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Canadian ophthalmologist receives 2024 ASCRS Foundation Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award

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3 min read

The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Foundation named Vancouver-based ophthalmologist Martin Spencer, MD, this year’s recipient of the Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award.

Let’s start with ASCRS.

Founded in 1974, the organization has established itself as a trusted resource for cataract, refractive, cornea, and glaucoma surgeons, providing access to the latest clinical information, published research, and regulatory information that may impact patient care.

On the leadership front, Abigail Markward, MBA, took over as executive director of the ASCRS Foundation in November 2023.

Now this award.

Established in 2007, the ASCRS Foundation Chang-Crandall Humanitarian Award honors “exceptional contributions to humanitarian work in the field of cataract blindness and disability” and is awarded to recipients (individuals or organizations) for their charitable accomplishments.

Talk about Dr. Spencer.

Based in Vancouver Island, Canada, he has volunteered with the Seva Foundation—an international nonprofit health organization dedicated to preventing and treating blindness and other visual impairments— for the last 38 years to bring eye care to remote areas across the globe.

Per Seva Canada, Dr. Spencer also developed a manufacturing unit in India called Aurolab, which provides “millions of (IOLs) annually for cataract patients, as well as surgical sutures and other sight-saving products.”

Through the Aurolab, the cost of IOLs was reported to have gone down from $250 per lens to an estimated $5—”making it affordable in poorer countries and transforming the way cataract surgery is done in the developing world,” the organization stated.

Tell me more.

Previously honored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) as part of the organization’s 2020 “Unsung Heroes” series, Dr. Spencer is also credited with setting up the first surgical camp in Nepal to offer modern cataract techniques, as well as training eye care specialists and restoring sight for thousands of patients in Nepal, Tibet, Malawi, India, Guatemala, and Cambodia.

Watch the video below.

That’s amazing! Now back to this award.

A $100,000 donation in Dr. Spence’s name will also be made to the charitable ophthalmic organization of his choice.

Per the ASCRS, “Dr. Spencer has earmarked the financial prize to be split between Seva Canada and  Seva Foundation efforts to strengthen eye program quality and sustainability.”

And lastly …

Dr. Spencer will be formally acknowledged as the award recipient during the 2024 ASCRS Annual Meeting, which kicks off in Boston, Massachusetts, April 5 - 8, 2024, as part of its 50th anniversary celebration.