HOW IT ALL BEGAN
The eye clinic was founded in 1895 by Dr. med. Herzog Carl Theodor in Bavaria. At that time, the Duke was already a luminary in the field of ophthalmology. After having practiced for 15 years alternately in Tegernsee, Meran and Munich, he was now able to realize his ideas of treating eye patients in his own clinic. Supported by his wife, Duchess Maria Josefa, the Duke treated primarily impecunious patients free of charge. The Duke financed the eye clinic as a "charity institution for impecunious eye patients" from his private assets; medical fees from wealthy patients were of little consequence. Duke Carl Theodor practiced at the eye clinic at Nymphenburger Strasse 43 until his death in 1909, during which time he performed more than 5,000 cataract operations.
Continuity in Turbulent Times
After the duke's death in 1909, his long-time medical assistant, Privy Councillor Dr. Heinrich Zenker, took over management of the clinic. In order to make the clinic financially independent and to be able to continue its charitable activities, Duchess Maria Josefa established the Herzog Carl Theodor Eye Clinic Foundation in 1917. This enabled the clinic to survive the political and economic upheavals of the first half of the 20th century. It was also still possible to treat needy patients free of charge.
In 1943, Dr. Carl Zenker, son of Dr. Heinrich Zenker, also became his successor as director of the clinic. After his death in 1978, he was succeeded by Prof. Dr. Bernhard von Barsewisch. His professional work and his construction measures have left their mark on the eye clinic to this day. For example, he designed a new type of floor plan for the operating rooms and ensured that the facade of the clinic building was restored to its original appearance.
Tradition and modernity
The eye clinic also shows consistency in terms of personnel: Prof. Christos Haritoglou, MD, who has been the medical director since 2015, is only the sixth head physician since the clinic was founded. In 1999, the Foundation was able to purchase the former Munich III registry office at Nymphenburger Straße 45 from the city. This closed a circle after many decades: the property had previously belonged to the Duchess and was shared by the clinic from 1914 to 1918. In 1938, she sold it to the city of Munich, probably in order to be able to support the clinic financially.
Even in Duke Carl Theodor's time, the eye clinic was always at the cutting edge of technology - a claim that still holds true today. But the attentive and personal care provided by the doctors, nurses and other staff members also continues to distinguish the clinic. Thanks to the independent foundation that supports the clinic, Herzog Carl Theodor's life's work is being continued.
Today, the Herzog Carl Theodor Eye Clinic is one of the best-equipped and most modern specialist eye surgery clinics in Germany. And the foundation also sees itself well equipped for the future to continue the clinic in the Duke's spirit and for the benefit of the patients.