Early History of the Tampa Bay Ophthalmological

The initial meeting of the Tampa Bay ophthalmologists was organized by Jeffrey M. White, M.D. of Tampa, who invited the area ophthalmologists to an informal luncheon and meeting at the Holiday Inn motel on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Approximately 100 ophthalmologists attended, representing Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, the Manatee and Sarasota area, and as far east as the Lakeland area. It was decided to form an organization, and have regular meetings.

The group continued to occasionally formulate contact and discussions with each other, and Jeffrey White, M.D. was unanimously elected President and founder of the organization named as The Tampa Bay Ophthalmological Society. Dr. White served in 1977 and 1978, along with William C. Edwards, M.D. as Vice-President, who was currently Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of South Florida, and

Frank I. Mendelblatt, M.D. as Secretary Treasurer.

It was initially decided that the Tampa Bay Ophthalmological Society would serve its members as an informational, educational, and regional service that would also aid in patient care. The first President and founder was Jeffrey M. White, M.D., followed by Frank I. Mendelblatt, M.D. as the second President, and William E. Layden, M.D., then Chairman of Ophthalmology at the University of South Florida, as the third President. Dr. White served in 1977 and 1978, Dr. Mendelblatt in 1979 and 1980, and

Dr. Layden in 1981 and 1982.

Ronald L. Sealy, M.D. served early in the organization of the Society as Secretary and Treasurer.

The Tampa Bay Ophthalmological Society became related to the University Of South Florida College Of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology, and, in particular, our meetings coincide with the Grand Rounds at the University of South Florida, which involved Thursdays. The speaker at the University of South Florida would then attend the quarterly meetings of the Tampa Bay Ophthalmological Society, and our meetings then were Thursday evenings, which were dinner affairs. It was initially decided to use the Marriott Hotel at Tampa International Airport for our meeting sites, as the speaker then would frequently reside at the hotel, and then fly out the following morning.

It was decided to meet quarterly, with the dues to be $100 for each member, which would include the quarterly meals.

Our excellent speakers came from different parts of the United States, and early in the Society meetings we had the honor to have Harold G. Scheie, of the Scheie Institute of Philadelphia, as a guest speaker. In addition, Edward W.D. Norton, MD, Chairman of Ophthalmology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine, presented a talk on Hemorrhagic Retinopathies at one of the early meetings.

Our meetings were well attended, with usually about 75 or more ophthalmologists attending each quarterly meeting. Most ophthalmologists would attend Grand Rounds at the University of South Florida in the afternoon, and then travel to the Tampa International Airport area, which was convenient to the members of the Tampa Bay area for the Thursday evening dinners and meetings. Because of our academic interests, it was decided early on in the incorporation of the Society to invite our University of South Florida ophthalmology residents as our non-paying guests at our meetings.

Respectfully submitted, August 24, 2017

Frank I. Mendelblatt, M.D.