Dr. Edward J. Cummings, 86, a noted Washington ophthalmologist for more than 45 years, died in a nursing home in Burlingame, Calif., following a stroke. He had been a resident there since September.

Dr. Cummings practiced ophthalmology in Washington from 1930 until he retired in 1975. During this time he also was affiliated with Providence, D.C. General and Children's hospitals.

He was chief of ophthalmology at Georgetown University Hospital and professor of surgery of Georgetown University School of Medicine for more than 30 years.

Born in Boston, Dr. Cummings earned a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a doctorate from Harvard Medical School. He served his internship at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore.

He served in the Navy Medical Corps from 1913 to 1930, seeing duty in California, Panama, and Washington, where he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital.

Among the many organizations he belonged to were the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolarynrology, D.C. Medical Society, the Retired Officers Association, the Chevy Chase County Club, and the Harvard Club. He was a founding member of the Army Navy Country Club and belonged to the Touchdown Club.

Dr. Cummings are a member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Washington.

He is survived by a son, Edward J. Jr., of San Francisco; one grandchild and one great-grandchild.