Dr. Juan Verdaguer Tarradella (1934-2020)

Feb 28, 2020Announcement, Obituaries

On February 25, 2020, Dr. Juan Verdaguer Tarradella passed away following a long illness.  Below are a few memories from some who had served with him.  If you would like to share a memory, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Dr. Verdaguer and his wife Martina

In Memory of Dr. Verdaguer

Ophthalmology and Ophthalmologists around the world, in particular, the members of PAAO are saddened by the passing of our beloved, Dr. Juan Verdaguer.  A leader, a teacher, a kind and gentle individual who mentored and taught so many. Admired and respected by his patients and their families and everyone who had the pleasure to interact with him
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Personally, I met Juan Verdaguer for the first time during Dr. Lorenz Zimmerman’s seminar many years ago in Brazil. At that time and throughout his career, he was very enthusiastic about Ocular Pathology and was instrumental to establish and to bring the PAAO Ocular Pathology Society to South America. He influenced many of us, in particular Dr. Hernan Valenzuela, who became a very prominent Ocular Pathologist in Chile.

Finally, our hearts and prayers go out to his family, including the new generation of Verdaguers in Ophthalmology.

Miguel N. Burnier Jr. MD (Canada), PAAO President 2019-2021


Dr. Verdaguer was a friend and a role model that inspired generations of leaders of the Pan-American! He was a true gentleman and a very generous man! He will be greatly missed.

Fernando Arévalo MD (Venezuela), PAAO President 2017-2019


Juan Verdaguer was a just and fair man. A great professor, tireless in his academic work, he was always present in national and international forums. He occupied all the posts of the PAAO until he became President and was also Treasurer of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis. Above all, he was very dedicated to his thousands of patients and hundreds of students. A dear friend, a great person who guided and accompanied us. He had no faults.

Cristián Luco MD (Chile), PAAO President 2009-2011


Dr. Verdaguer was truly a giant in our field and one of the most generous and kind individuals you could ever meet.  His legacy at the PAAO will live on forever.  We will all miss him.

Richard L. Abbott MD (USA), PAAO President 2007-2009

We all will miss Dr. Verdaguer. He was a great ophthalmologist and a leader in the PAAO. 

Enrique Graue Wiechers MD (Mexico), PAAO President 2005-2007


Juan started in ophthalmology as Juanito because his father was Professor Verdaguer. He followed his steps, became a top leader in medicine and left with us a fourth-generation Verdaguer of excellence in Ophthalmology. A gentleman and a dear friend.  Will always be missed.

Rubens Belfort Jr MD (Brazil), PAAO President 2001-2003


He was a special friend and colleague to so many and a legend in his own time.

Paul R. Lichter MD (USA),  PAAO President 1999-2001


Dr. Verdaguer is a great example for the generations of ophthalmologists, especially in Latin America for his humility, leadership, and commitment.

 Dr. Francisco Contreras (Peru), PAAO President 1993-1995


Dr. Verdaguer was a great person, a conspicuous gentleman, a real master, an outstanding leader, and a firm, loyal and beloved friend…he will be greatly missed.

Enrique S. Malbrán Sr. MD (Argentina), PAAO President 1989-1991


Dr. Verdaguer was one of the greatest teachers of Pan-American medicine and ophthalmology.  A very complete and generous person, he is responsible for the formation of generations of ophthalmologists. He will always be an example for us Pan-Americans. Thank you for your legacy, dear Professor Dr. Juan Verdaguer Tarradella.

Paulo E.C. Dantas MD (Brazil), PAAO President-Elect 2019-2021

Dr. Verdaguer was a giant in the Pan-American community and in the world.  A quiet but strong leader, he was generous with his time and resources and was one of the great pillars that helped build the Pan-American to the organization that we know today.

Bruce C. Spivey MD (USA), ICO Past President


Professor Juan Verdaguer Tarradella rests in peace, together with the great ophthalmological leaders of the world; we will miss you a lot, all of us who loved and appreciated you, but we are only grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you and to have you as a Professor and friend.  Professor Juan Verdaguer Tarradella had the gift of teaching, humility, kindness, chivalry, and was rewarded in life with a beautiful family, led by his wife Martina, tireless companion of all his projects and journeys through the world, and with an immense number of colleagues, students, friends, who felt for him a great admiration and respect.

José Antonio Roca MD (Peru), PAAO EVP 2015-2019


Dr. Verdaguer always will be remembered for his Pan-American spirit and all his generosity.

Angela Fernández Delgado MD (Colombia), PAAO EVP 2019-2023 


Without any doubt, Dr. Verdaguer was an outstanding mentor and a great motivator, and in particular,  he was a great pillar of our Education for Emerging Nations Committee.

Rafael Cortez Hernandez MD (Venezuela), PAAO Vice President 1997-1999 


Dr. Verdaguer was one of the first people I met at the 1985 AAO Annual Meeting in San Francisco when I began working for the Pan-American.  He was a wonderful mentor.  It was a privilege to have served under him as PAAO President.

 Teresa J. Bradshaw (USA), PAAO 1985-2020

Professor Juan Verdaguer Tarradella was born in Santiago, Chile on February 8, 1934. Juan Verdaguer is survived by his wife, Martina, four children and 14 grandchildren. Sofia, daughter of son Juan Ignacio, is the fourth generation ophthalmologist.

He studied Medicine at the University of Chile, where he received the award for the best student of his promotion (1958). He then studied specialization in the Ophthalmology Service of the J.J. Aguirre Clinical Hospital, under the direction of Professor Juan Verdaguer Planas, his father. He did postgraduate studies at Harvard and Columbia Universities in the United States (1962–1963).

He was Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology (1964), Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Chile, Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile, Head of Ophthalmology Service at J.J. Clinical Hospital. Aguirre from 1975-1997, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of the Andes (1999 – 2018), Academic Director of Los Andes Ophthalmological Foundation (1999-2018), President of the Chilean Society of Ophthalmology (1971-1972), President of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (1997-1999), Member of the Academy of Medicine of the Institute of Chile, Member and First Vice-President of Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis (2006-2010), Member of the International Council of Ophthalmology, Member and former member of the Executive Committee of the Jules Gonin Club (Switzerland), Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), Honorary Member of the Ophthalmology Societies of Paraguay, Ecuador, Panama, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Corresponding Member of the Ophthalmology Societies of Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Catalonia, President of the Joint Congress American Academy of Ophthalmology/Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (1999), President of the Latin American Angiography Group Retinal and Laser (GLADAOF), President of the Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology 2005.

He received several international medals and gave numerous honor conferences in several countries. He received the 2014 National Prize for Medicine and was the Guest of Honor at the XXXIII Pan-American Congress of Ophthalmology (Lima). He was the author of more than 200 papers published in national and international journals and books on retinal diseases, eye oncology, and blindness prevention.

Submitted by José Antonio Roca MD (Peru)
Retina & Vitreous Fellow under Dr. Verdaguer, 1993-1994  

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