Born May 23 1930 - Died June 1, 2004
Material Removal Apparatus and Method Employing High Frequency Vibrations
Patent Number(s) 3,589,363
Charles Kelman is widely acknowledged as the leading innovator in the
field of ophthalmology. His most celebrated achievement has been the
development of the procedure for removing cataracts known as phacoemulsification,
as well as the creation of instruments for carrying it out. In 1966,
Kelman designed the phacoemulsifier, an instrument that liquefies cataracts
within their capsules for extraction. Once the cataract is liquefied
with a vibrating ultrasonic tip, the resulting fragments are then suctioned
out through a small vibrating needle.
This pioneering procedure dramatically reduced the risk of complications
and turned a one-day hospital stay into an outpatient procedure.
Kelman, born in Brooklyn, New York, received a B.S. from Tufts University
in 1959 and completed his medical studies at the University of Geneva,
Switzerland in 1956. The holder of over 100 patents, Kelman has been
the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Academy of
Achievement Award (1970), the Ridley Medal from the International Congress
of Ophthalmology (1990) the "Inventor of the Year Award" from
The New York Patent, Trademark and Copyright Law Association (1992),
and the prestigious National Medal of Technology (1992). In 1994, at
the International Congress on Cataract and Refractive Surgery in Montreal,
Kelman was named "Ophthalmologist of the Century" for his
pioneering work in phacoemulsification.