Leipziger klinkik for ophthalmology – prof. Dr. Peter wiedemann retires

After almost 28 years at the helm of the eye clinic, Prof. Peter Wiedemann retired. Thanks to its commitment, the Leipzig site has a firm place on the international map in the professional world.

Prof. Dr. Peter Wiedemann is leaving Leipzig University Hospital after almost 28 years

After almost 28 years at the helm of the Eye Clinic, Prof. Peter Wiedemann left the University Hospital Leipzig (UKL) at the beginning of April to retire. In recent years, the ophthalmologist has also shaped the fortunes of the Alma Mater Lipsiensis as Vice Rector of the University and member of the University Council and has chaired national and international professional associations – most recently the World Federation of Ophthalmologists. Thanks to his commitment, Leipzig, with the oldest eye clinic in Germany, gained a firm place on the international map in the professional world.

In recent years, the ophthalmologist also shaped the fortunes of the Alma Mater Lipsiensis as vice rector of the university and member of the university council, and presided over national and international professional societies – most recently the World Association of Ophthalmologists.

"Prof. Peter Wiedemann is a great ophthalmologist and an esteemed and respected colleague whose voice carries great weight in many committees, both at our hospital and in the professional world," describes Prof. Christoph Josten, Medical Director of the UKL, his long-time colleague Wiedemann.

"Under his leadership, the reputation of the Leipzig Eye Clinic was consolidated and further expanded, especially for the benefit of the patients, whose optimal care was always close to his heart as a passionate physician and surgeon. We wish him a fulfilling retirement and will miss him sorely," says Josten.

"My sincere thanks go to the many years of commitment and outstanding work of Prof. Wiedemann as an internationally renowned scientist, experienced physician and former Vice Rector of the University of Leipzig," adds Rector Prof. Dr. Beate Schucking. "I am all the more pleased that he will remain closely connected to our university as an elected member of the university council and will continue to strengthen university interests, especially for our claim to excellence."

Designing the clinic according to one’s own ideas

Leipzig thus remains the center of life for Prof. Peter Wiedemann even after his retirement. Peter Wiedemann – found to be well in 28 years.

"It was one of the most important decisions of my life at the time, but I have never regretted it: in 1993, I came from colorful Cologne to Leipzig, which was quite dreary at the time," he recounts in retrospect. "Of course, the professorship attracted, but so did the work. Because I thought: As a boss I have the chance to shape the clinic in the way I envision it. Then, when on 2. When I started work at the clinic in September 1993, some of my dreams quickly disappeared. The clinic was, frankly, very run down and even partially closed off by the building police. Three professorial positions at the clinic were not filled, there were hardly any surgeons and no usable operating room."

Prof. Wiedemann drew on the tradition of the Leipzig Eye Clinic. After all, it is the oldest eye clinic in Germany, because the founding of the first eye department in Germany is recorded as early as 1820. Around 1900, Hubert Sattler, one of the most important ophthalmologists of the time, worked here. What he emphasizes, however, is that "the premises and the equipment were desolate, but the staff had excellent professional training. Doctors and nurses were highly motivated". There was only one thing that occasionally bothered him: "The collective spirit might make the workforce strong. But they liked to hide in the collective when it came to mistakes."

UKL up to date

In 1997, a goal was achieved: the eye clinic was one of the first UKL institutions to move into a new building at Liebigstrabe 12 – with modern rooms and equipment.

Making Leipzig better known internationally

But the specialist for diseases of the retina had also come to Leipzig with the aim of putting the clinic back on the international map. This had an excellent reputation in the GDR, but the international charisma had diminished under the conditions of the Iron Curtain.

Playing a role again – this goal is not easy to achieve anyway. But it becomes even more difficult when there is a lack of "the indispensable funds" for research and teaching, because they were necessarily invested in the new buildings. In the meantime, the Director of the Eye Clinic, as Vice Rector of the University, as President of the German Ophthalmological Society, as a member of the Leopoldina, as the only European co-editor of the standard work on retinology, and especially as President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, the world association of ophthalmologists, was able to make a personal contribution to making Leipzig better known in the professional world.

2009, the year of the 600. On the occasion of the university’s 50th birthday, German ophthalmologists met for their annual congress in Messestadt. "All of these functions take time and energy," says prof. Wiedemann. "It wasn’t always easy to reconcile work, functions and offices. Because I was an operator. You have to stay in practice, you can’t take a few months off and you’re always tied up with patients."

Milestones reached

Whether technically challenging operations, work by his research group on Muller cells, a Corona-related virtual world congress of ophthalmologists for the first time, or collaboration on a resolution paper (World Report on Vision) of the World Health Organization on the worldwide general right to ophthalmological treatment – these milestones mark the path of the ophthalmologist.

He has achieved his main goal. The trade fair city is back on the international map of ophthalmology. Leipzig is actually only one station in his life. Ingolstadt, Bochum, Erlangen, Cologne lay before it, just like the USA or France.

With retirement on the horizon, he and his wife faced the question of whether to stay put. Daughter becomes ophthalmologist in Cologne, son is judge in Mannheim. Together it was decided: "We stay in this beautiful city."

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