Dr. Marilyn T. Miller, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) obtained her MD degree and clinical training in ophthalmology at UIC and has been on the faculty since 1965. Dr. Miller previously directed the Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Section at the University for 18 years and holds joint appointments in the Center for Craniofacial Anomalies and the Center for Handicapped Children. In addition to clinical practice, research and instruction of pediatric ophthalmology, Dr. Miller has also been involved in Chicago community children’s health fairs.
Her research interests are teratology, congenital ocular anomalies, unusual strabismus syndromes, thalidomide embryopathy, and the epidemiology of selected pediatric ophthalmology problems. She has a longstanding participation in international ophthalmology, especially in educational activities in a number of developing countries including Nigeria, India, the rest of Asia and several South American countries. Her research in congenital anomalies and teratogens (drugs that cause abnormal fetal development) led her to Sweden where she later was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Göteborg (1998) for her involvement in clinical research in thalidomide embryopathy.
Dr. Miller has been recognized for her many contributions to international service in ophthalmology and was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and the Howe Medal by the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS). The Howe Medal denotes distinguished service to ophthalmology and has had 75 recipients since first awarded in 1922. Dr. Miller is only the third woman to receive this honor. She served on the AOS Council and was the first woman President of this organization.
Recently she has collaborated with a pediatric ophthalmologist in Brazil studying the ocular effects of misoprostol, a teratogenic drug that if taken in a certain period during pregnancy may cause limb defects or Möbius syndrome. Dr. Miller has visited a clinic in rural Nigeria for over 25 years with a small non-governmental organization, FOCUS, Inc. Originally, their visits were involved with treating patients, but now the role has expanded to teaching and lecturing. Currently, she is president of FOCUS, Inc., which provides physician services, educational programs and financial support to Mercy Hospital Eye Center in Abak, Nigeria.
Dr. Miller has had visiting professor status at several regional, national and international medical schools and hospitals. Included among these institutions are Loyola University Medical School, Cook County Hospital, Georgetown University, Howard University, the Hospital for Sick Children, Aravind Hospital in India, California Pacific Medical Center, and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. In addition, she has been invited to lecture at institutions in Nigeria, India, Kenya, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the Middle East. She has delivered a number of named lectures and received the Bock Award for a contribution in the field of neurodevelopment.
Dr. Miller has served on advisory boards including the Advisory Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Medical Advisory Board of the Division of Specialized Care for Children in Illinois, the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, the Board of the Bernadotte Foundation for Children’s Eyecare, the American Academy Ophthalmology, and the Advisory Board of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She served as the American Academy of Ophthalmology representative to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Additionally, she was the president of the Chicago Ophthalmological Society and has been on the organizing committee for many international conferences and congresses.
Dr. Miller is a Charter member of the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), and has attended nearly every meeting. She had the honor of serving AAPOS as their first woman president, a member of its board and a number of committees, and was chair of their International Affairs Committee for many years. She was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Honor Award from the AAPOS (2002) and the AAO (2007). She has presented the Costenbader Lecture and the Richard G. Scobee Memorial Lecture.
A native of the Chicago area, Dr. Miller currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Dr. Ronald Fishman, a retired ophthalmologist. They enjoy seven children and eleven grandchildren between them.