape Town, February 1987

APPI Crystal Award
Japan, January 1990

Innovator’s Award
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Boston, March 1991

American Academy of Ophthalmology Honour Award, October 1992

Binkhorst Medal, European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, October 1996

Von Graefe Medal (Germany) 2001

All Africa Innovators award received, Nov 2006 in Egypt.

Sir Harold Ridley Medal, June 2007

Funkhauser Medal Swiss Ophthalmological Society, 2008

Canadian Ophthalmological Society Letson Lecture, September 2011

Obstbaum Medal Lecture American Society of Cataract and Refractive
Surgery April 2012.

This achievements have led to a number of children who were previously considered inoperable, to a situation where they could go to tertiary education as a result of Prof. Stegmann’s surgical intervention.

This has also led to most satisfying glaucoma surgery ever developed with most fascinating results.

Prof. Stegmann has developed many surgical instruments with international companies which have included special microscissors, microdiamond scalpels and most accurate surgical trephine yet designed.

Prof. Stegmann’s developed photographic techniques that are now recognized as the highest standard in the world today and have been used for teaching all over the world.

Over the years Prof. Stegmann’s stature has brought a significant amount of money to the Department of Ophthalmology, Medunsa (± R5 million worth of donations from industry both national and international). This includes ± R2 million in grants from First National Bank in recognition of the important medical research developed at Medunsa.

Overseas companies donated more than R3 m in instruments and devices for the benefit of the community served by Medunsa and Ga-Rankuwa Hospital. This was in recognition of the advances in surgical techniques for the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma, trauma and congenital diseases.

Prof. Stegmann has given 30 years of unbroken service to Medunsa without even taking sabbatical leave.

Close collaboration and ongoing research has been established internationally between Medunsa and following universities / institutions:

Harvard Medical School

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Uppsala (Sweden)

University of Antwerp (Belgium)

Gothenburg (Sweden)

Medical University of South Carolina (USA)

University of Cairo (Egypt)

In recognition of these achievements, patients from all over the world have received treatment and surgery at Medunsa / Ga-Rankuwa Hospital complex.
I.e. Sweden, Greece, USA, Switzerland, Italy, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho, Angola, Zambia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana.

This has sparked tremendous interest and has led to doctors from all over the world visiting the department to be familiarized with surgical techniques.
I.e. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, England, Japan, USA, Australia, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Uganda.

The ophthalmologists who graduated from Medunsa continue to serve the country and other parts of the world with distinction.

2015 - Prof Andries A Stulting

Prof Andries A Stulting

Professional Qualifications:
MB ChB (Pret), MMed (Ophth) (Pret), FRCOphth (UK), FCS (Ophth) (SA), FACSFICSFEACO, F Hon CMSA,
Dip Adv Management Program (Univ of Manchester), Dip Adv Health Management Program (Univ of Yale)

Professional Involvement in National and International Organizations:
Prof Stulting served two terms as President of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa, from 1989 to 1991 and again from 1997 to 1999.
He served as Secretary of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa from 1987 to 1989, from 1993 to 1997 and again from 1999 until 2015.
He is a Founder member of the Southern African Intraocular Lens Society (later called the Southern African Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery), has served on the Executive Committee from 1983 to 1998 and again from 2003 until 2015 and he is the current Immediate. 

He was a Vice-President of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa from 1998 until 2007.
He was the President of the College of Ophthalmologists from 1998 to 2008.

 He was the Vice-Chairman of the South African Medical Association from 2001 until 2003.

He served on the Board of Directors of SAMA (2001-2006 and again from 2012 to 2014).

He was the President of the Free State Branch of SAMA during 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2011.

Internationally, he served on the Leadership Management Group of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO).
He is a Board member of MEACO (Middle East and Africa Council of Ophthalmology).

He was the Organizer of the Annual Congresses of the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa during 1985, 1991, 1997 and 2003 and he served on the Organizing Committee in 2008 and 2014 where he was responsible for the Scientific Academic Program.
He is a Former President of the South African Vitreo-retinal Society of South Africa and organized the Annual meetings (including invited overseas guest speakers) in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996.
He is also a Former President of the South African Glaucoma Society from 2012 to 2014 and is the Immediate Past President.
He has served on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) from 1998 to 1994 and Medical and Dental Professions Board (MDPB) from 1998 to 2009.

2013 - Dr Frik Potgieter

Dr Frik Potgieter

Frik Potgieter, MDFRCSE is a graduate of the Universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria, as well as a Fellow of the College of Medicine of South Africa and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He also completed a fellowship in glaucoma at the Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham, UK before his interest shifted to the field of cornea and refractive surgery.

Dr. Potgieter is a member of several ophthalmological societies, including the International Society of Refractive Surgery of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (ISRS/AAO), the International Intra-Ocular Implant Club (IIIC), the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa (OSSA), the South African Glaucoma Society (SAGS) and the Southern African Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (SACRS). He also served on the Board of Directors of the ISRS, the African Society of Refractive Surgery, and currently serves as a member of the International Council of the ISRS/AAO and the executive committee of the SASCRS.

Dr. Potgieter has a reputation for his knowledge and expertise in the field of refractive surgery. His clinical interests are limited to anterior segment surgery and include corneal transplantation, refractive surgery as well as cataract surgery. He is a frequent invited lecturer at both local, as well as international scientific meetings, and has directed numerous training programs for specialists in refractive surgery. He is a keen researcher and has authored several articles in the popular ophthalmic press, peer review journals, and also contributed a chapter in a widely read textbook on LASIK surgery. For these efforts, he became the first recipient of the Kritzinger Memorial Award in 2000 from the ISRS during their meeting in Maimi, Florida.

As part of his everyday practice, he frequently provides humanitarian services to his local community, for which he received the esteemed Paul Harris Award from the Rotarians in 2013.

In 2003 he founded the the Optimed Eye and Laser Clinic in Pretoria, South Africa of which he is the director. In his spare time he enjoys a game of tennis, photography, competative shooting and flying helicopters. He is married and has three daugthers.

Above all, he finds his strength in the Almighty God, and applies Psalm 91, especially verses 1 and 2 in his everyday life: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! (The Amplified Bible).