Frank Buller (1844-1905)

Frank Buller, a member of a well-known Devonshire family, completed his medical studies at the Rolf School of Medicine, Victoria College in Toronto in 1868. He then traveled to Germany to study with the pioneering ophthalmologist Frederich Wilhelm Ernest Albrecht Von Graefe (1828-1870). He studied pathology under Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (1821-1902) and optics under Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894). In 1872 he moved to London, England, and became House Surgeon at the Royal London (Moorfields) Ophthalmic Hospital . He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and then moved to Montreal to become the first ophthalmic surgeon in the city; the first Professor of Ophthalmology at McGill University; and the first ophthalmic surgeon to the General Hospital. In 1895 he moved to the new ophthalmic clinic of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

Buller was a colleague of Sir William Osler and a teacher to Harvey Cushing. He is said to have taken the Montreal specialist position in ophthalmology in place of Osler, who was interested in the specialty at that time. Osler instead continued developing his career in general medicine. Osler also resided with Buller at 1351 St Catherine Street, Montreal, renting a room and office on the second floor.

Buller is known internationally as the founder of modern ophthalmology in Canada. He is credited with bringing asepsis and antisepsis to Montreal. He is also credited with bringing the ophthalmoscope, refraction and modern eye pathology to Canada. He invented the Buller Shield , a popular device in the late 19th and early 20th Century . Buller wrote 76 papers and published on a diversity of ophthalmic topics featuring prominently in pathology. Buller died of pernicious anemia in Montreal in 1905.