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ASCRS names Vance Thompson, MD, as president

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Kicking off its annual meeting this weekend, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) announced it has appointed Vance Thompson, MD, as its newest president.

Talk about ASCRS.

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

Since 1974, ASCRS has provided education, philanthropy, and advocacy in its clinical areas of focus.

Didn’t we just hear leadership news?

Sort of … Back in November 2023, the organization appointed ophthalmic industry veteran Abigail Mrkward as executive director; her position involves heading up the ASCRS Foundation.

Note: The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established to support physician education and offer humanitarian cataract surgery across the U.S. and developing countries via programs and partnerships.

Gotcha. So who is Dr. Thompson replacing?

Elizabeth Yeu, MD, who served as president from May 2023 to April 2024.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Thompson served as vice president / president elect.

Now talk about his background.

Dr. Thompson is known as an “internationally-recognized specialist in refractive cornea, phakic-intraocular lens (IOL), and lens-based surgery.”

Most notably, he is the founder and director of Refractive Surgery of Vance Thompson Vision (VTV), an ophthalmic surgery center based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that specializes in refractive, cornea, glaucoma, and cataract surgery, as well as LASIK and oculoplastics.

Fact: The business currently has seven clinic locations in not just South Dakota, but also North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and Nebraska.

Go on …

According to Dr. Thompson, the clinic has participated in the ASCRS Foundation’s Operation Sight, which is a U.S.-based charitable cataract surgery program launched in 2014 and led by a network of volunteer surgeons.Its purpose: to serve patients who are financially vulnerable, uninsured, and who cannot otherwise afford or access care.

VTV has delivered “free eye surgery to many in South Dakota and our neighboring states, to get surgery that they otherwise could not have afforded,” he told Sioux Falls Business.

What other clinical experience does he have?

Currently a professor of Ophthalmology at the Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Dr. Thompson’s experience also includes:

  • Serving as a principal investigator or medical monitor lead of 100+ clinical research trials, of which 90 were FDA-monitored, for laser and implant surgery
  • Serving as advisor of the ASCRS Refractive Surgery Clinical Committee
  • Publishing multiple papers and book chapters, including being co-author of a textbook titled Refractive Surgery
  • Lecturing and teaching advanced laser and implant surgery across the globe

And his goals for this 1-year term?

While in leadership, Dr. Thompson is reported to be determined to advance ASCRS’s peer-to-peer educational initiatives, which are key in supplying eyecare professionals (ECPs) (surgeons, primarily) with the education and skills needed to provide quality patient care across the globe.

“I am also excited to help lead the work being put into how we help the current generation of ophthalmologists and their practices navigate the future in the areas that are most interesting and concerning to them.

So what’s on the agenda for this weekend?

Dr. Thompson is set to be officially inducted as president of the ASCRS on Friday, April 5, during the annual meeting — which also just so happens to mark the organization’s 50th anniversary.

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