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In Memoriam - Thomas Tredici

April 30, 2021

In Memoriam - Thomas Tredici

AsMA Staff were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Thomas J. Tredici, M.D. , Col., USAF(Ret.), a Fellow and long-time member of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA).

He began his career in 1942, entering the Army Air Corps in the Aviation Cadet program, and was trained as a pilot. After the war, he attended Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his medical degree in 1952 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and interned at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, TX. He then completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Eye and Ear Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, in 1957.
   Following that residency, Dr. Tredici served as Chief of Ophthalmology at Scott AFB, IL, and at Clark AFB, Philippines. He was then assigned to the Ophthalmology Branch at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in 1964 as an ophthalmic pathologist, staff ophthalmologist, and researcher. He reverted back to being an ophthalmic surgeon in 1965, serving in Vietnam and at Clark AFB, Philippines. When he returned to Brooks AFB, he was named Chief of the Ophthalmology Branch at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. During that time, he was instrumental in establishing and implementing the U.S. Air Force policy on glaucoma for aviators, which has returned hundreds to full flight status, saving millions in training costs. He and his staff also worked with NASA to develop criteria for visors to protect astronauts from ultraviolet energy during the exploration of the Moon. He later became a research and clinical contributor to the Aerospace Ophthalmology Branch project dealing with refractive surgery in the aviator.
   Dr. Tredici was a principal lecturer in Ophthalmology (now Aerospace Ophthalmology) starting in 1964, lecturing to classes in the Primary Course in Aerospace Medicine. He was also the principal lecturer to classes of Residents in Aerospace Medicine (RAMs) and to the Advanced Aerospace Medicine International Medical Officer classes. As Chief of Ophthalmology, he initiated a project to train assigned Branch Flight Surgeons in Aerospace Ophthalmology and also began a program to train ophthalmology technicians, the first in the Department of Defense.
   Dr. Tredici retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1981 but was immediately recalled to active duty by the Secretary of the Air Force. He retired and was recalled again in 1986. He finally fully retired in 1987 and was awarded a second Legion of Merit. Despite retirement, he continued to work on a volunteer basis at Brooks City Base, TX. In addition to establishing U.S. Air Force policy on glaucoma, he was also known as one of the nation’s leading authorities on the use of contact lenses in aviation and discovered the principle reason for stereopsis in aviatiors (microstrabismus) and devised an ocular prism test to facilitate the diagnosis.
   Dr. Tredici held 17 military awards and decorations. He received the Academy of Opthalmology Senior Honor Award, was the USAF representative on the National Research Council, Committee on Vision, and the Department of Defense representative on the National Advisory Eye Council, National Eye Institute. He was also a committee member of NATO-AGARD and was a founding commissioner of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. He won the USAFSAM Docere Award as Outstanding Teacher and the Thomas F. Koritz Award as Outstanding Instructor in the Primary Course in Aerospace Medicine, received the USAF Scientific Achievement Award and the George E. Shafer Award for life-time achievements from the Society of USAF Flight Surgeons. AsMA awarded him the Theodore C. Lyster Award in 1979 and the Louis H. Bauer Founders Award in 2000. He attended every meeting from 1966 to the early 2000s and received his 50-year member pin in 2014. AsMA named an award for him and his late wife, the Thomas J. and Margaret D. Tredici Award, for significant contributions to aerospace ophthalmology.
   To read more about his career, please see the write-up when he won the Bauer Award. He was also interviewed in 2020; that interview can be found at https://www.pressreader.com/usa/houston-chronicle/20191230/281492163234693.