Bernard-Blaustein-Uncle-Bernie-Retirement-2018-(12)-2.jpgAfter more than 40 years of service to the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), professor Bernard H. Blaustein, OD ‘67, FAAO, affectionately known as “Uncle Bernie,” retired in late 2017.

A resolution was passed for Dr. Blaustein’s professor emeritus status, in which he was presented with a special embossed certificate at his formal retirement reception. At the same reception, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman announced a primary care exam room at The Eye Institute (TEI) would be named in his honor to highlight the impact Dr. Blaustein made at TEI, PCO and Salus.

“Not only do we owe you, but also all of the patients that you touched directly, and that you touched with us,” Dr. Mittelman, OD ’80, said during the announcement.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 1960, Dr. Blaustein went on to receive his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1967, graduating summa cum laude. Since 1974, he has served as an assistant and then associate professor at PCO. For six years, from 2003 through 2009, he also managed the On-Campus Residency Programs. In addition to educating students at PCO, he spent time as chief of the Optometry Service at the VA Medical Center in Coatesville, Pa., and in private practice.

Bernard BlausteinJust a few of Dr. Blaustein’s accomplishments to the profession include his contribution of more than 30 professional articles and chapters in various optometric texts, his presentation of more than 30 papers at scholarly conferences, being a member of both the Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society and the American Optometric Association, and being a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dozens of friends, colleagues, and family members, including his wife Paula of 54 years, attended Dr. Blaustein’s retirement celebration. His students — which included fellow colleagues whom he taught — shared their own personal and professional memories of him.

Dr. Blaustein was not only known for his extensive wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of optometry, but also for his kindness, character and many often called him a role model.

“Dr. Blaustein is a true gentleman — kind, compassionate and humble,” said Maria Parisi, OD ‘85, associate dean of Clinical Affairs at PCO. “I came in 1986 and I’ve known Bernie for quite a long time,” said now-retired associate professor of PCO and primary care provider at TEI, Neal Nyman, OD. “We all know what a great teacher he is and what a great provider of care he is, but the thing that struck me most about Bernie is what a humanitarian he is. I think everybody here can probably tell a personal story about what it has been like to know Bernie on a personal level — what a kind and giving human being he is.”
Bernard Blaustein Retirement
“When I first came here 40 years ago, I remember being so impressed with the breadth and depth of his knowledge,” said Jeffrey Nyman, OD, associate professor of PCO and director of TEI’s Emergency Services, adding, “but also who he was.”

Lorraine Lombardi, PhD, who has also since retired, always admired the amount of information Bernie knew both didactically and clinically. “He’s been a good role model for all of the clinicians in terms of being a good scientist,” she said.

“Every time he teaches them something clinically, he teaches as a scientist, too,” Carlo Pelino, OD ’94, chief of TEI’s Chestnut Hill site. “His vocabulary is wonderful and he dresses spectacular,” he said. “That being said, I will miss him very much... the things that he’s done for this institution, you can’t put them down on paper.”

Dr. Blaustein has been a mentor for generations of students, residents and faculty alike and it is without a doubt that he is missed here at Salus.

“It’s been a labor of love and it’s been an intellectual feast. The perspective I have on where this profession has been and where it’s going to go is wonderful and I feel blessed to have been a part of it,” Dr. Blaustein said. “Thank you for a great 50 years. I have enjoyed working with everybody and I have always had a smile on my face here. It’s going to be a bit of an adjustment but I’m entering a new chapter in my life and I know that I’ll enjoy that too.”