Dr. Spaeth graduated in Medicine from Harvard Medical School (Alpha Omega Alpha). He was Director of the William and Anna Goldberg Glaucoma Service and Research Laboratories at the Wills Eye Hospital/Jefferson Medical College from 1968 to 2007, where he is now the Louis J. Esposito Research Professor.
He has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles, many hundred commentaries in various formats, over 100 book chapters, 200 editorials and 20 books, several of which have been translated into other languages, including Chinese. His surgical text, now in its fourth edition, is used in many countries around the world. He serves on the editorial boards of six journals, and was for many years Editor- in- Chief of Ophthalmic Surgery. Fellows he has trained work in 34 countries on six continents, and include the current or past presidents of the American Glaucoma Society, the European Glaucoma Society, the Chinese Glaucoma Society, the Pan-Arab-African Glaucoma Society, the Brazilian Glaucoma Society, the Chilean Glaucoma Society, and Christian Medical College in Lahore, India; one was Vice President of Medical Affairs in a Japanese Medical School. His fellows are Chairs of Departments of Ophthalmology in the United States and internationally and Directors of many Glaucoma Services around the world. He has enjoyed a close relationship with the physicians and with the cultures of the Asia-Pacific Region, participating frequently in its Medical Congresses, and traveling with his late wife, Ann Ward Spaeth, to visit those he has mentored. Dr. Spaeth himself was a founding member and the first President of the American Glaucoma Society. He served as the Chair of the Ethics Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Awards he received include the Goldmann Gold Medal from the International Glaucoma Group, The Weisenfeld Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, The Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, The Optime de Glaucomatologia Merenti-For Outstanding Service in the field of Glaucoma from the Polish Ophthalmology Society, The Community Service Award from Chestnut Hill College, and was named to the All-American Soccer Team, Honorable Mention.
Recently, he, his son, Eric, and a former fellow, J. Richman, have developed a test of contrast sensitivity, SPARCS, they hope will prove useful in effectively detecting visual loss in most people around the world.
Dr. Spaeth enjoys lecturing; he has presented 30 named lectureships, which give him the opportunity to present his views on the importance of individualizing patient care and helping people celebrate their lives, which he demonstrates in his busy practice and in his own life.