October 2016

 

ASCRS • ASOA UPDATE

 

Remembering Joaquin Barraquer, MD


by Liz Hillman EyeWorld Staff Writer

 
 

“What I especially remember is when I was little, I think the love for his work exuded [from] his personality. Since I was 5 or 6, I always wanted to be a doctor, to be an ophthalmologist like him, and that’s what I did.” –Elena Barraquer, MD

 

Joaquin Barraquer, MD

ASCRS Hall of Fame inductee and a “global contributor in ophthalmic education”

Joaquin Barraquer, MD, Barcelona, a member of the ASCRS Hall of Fame, died on August 26, 2016, at 89 years old.

Dr. Barraquer was 76 years old and still working when he was inducted into the ASCRS Hall of Fame in 2003.

“God will retire me when the time will be proper,” he said at the time. “I feel strong enough to continue for many years as much as possible.” And that’s exactly what he did. “He was a man of very high integrity,” said David Karcher, ASCRS executive director. “He was quick with a genuine handshake and an infectious smile. He was recognized as a global contributor in ophthalmic education and never resisted sharing his latest surgical techniques with his many students and peers.” Dr. Barraquer served as professor of ocular surgery at the Autonomous University Barcelona, executive director of the Barraquer Institute, director of the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center, and president of the Barraquer Foundation, according to the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center’s website.

The Barraquer family was described in his ASCRS Hall of Fame video as Spain’s first family of ophthalmology, with five generations of ophthalmologists. Dr. Barraquer was the grandson of José Antonio Barraquer, MD—the first ophthalmology professor at the University of Barcelona—and son of Ignacio Barraquer, MD, also an ophthalmologist. Dr. Barraquer’s brother and some of his children followed in these footsteps. “What I especially remember is when I was little, I think the love for his work exuded [from] his personality,” said Elena Barraquer, MD, Barcelona, in the Hall of Fame video. “Since I was 5 or 6, I always wanted to be a doctor, to be an ophthalmologist like him, and that’s what I did.” Dr. Barraquer is credited with authoring some of the first publications about intraocular lenses, discovered the use of chymotrypsin for intracapsular cataract surgery, developed an operating microscope with slit lamp applications, and created a myopia-correcting IOL. Dr. Barraquer was a “master surgeon, a dedicated educator, and an extremely innovative individual,” said Bradley Straatsma, MD, Los Angeles, in the Hall of Fame video.

Dr. Barraquer focused his work on corneal transplantation and cataract, glaucoma, and refractive surgery. He wrote more than a dozen books, authored hundreds of scientific publications, and created teaching films. In addition, he held numerous honorary degrees and professorships. Dr. Elena Barraquer said in the Hall of Fame video that she thought her father would be remembered for his humanity. “Most of his patients think that he is a great surgeon and they are very grateful to him, but I think they are even more grateful that he treats them as his peers, not his patients,” she said. “I would like to be remembered just as a man who likes to help his patients, to be a friend of his patients, cure his problems, and teach my colleagues and also listen to the ideas of my colleagues to be every day a little bit better,” Dr. Barraquer said in his Hall of Fame video. According to the Barraquer Ophthalmology Center’s website, Dr. Barraquer is survived by his wife, Mariana Andrade Compte, his children, Elena, Mariana, Rafael, and Marinka, several grandchildren, his sister, and other family members.

Remembering Joaquin Barraquer, MD Remembering Joaquin Barraquer, MD
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