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Thomas R Stelmack, OD, FAAO

Former Chief, Optometry Section


Title:  Former Chief, Optometry Section

Hospital Appointment:  1978



Academic Background:

B.S.,  1971 Loyola University



O.D., 1975 Illinois College of Optometry, Lawrence P. Feigenbaum Clinical Optometry Memorial Award


Residency, 1976, Hospital Based Optometry Kansas City VAMC



Dr. Thomas Stelmack graduated from the Illinois College of Optometry receiving the coveted Lawrence P. Feigenbaum Clinical Optometry Memorial Award in 1975. After completing the first VA residency in Optometry at the Kansas City Hospital, he returned to a full time appointment at the Illinois College of Optometry and part time practice with his father.  During this period he started the Physical Diagnosis course having audited the same at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine.  He taught several courses at the College from 1976 to 1978 including many in medicine and ocular disease.  In 1978 he was recruited by the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois through the VA in Washington DC to begin the Optometry Section at the West Side VA Medical Center.  From 1978 until 1987 as the newly formed section was developing he continued lecturing at the College.  He initiated the residency program at West Side VAMC (now called the Jesse Brown VAMC) in 1982 as well as in 1985 a regional low vision program.  He served as the Chief of the Optometry Section at Jesse Brown VA prior to retiring in 2017 and continues to serve as a lecturer in the weekly didactic program.

He held faculty appointments at the University Of Illinois Department Of Ophthalmology Eye are Ear Infirmary (1985) as well as the Illinois College of Optometry (1976) and is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He has authored 5 book chapters and over 50 journal articles.  He has presented over 25 scientific posters / lectures and over 30 invited lectures.  He has been an investigator in 10 public and 3 private funded research studies.  He was integrally involved in the initiation of the NBEO ACMO (Advanced Certification in Medical Optometry) exam to credential residency trained optometrists. He was awarded the William Feinbloom Award by the American Academy of Optometry in 2019.

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