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Charles L Schepens, the world renowned retinal surgeon and founder of the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, USA, died on 28 March 2006 after suffering a stroke. Born in Belgium in 1912, Schepens’s boyhood academic interests were in mathematics. However, he decided to study medicine and received his medical degree in 1935. In 1936 and 1937, his postgraduate training was obtained at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, where his leanings toward quantitative science helped shape his early interest in instrumentation. In 1937 he returned to Brussels where he worked at the Clinique St Jean and Elizabeth until going into active service with the Medical Corps of the Belgian Air Force in 1939.
It is well known that Schepens was an outstanding physician, scientist, and academic leader. However, a second remarkable contribution to humankind has only become very well known over the past few years. Just one week before his death, Schepens received perhaps his highest honour, being named a Knight of the French Legion of Honour. The award was conferred not only for his remarkable contributions to ophthalmic …