Melvin G. Alper, neuro-ophthalmologist

March 5, 2013

Melvin G. Alper, 91, a neuro-ophthalmologist with a private practice in the Washington area for the past 40 years, died Feb. 23 of pneumonia at his home in Bethesda.

His daughter, Nancy Alper, confirmed the death.

Dr. Alper ran a private practice, what is now Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons, in the District and later in Chevy Chase from 1954 until his retirement in the late 1990s.

From 1954 until the mid-1990s, he was a clinical professor of ophthalmology and neurosurgery at George Washington University’s medical school. He was a past chairman of GWU medical school’s ophthalmology department and Washington Hospital Center’s neuro-ophthalmology department.

Melvin Gustavus Alper was born in Baltimore and raised in Wytheville, Va. He was a 1939 graduate of Augusta Military Academy in Fort Defiance, Va. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1943 and a medical degree in 1945, both from the University of Virginia.

From 1946 to 1948, he was a flight surgeon in the Air Force. He did his ophthalmology residency at the University of Pennsylvania from 1951 to 1954.

Dr. Alper was on the board of the Washington Hospital Center and the board of directors of the International Society of Neuro-Ophthalmology. He was a past president of the Washington Academy of Ophthalmology and Washington Hospital Center’s medical and dental staff.

His honors include Washington Hospital Center’s Gold-Headed Cane award for scientific excellence and integrity.

His first wife, Lorraine Higger Alper, died in 1954. A stepdaughter, Susan Alper, died in 1976.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jane Liebling Alper of Bethesda; a daughter from his first marriage, Nancy Alper of Bethesda; a stepson, John Alper of Bridgewater, Conn.; and four grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough