Keith Carter, M.D., who completed a Kellogg ophthalmology residency in 1987, serves as both president of the American University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) and president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). These organizations are two of the most important in ophthalmology.
Dr. Carter’s commitment to service began at Kellogg, where, he recalls, trainees were instilled with a sense of purpose beyond their future career in patient care. “There was an understanding that you could not head out to community practice never to be heard from again,” he says. “You must find ways to give back to the profession.”
As he leads the AAO, the largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, Carter envisions new solutions and new aspirations in eye care delivery. They include greater exposure to ophthalmology in the early years of medical school to inspire the next generation of vision specialists—a group that should be as diverse as the patients they care for. Another priority is engaging with lawmakers in Washington, who are shaping health care coverage and policies.
Such endeavors are part of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s tradition of setting standards for ophthalmic education, and advocating for patients and the public.
“It’s important for medical professionals of all kinds to engage in conversations about how dramatic changes in health care affect people,” Dr. Carter says. “As curbing health care spending is discussed, who better than physicians to outline cost-effective ways to provide testing and care?”
Innovations in care make it a pioneering time in ophthalmology, he says, from intravitreal injections that can protect vision to the promise of gene therapy and stem cells to restore sight. Artificial intelligence may enhance the ability of eye doctors to provide remote eye exams for people with diabetes and predict eye disease progression.
Dr. Carter, an oculoplastic surgeon, is chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa. After his residency at U-M, he completed a fellowship in oculoplastics and orbital surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. A dedication to teaching inspired his
connection to academic medical care.
He has been a faculty member at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics since 1988 and holds a joint appointment as professor of otolaryngology in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He contributes to global teaching through Orbis International and other organizations.
Dr. Carter has received numerous honors from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, including the Honor Award, Senior Achievement Award, Secretariat Award and the 2013 Special Recognition Award recognizing the academy’s Leadership Development Program, as well as a special commemoration on the 30th anniversary of his membership. He’s helped set the direction for ethics, advocacy and surgical training as he served on several of the academy’s committees.
Dr. Carter delivered the Fralick Lecture during the 2013 Kellogg Spring Postgraduate Conference, and describes his time at U-M as “a wonderful experience.”
“My experience with Kellogg was 30 years ago,” he says, “but to this day I speak highly of the way it prepared me to take care of patients as well as get involved in the national landscape of ophthalmology.”