Member News — Member & Society News
In Remembrance of Kirk H. Packo, MD, FACS, FASRS
It is with profound sadness that we report the passing of Kirk H. Packo, MD, FACS, FASRS. The ASRS wishes to extend sincere condolences to Dr. Packo’s family, friends and colleagues.
Dr. Packo spent much of his 40-year career practicing with Illinois Retina Associates. He also served as professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago from 2004 until his retirement last year.
It goes without saying that Dr. Packo exuded an unparalleled passion for the field of retina. He earned wide recognition and the admiration of his peers as a masterful surgeon and gifted educator. His combination of intellect, masterful storytelling and love of theatre made him a legendary teacher and ambassador for retina, delivering over 1,200 presentations and courses in over 40 countries.
A consummate innovator, Dr. Packo obtained numerous patents for his inventions and was instrumental in bringing intraocular gasses into commercial use.
He served as president of the ASRS and as a member of the Society's Board of Directors for 18 years. Through his visionary leadership, the small, meeting-based Vitreous Society was transformed into today’s ASRS, an internationally recognized medical organization encompassing all things retina.
In addition to solidifying the Society’s name change, Dr. Packo initiated a myriad of capstone programs including the Preferences and Trends Survey, Film Festival and Retina Times.
He shared his unbridled passion for retina through his teaching and focus on maintaining the history and heritage of the specialty for future generations. In recent years, he served as a co-director of the ASRS History of Retina, hosting interviews with some of the field's most notable luminaries, sharing artifacts, images and insights galore.
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Dr. Packo received many of the field's highest honors.
His extraordinary service to the ASRS was commemorated in 2019 when he received the inaugural Packo Service Award, named in his honor. The award is now presented annually to recognize an ASRS member for exceptional service to the Society. The ASRS will be forever grateful for Dr. Packo’s unwavering dedication and seminal contributions.
In 2021, Dr. Packo reflected on his career, retina’s remarkable evolution and what he’d learned from his patients in a moving History of Retina interview. Watch that interview now >>