In Memoriam: Professor Juan Murube del Castillo (1934-2024)

In Memoriam: Professor Juan Murube del Castillo (1934-2024)

Today we woke up with the sad news of the passing of Professor D. Juan Murube del Castillo. With heavy hearts and profound sadness, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary individual, a remarkable scholar, mentor, and esteemed figure in the medical community, his passing leaves an indelible void in our hearts and minds.

Professor Murube was one of the founders of the Sociedad Mundial de Dacriología, the mother of our current International Dacryology and Dry Eye Society (ISD-DE).

Juan Murube was born in Gijón and completed part of his academic training in Seville. He practised, learnt, and taught ophthalmology in different locations in Spain, such as the Canary Islands, Zaragoza, and Madrid. A disciple of Dr. Ramón Castroviejo, another Spanish figure who is part of the great names in ophthalmology, Prof. Murube leaves us a legacy of countless descriptions and advancements in ophthalmology. Juan Murube del Castillo’s exceptional contributions and invaluable research in the field of ophthalmology have revolutionized our understanding of eye diseases and disorders. His insightful studies and groundbreaking publications have not only enriched the medical community but also paved the way for better patient care worldwide.

Beyond his remarkable achievements, Professor Murube del Castillo was revered for his innate ability to inspire and mentor generations of budding ophthalmologists. As a charismatic and compassionate teacher, he touched the lives of countless students and colleagues, instilling in them a deep passion for ophthalmology and a commitment to excellence. His supportive nature and unwavering encouragement empowered many individuals to strive for greatness in their careers.

If we review his hundreds of publications in scientific journals and the books he wrote meticulously for over 50 years, we will find a faithful reflection of his professional life. He was an ophthalmologist, especially interested in oculoplastics, dacryology, and dry eye, pioneering the description of new diseases and surgical techniques, such as carunculorrhinostomy for canalicular obstructions or the Murube tube for the performance of dacryocystorhinostomies, salivary gland transplantation in the conjunctival fornix, Stenon’s duct transpositions to the conjunctival fornix, subcutaneous dacrioreservoir implants in the abdomen, occlusion of the lacrimal puncta with conjunctival or autologous cutaneous patches, the performance of Z-plasties and Y-V-plasties for the treatment of conjunctivochalasis, or the use of amniotic membrane in ophthalmology. He was also a philologist, interested in the origin of words related to ophthalmology, describing new terms, a critic always questioning the reason behind things, and ahead of his time, constantly updating ophthalmological knowledge to current times.

It would be impossible to describe all the awards and recognitions Prof. Murube received throughout his life. The list would be as long and full as his life was in his professional, family, and personal aspects. Married and father of 6 children, a teacher and inspiration for thousands of students from various generations, a pioneer of modern ophthalmology and promoter of sub-specialisation, a sportsman known for his passion for rugby, athletics, and parachuting, a thinker, a great communicator, and a true gentleman!

With heavy hearts, we extend our deepest condolences to Professor Murube del Castillo’s family, friends, colleagues, and the countless lives he touched. May his soul find eternal peace, and may we honour his memory by continuing his noble pursuits, striving for excellence, and making a lasting impact on the lives of others, just as he did during his remarkable time with us.

Today, the tears that Professor Murube loved so much and researched about in his life are shed by his loved ones in his memory. Rest in peace, Professor Juan Murube del Castillo. You will forever be missed, but your legacy will illuminate the path for future generations.


Written by Dr Santiago Ortiz Perez, Granada, 10th January 2024

Santiago Ortiz-Perez MD, PhD

Treasurer of ISD-DE

Head of the Ophthalmology Department

Hospital Virgen de las Nieves

University of Granada, Andalusia, Spain


Ophthalmologist Juan Murube del Castillo dies in Madrid at the age of 89.

Tribute by Professor Gysbert Van Setton, Helsinki, Sweden.

“Juan  was one of my oldest friends, I knew him since the 80ies.”

“Juan Murube was THE great man in Dacryology,  grand maitre of our society and the former European Society of Dacryology. A true master in  Ophthalmology and humanity.
Always  positive, active, curious and encouraging to all, dedicated to his field and family. Vivant discussion and heartfelt sympathy was always present.   His dedication and strong insight into terminology have helped to create that what we today consider as being the field of Dacryology.  He will be missed by us all whilst we will continue the path he has created. In memory – with gratitude.”  10th January 2024


I am deeply saddened to know of Prof. Murube’s passing. He is more than a mentor to me, he is a family.

Tribute by Rey Javate, Manila, Philippines

 “Prof. Juan Murube del Castillo made a great impact in my life, he was not only my teacher and a mentor but he was a friend and a family to me especially during my fellowship with him in Spain. Through his guidance and support, I have become the best version of myself.

Thank you for the priceless gift of knowledge, lesson and Wisdom. Thank you for supporting my ideas and boosting my confidence during my term as President of the International Society of Dacryology and Dry Eyes and for founding the Asia Pacific Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. You were my backbone and inspiration to strive more and always aim for the best.

His legacy will continue to inspire generations of doctors to come. The impact you had on is immeasurable, and we are forever grateful.

We hope this tribute will bring comfort and peace to your family during this difficult time.”

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