Dr. Paul Lichter

Paul R. Lichter, MD, MS

Professor Emeritus, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Academic Office: 734-936-9503

Administrative Contact

Jennifer Allen: 734-936-9503


Dr. Lichter is Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Immediate Past Chair of the department and Founding Director of the University’s W.K. Kellogg Eye Center that opened in 1985. A recent 230,000 square foot addition to the Center opened in March, 2010. Dr. Lichter is a native of Detroit and received his undergraduate, medical school, and ophthalmology residency education at the University of Michigan, and a glaucoma fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Lichter has to his credit over 200 publications including scientific articles, editorials, and book chapters and has delivered over 40 named lectures including the 50th Jackson Memorial Lecture. In 2008, he received the prestigious Howe Medal from the American Ophthalmological Society.

In addition to serving as the 100th President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 1996, Dr. Lichter is also a Past President of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, the American Ophthalmological Society, the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology, and Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis, as well as a Past Chair of the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Lichter is a past Editor-in-Chief of the journal Ophthalmology.

Dr. Lichter serves as Chair of the U-M Medical School’s Clinical and Educational Conflict of Interest Committee. 

Areas of Interest

Research Summary

Glaucoma, genetics, quality of life, ethics and medical professionalism including physician–industry conflict of interest.

Newly diagnosed primary open-angle glaucoma is conventionally treated with medications. Only after this treatment fails is laser and/or incisional surgery performed. To test whether the conventional approach to glaucoma therapy was correct, the Collaborative Initial Glaucoma Treatment Study, for which Dr. Lichter was Study Chairman, was undertaken. It was a randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether patients are best managed by a medical approach first or by immediate filtration surgery. There were 14 clinical centers around the country through which outcomes of these two initial therapies were compared. The study was supported by the National Eye Institute.

Although the primary outcome variable was visual function, intraocular pressure differences between the two treatments were also evaluated. The final variable measured was quality of life. Because there can be significant side effects from the various treatments for glaucoma, CIGTS provided definitive data on specific quality of life issues for patients and their ophthalmologists as they share the decision of which treatment option is most suitable to the individual patient. A genetics component of CIGTS became part of the NEIGHBOR Consortium sponsored by the National Eye Institute to thoroughly investigate the genetics of glaucoma. Numerous mutations have been identified as linked to open-angle glaucoma. Also under NEI sponsorship, CIGTS data continue to be analyzed to add significant outcome information. For example, in a sub-analysis, it was determined that patients with more advanced glaucoma damage at the time of initial diagnosis seem to fair better with initial surgical treatment than by initial treatment with medications.  In those patients with low levels of glaucoma damage at the time of diagnosis, the outcome of glaucoma damage was no different whether using initial treatment with medications or with surgery.

Dr. Lichter also performs research on patient-centered cataract surgery outcomes as well as on the medical practice implications and ethics surrounding physician-industry financial interactions.

Clinical Interests

Management of glaucoma and cataract; management of complications of glaucoma and cataract surgery

Subspecialty: Glaucoma


  • Medical School - University of Michigan, 1964
  • Residency - Ophthalmology, University of Michigan, 1968
  • Fellowship - Glaucoma, University of California, San Francisco, 1969

Published Articles or Reviews

Web Sites