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On Kindness

On October 2, 2020, renowned surgeon and humanitarian Alan S. Crandall passed away following a sudden illness. Born June 13, 1947, Crandall graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine in 1973. Over the course of his career, he focused on glaucoma, cataract, and complex anterior segment surgery and was involved in clinical research studies and the training of hundreds of surgeons worldwide.

The Ophthalmologist had the pleasure of interviewing Crandall in 2018. When asked what drives his work in developing countries, he answered: “I have always been passionate about helping others. When you fix somebody’s eyes in the developing world, you free up two people: the blind person and their caregiver. It makes a massive difference in those countries, and I think it will benefit the developed world too, eventually. It’s like the concept of a butterfly’s wings starting a wind that goes far; I believe that kindness to individuals ultimately helps society as a whole.” The desire to help others is what made Crandall special – and it is his kindness that will be remembered by the ophthalmic community.

We spoke to Crandall again in April to tell him he’d been included in our 2020 Power List; we asked for a piece of advice he would give to himself in his younger days: “Enjoy what you do, look for ways to improve your outcomes, and treat everyone like they are family.” I think the latter point shows us all a path towards becoming kinder human beings.

You can find our memoriam to Crandall, with tributes from members of our community, here. We encourage you to share your own memories in the comments.

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About the Author
Phoebe Harkin

Associate Editor of The Ophthalmologist

I’ve always loved telling stories. So much so, I decided to make a job of it. I finished a Masters in Magazine Journalism and spent three years working as a creative copywriter before itchy feet sent me (back)packing. It took seven months and 13 countries, but I’m now happily settled on The Ophthalmologist, where I’m busy getting stuck into all things eyeballs.

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