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Marilyn Miller M.D. 
Executive Board Member
In Memoriam

Dr. Miller is a distinguished pediatric ophthalmologist practicing at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois, Chicago and longtime president of FOCUS Inc. who led efforts in

Nigeria and other locations to prevent and treat blindness.  A past member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees and Foundation Advisory Board, Dr. Miller also holds the honor of being the first

female president of both the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS) and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS).


An adventurous spirit and deep compassion for those in need inspired her dedication to preventing blindness and visual impairment in underserved regions in Africa, Asia, and Central and

South America. “More than 25 years ago, a colleague talked me into volunteering in Nigeria,” she said. “Since then, I’ve had the privilege of participating in more than 10 countries. Providing training for pediatric ophthalmology programs has become a long-term personal commitment.”

To further champion the need for education and improved standards of care in the developing world, she established and chaired the Academy’s Committee on International Ophthalmology, and served for many years as one of the Academy’s representatives to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

Through educational activities to develop sustainable eye care, Dr. Miller has made an indelible impact on patient care in regions with the most vulnerable populations. She strongly believes that we “should share educational knowledge with colleagues who don’t have the same advantages.”

“Many times, I’ve seen the significant impact educational materials have made around the world,” she said. “In Yangon, Myanmar, the residents showed me a child with really unusual eye findings, and I told them they needed to check a reference that would describe the condition in detail.


 One of the residents brought in a dog-eared copy of the Basic and Clinical Science Course that provided the specific information they needed to help the patient. Another time many years ago, residents in Nigeria showed me their library, which consisted of a single set of the BCSC and one other textbook. These stories illustrate how we can have an impact through education, and how it benefits patients.”

Dr. Miller is also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Howe Medal (from AOS), Life Achievement and Humanitarian Awards from the Academy, and the Park Silver Medal from the Children's Eye Foundation (AAPOS). She is also active with the Chicago Ophthalmological Society, the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and the Bernadotte Foundation for Children's Eyecare, Inc. Recently, Dr. Miller was awarded with the AAOs highest award, The Laureate Award for her lifetime achievements.

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