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Neil Bressler

The Power List 2020 – Power List


Editor in Chief, JAMA Ophthalmology; Professor of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA

Piece of advice for your younger self?  

I would advise my younger self to recognize that seemingly impossible treatments can become realities, so never give up on pursuing new treatments for any disease. During my career, I have seen people with the neovascular form of macular degeneration invariably lose central vision in the 1980s, but in the 21st century, many of these patients have received anti-VEGF treatment and can now continue to read, drive, work and socialize in ways that never were imagined 35 years ago.

The most serendipitous moment of your career?

Walking through the ARVO posters in the early 1990s, and Dr. Roy Beck was staffing one of his posters that caught my eye. We met and spoke for the first time and that brief interaction would lead to a lifelong friendship as well as sharing professional pursuits that were instrumental to our working together on the DRCR Retina Network, the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for intramural clinical trials of the National Eye Institute, and on the Editorial Board for JAMA Ophthalmology.

The most unexpected turn your career took?

While I always enjoyed serving on editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals in our field, I never contemplated serving as an editor-in-chief of a journal. When I was asked to serve as Editor-in-Chief of JAMA Ophthalmology, it represented a turning point in my career and meant I was no longer limited to just retina or clinical trials. It also gave me an opportunity to work with all of our colleagues, mainstream media, and social media around the world. In 7 years, the journal has grown to over 3 million individual full-text/PDF downloads of articles in 2019, with over 34,000 individuals receiving the electronic table of contents each week around the world – continuing our mission to be an indispensable source of ophthalmic knowledge by promptly publishing innovative, clinically relevant research through consistent and authoritative peer review and, thereby, to be the first choice for authors for their important manuscripts. Proudly, for the first time in the journal’s 150 years, we are led by an Editorial Board in which more than 50% of its members were women in 2019.


Part of the Power List 2020

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From ocular oncology to tackling neglected diseases, our 2020 Power Listers are making their mark on ophthalmology – and beyond.

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