Aurel-von-Szily Lecture 2020

Prof. Zierhut studied medicine in Hanover and graduated succesfully in 1982. He did his residency training in ophthalmology in Hanover and Tuebingen and became board certified ophthalmologist in 1988. He received a research scholarship for one year at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Manfred Zierhut became a professor in Ophthalmology in 1997 at the Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen.

He established and headed  a section for inflammatory eye diseases in Tuebingen since the 1990s. His scientific interest was and still is the pathophysiology and immunology of various inflammatory eye diseases as well as evaluation of new therapeutic approaches for these diseases. In addition to his  numerous clinical and scientific activities, he has created national and international training and education opportunities for inflammatory eye diseases for residents and ophthalmologists for several decades; his international uveitis courses in Europe, and particularly in Africa, are leading to a considerable improvement in clinical care. For many years, he has been the editor of one of the most important journals for inflammatory eye diseases, the “Journal of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation”. He is currently the president of the International Uveitis Study Group. His honorary lecture focusses on inflammatory eye diseases which may be still rare in  Germany, but are frequently seen in other regions of the world.

Aurel von Szily worked from 1905 to 1924 at the Freiburg University Eye Clinic. where he was appointed  associate professor in 1913. After his commitment in battlefield hospitals during the First World War, in 1918 he published the Atlas of Battlefield Ophthalmology [DE: Atlas der Kriegsaugenheilkunde]. He received the Baden War Merit Cross and the Iron Cross 2nd class. In 1924, he was appointed  full professor in Muenster at the newly established university eye clinic, which von Szily lead to  international reputation under his directorship.

Aurel von Szily sobtained outstanding international recognition with with his animal experiments to explain sympathetic ophthalmia and the resulting “von Szily model”. Again and again, he tackled new problems of ophthalmological diagnosis and treatment: In addition to inflammatory eye diseases he also worked on the congenital abnormalities of the eye, the anatomy of the anterior segment and the development of cataracts. Moreover, he developed a technique to illustrate the lacrimal drainage system and a new method for the treatment of retinal detachment.

Von Szily returned home to Budapest in 1939 after he had been dismissed from his professorship in 1935 and expelled by the Nazis. His German Citizenship was revoked  and his editorship of the “Klinische Monatsbläter für Augenheilkunde” was withdrawn. Von Szilys most important work the “Vergleichende Morphogenese und Morphographie der Papilla nervi optici” [Comparative morphogenesis and morphography of the Papilla nervi optici] was unfortunately left unfinished.