Frederick C. Blodi, University of Iowa professor and former head of the Department of Ophthalmology, is an internationally respected eye specialist who loves to teach. Although his scholarship and diagnostic, surgical, and administrative skills have earned him recognition worldwide, his colleagues and former students assert that Dr. Blodi is as brilliant delivering a lecture as he is in any of his career roles.
Dr. Blodi is a native of Vienna, Austria, where he received his medical degree from the University of Vienna School of Medicine in 1940. During World War II, he was an intern and resident in pathology at various Viennese hospitals. He followed training in this area of interest with a three-year residency in ophthalmology at the First Ophthalmology Clinic of the University of Vienna.
In 1947, Dr. Blodi moved to the United States and accepted a research fellowship with the World Health Organization at the Institute of Ophthalmology in New York. Five years later, he came to the UI as a clinical assistant professor. He served as chief ophthalmology for the Veterans Administrations Hospital in Iowa City from 1955 to 1961. Returning to the UI, Dr. Blodi rose rapidly from associate professor of ophthalmology in 1961 to full professorship in 1965 and head of the department by 1967. During his 17 years of leadership, the UI became one of the top international centers for ophthalmological teaching and research.
Dr. Blodi's specialty is ophthalmic pathology, and he is an expert in the different techniques for diagnosing tumors of the eye and the orbit. His studies in this subspecialty contributed to the distinction of becoming the chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1975. Among many special assignments and professional affiliations, he was on the board of directors for the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness from 1973 to 1985, president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1979, and 1982 president of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology.
Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Blodi has published numerous articles and books, served as editor for various medical journals and publications, and been a preeminent translator of medical texts. His translation of J. Hirschberg's extensive German History of Ophthalmology has been an invaluable service to his profession. From 1976 to 1984, he served as chief editor for the Archives of Ophthalmology.
The American Ophthalmological Society awarded its prestigious Lucien Howe Medal to Dr. Blodi in 1980. He has been voted honorary member of several national ophthalmological societies throughout the world, including those in Germany, France, and Italy. Austria awarded its Cross of Honor for Science and Art to him in 1984. King Saud University School of Medicine in Saudi Arabia—where Dr. Blodi has been director of medical education and clinical professor in recent years—named him Teacher of the Year for 1984-85.
Through prodigious scholarship, decisive administration, and the humor and diligence of his teaching, Dr. Blodi has helped raise the UI Department of Ophthalmology to its lofty position in the eyes of experts the world over.