Robert C. Allen, M.D.

Eye Surgeon & OM Patient

Robert C. Allen, M.D. conceived of the Ocular Melanoma Foundation in 2002 and incorporated OMF in 2003.

An accomplished eye surgeon, a leading glaucoma specialist, a gifted teacher and an ocular melanoma patient himself, "Dr. Bob" was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in early 2000 at only 49 years of age.  Dr. Allen underwent an enucleation of his right eye at Wills eye Hospital and, over his five year battle, participated in several treatment protocols at institutions around the country, including several rounds of immunotherapy and a PHP (percutaneous hepatic perfusion) procedure at NIH in Washington, D.C.  He succumbed to the disease due to liver complications on March 24, 2005. OMF was awarded its non-profit accreditation from the IRS a day later.

Professional Biography

Dr. Allen held faculty appointments at a number of academic institutions, including Harvard Medical School, Emory University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Virginia) in Richmond, where he was Professor of Ophthalmology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Chairman of the Ophthalmology Department from 1994 to 2003.

Dr. Allen was a prolific academic writer and speaker, authoring a multitude of papers and reference research works, and speaking at nearly one hundred ophthalmology and glaucoma conferences. He helped lead a number of professional societies and Boards, was an Initial Member of the American Glaucoma Society and examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, and has been actively involved with multiple international medical mission trips including stints teaching aboard the ORBIS plane, a flying hospital. Dr. Allen frequently served as an expert in ophthalmology-related legal matters and is the recipient of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Honor Award and Senior Achievement Award.

Beyond his professional achievements, Bob devoted vast energy to his community and personal life. He was a member of Third Presbyterian Church and a drummer in their worship band, former member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville , former Chairman of the Board at The Covenant School in Charlottesville , member and past President of Westwood Club, and a volunteer for the Crossover Clinic, a downtown Richmond free clinic. He was also a member of University of Virginia's Raven Society.

Dr. Allen graduated from Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Medicine and completed his medical training at Johns Hopkins University's Wilmer Eye Institute and at Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary (MEEI) at Harvard Medical School, where he was a Fellow.
Dr. Allen's obituary from the Jan. 2006 Archives of Ophthalmology (written by Stephen Schwartz, MD, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Retina Center at Naples)

In Memoriam - A Tribute to an Inspirational Teacher, Humanitarian, and Friend (by Richard Ehrlich, MD, PhD, Jill Greene and William Long, III, MD)

Memorial Service Audio