The American Glaucoma Society has named Emory Eye Center ophthalmologist Mary G. Lynch, MD, as the 2019 recipient of the society’s prestigious Innovator Award. The award is given to one physician each year in recognition of contributions to the field of glaucoma. She is the first woman to receive this award.
Dr. Lynch is professor of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine/Emory Eye Center. She joined Emory and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1988 and served as chief of the ophthalmology section there from 1994 to 2010.
Dr. Lynch’s research has centered on innovative ways to deal with difficult problems in glaucoma. She wrote the first paper describing central nervous system side effects from beta-blocker eye drops. Her observations led her to work on the development of dropper tips that could produce smaller eye drops; this work has been incorporated into current dropper tip designs. She also wrote the first paper describing the surgical treatment of pseudophakic malignant glaucoma: the creation of unicameral eye that still is the basic principal of malignant glaucoma treatment.
Dr. Lynch also wrote the first paper describing the 360-degree suture trabeculotomy to treat congenital glaucoma. This option had a much higher success rate than other protocols and gave children a higher chance of achieving normal vision. In 1999, Dr. Lynch developed the EyePass (GMP Vision Solutions, Inc.) in collaboration with her husband, Reay Brown, MD. The EyePass was the first trabecular bypass device for glaucoma and initiated a new category of surgery: minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS).