Dr. Donald C. Fletcher of Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida has been honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Alberta Alumni Association in Canada.
Dr. Fletcher, who is the director of the Low Vision Rehabilitation Center at Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida, was selected because of his work with low-vision patients and as an advocate for inclusive membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments of living University of Alberta alumni who have earned national or international prominence as a result of their professional achievements and service to society.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) considers Dr. Fletcher to be one of the world’s leading authorities on low vision rehabilitation and has awarded him one of its highest honors, the Secretariat Award, for his volunteer service helping others learn techniques to live with low vision.
Dr. Fletcher has worked with more than 25,000 patients to help them see their best with technologies that he has helped to develop. He also has helped establish low vision rehabilitation clinics in the Philippines, Zimbabwe, China and North and South America.
He said one of his proudest contributions was to incorporate a team approach that included occupational therapists in low-vision care. It took him 15 years to get blanket approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to include rehabilitation with vision improvement.
Dr. Fletcher routinely sees patients who have given up on life. Yet, after a few months of rehabilitation, they are doing things they had thought were impossible. For example, a woman who had stopped cooking prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 25 family members. Some patients also are able to move out of nursing homes.
Dr. Fletcher launched the Low Vision Rehabilitation Center at Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida in 1994 and is a Senior Clinical Research Scientist at the National Ophthalmic Research Institute (NORI), the Director of the Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation at the California Pacific Medical Center, and is the past Helen Keller Research Chair at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
Dr. Fletcher also is the past chairman of the AAO’s Low Vision Committee and recipient of its 1995 Honor Award for outstanding contributions to ophthalmology.
Dr. Fletcher received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Alberta (Canada) and completed a residency in ophthalmology at the University Hospital in Saskatchewan, Canada. After residency, he completed fellowships at Presbyterian Medical Center in Denver, Colo., and Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Calif.
Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida is the most experienced team of retina specialists in Southwest Florida with combined experience of more than 125 years. Offices are conveniently located in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples and Port Charlotte.
Doctors with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons, members of the American Society of Retina Specialists, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Medical Association.
Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida offers all FDA-approved therapies for retina eye disease and is a leader in clinical research through the National Ophthalmic Research Institute (NORI), including clinical trials funded by the National Eye Institute and other public and private medical research foundations. For more information, visit www.eye.md