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In Memoriam | Nov/Dec '21

In Memoriam:
William J. Lahners, MD

William J. Lahners, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Center For Sight in Sarasota, Florida, passed away recently at the age of 53.

A specialist in LASIK, cataract surgery, and glaucoma surgery, Dr. Lahners was an early adopter of femtosecond lasers.1 He was the first surgeon on the west coast of Florida to use femtosecond laser technology for all-laser LASIK and the fifth surgeon in the United States to perform laser-assisted corneal transplant surgery.

Dr. Lahners earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and his medical degree from Louisiana State University. He continued his education with a medicine and surgery internship at the Mayo Clinic; an ophthalmology residency at Emory University; and a cornea and external disease, refractive surgery, and glaucoma fellowship at the Phillips Eye Institute and Minnesota Eye Consultants.

Dr. Lahners was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of South Florida. He was a principal investigator in several FDA trials involving cataract surgery, LASIK, pharmaceuticals, corneal cross-linking, and corneal transplantation. He contributed to the AAO’s interactive textbook on femtosecond laser technology and served on the editorial board of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today (CRST).

Dr. Lahners was passionate about aviation and, in a past interview with CRST, cited his personal experience with eye care as an influence on his career. “Thanks to a combination of thin corneas, high myopia, low endothelial cell counts, and relatively large pupils, I am stuck in glasses and contact lenses. It is a cruel irony that I do not qualify for refractive surgery,” he said. “About once a year, I have a dream that I suddenly qualify for LASIK and achieve great results from the procedure. Then, I wake up and reach blindly for my glasses.”

1. US Eye. William J. Lahners, M.D., F.A.C.S. December 15, 2021. Accessed December 15, 2021. www.useye.com/staff/william-j-lahners-m-d-f-a-c-s/

2. Lahners WJ. 5 questions with William J. Lahners, MD. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. August 2011. Accessed December 15, 2021. https://crstoday.com/articles/2011-aug/5-questions-with-william-j-lahnersmd/