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Randall Olson

The Power List 2020 – Power List

Professor, Chair and CEO, John Moran Eye Center, University of Utah School of Medicine, UT, USA

Piece of advice for your younger self?  

What goes around comes around. In other words, do not expect to succeed by burning bridges and treating people poorly.

The most serendipitous moment of your career?

Working in Saudi Arabia I had a patient who was blind since he was eight from smallpox. One eye was NLP and the other bare LP. The bare LP eye had iris tissue in his corneal perforation but no apparent opening. In the OR I used vitrectomy equipment to cut a pseudo pupil in the middle of the stretched iris tissue. We did patch and the next day, after 60 years, this man was 20/20 uncorrected when the patch came off. The shock to all in the room is indescribable. I still get chills up my spine remembering him see his wife, kids and grandkids for the first time.

The most unexpected turn your career took? 

I had always expected to be part of a large Ophthalmology academic unit. I am from Utah and LSU recruited the only Ophthalmology faculty member at Utah at that time. My first thought was no, but then I decided to pursue this even though no search was launched and the surgery department had decided to not hire anyone in Ophthalmology. So I had to talk my way into a job and started as a one person division in the Surgery Department. The rest, as they say, is history.

Part of the Power List 2020

Find out more

From ocular oncology to tackling neglected diseases, our 2020 Power Listers are making their mark on ophthalmology – and beyond.

Go to The Power List 2020

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