Thousands of patients directly benefitted from Dr. Michels’ diagnostic and therapeutic skills, and millions of patients and physicians have been heirs to his enormous contributions to ophthalmology.
Ronald G. “Ron” Michels was born in Detroit in 1943 but spent most of his youth in Henderson, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was an outstanding student and member of the varsity golf team and where he subsequently obtained his M.D. in 1968. Dr. Michels moved to Baltimore, where he served as an intern in medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He then entered the ophthalmology residency program at the Wilmer Institute at the same institution.
Following completion of the three-year residency program, he served a year as a vitreoretinal fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami and then returned to Wilmer as Chief Resident. He subsequently joined the full-time faculty at Johns Hopkins, where he became the first fellowship-trained vitreoretinal surgeon at Wilmer. After a full-time academic career spanning more than 15 years, he entered private practice in Baltimore in 1989.
Dr. Michels combined his exceptional surgical skills, gigantic knowledge base, superb organizational talents, extraordinary work ethic, and prolific writing abilities with an infectious enthusiasm and a genuine sense of humor. His abilities to describe the pathobiology of numerous ocular disorders and their surgical management were legendary. Included in his more than 280 contributions to ophthalmic literature was the first comprehensive textbook devoted to vitreous surgery, Vitreous Surgery, published in 1981. He was also the senior author of an additional comprehensive textbook, Retinal Detachment, first published in 1991 and an original editor of the surgical volume of the original Ryan Retina textbook.
During his career, Dr. Michels trained more than 40 vitreoretinal fellows, and he influenced hundreds of additional ophthalmologists who visited and observed him in practice. Other ophthalmologists learned from Dr. Michels through training opportunities, site visits, or as members of lecture audiences, at which they were routinely rewarded with his insights into many aspects of vitreoretinal disorders. Thousands of patients directly benefitted from his diagnostic and therapeutic skills, and millions of additional patients and physicians have been heirs to his enormous contributions to ophthalmology. Thus, the Ronald G. Michels Fellowship Foundation was established to honor his many accomplishments and to provide funds annually for selected outstanding second-year vitreoretinal fellows in training programs in the United States.
Ron’s abilities to describe the pathobiology of numerous ocular disorders and their surgical management were legendary. Included in his more than 280 contributions to ophthalmic literature was the first comprehensive textbook devoted to vitreous surgery, Vitreous Surgery.