A senior ophthalmologist at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center, Prof. Jacob Pe’er, has been chosen to receive a unique international award for his contribution to the field and prevention of blindness.Pe’er will be honored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) – the largest organization of its kind, with more than 30,000 ophthalmologists from around the world. The prestigious award honors the 100th-anniversary celebrations of the department as well as the completion of Pe’er’s service as head of Hadassah’s ophthalmology department for 20 years, where he will continue to serve as a senior physician.He will receive his award at the organization’s annual conference. The AAO said this week that Pe’er earned the award because of his “significant and worldwide contribution to the prevention of blindness and to vision rehabilitation in the world, as an acknowledgment to his outstanding personal commitment to humankind and for being an inspiration for other physicians around the world.”In response to the award, Pe’er who himself established an ophthalmology department at a hospital in Kenya in the 1980s, said: “I receive this award with great pride also in the name of Hadassah’s wonderful ophthalmology department that, in parallel with the clinical and academic work that has placed it at the forefront of ophthalmology, has been working in this field in developing countries since 1959.”“We have established such departments in Africa and trained ophthalmologists from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe,” he continued. “Our ophthalmologists have known in the last five decades that they have to serve two years as doctors in Africa, as part of Hadassah’s vision to improve eye care in these countries.” Since 1961, the department has provided Hadassah Ophthalmology Certificates of study to doctors from developing countries. To date, doctors from 38 countries have been trained here.