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Spotlight Interview with John Berdahl

Authors: John Berdahl, Vance Thompson Vision, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

The next interviewee in our The Ophthalmologist Power List 2020 series is leading international cataract surgeon John Berdahl. He shares his motivations, the most rewarding part of his career, and his thoughts on developments in ophthalmology in 2020–2021.


Q: What motivated you to become an ophthalmologist?

I loved physics and was going to be an engineer, but I wanted to work with people more, so ophthalmology was a natural fit. I also wanted solvable problems and tangible improvements that patients could recognize.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your career so far?

There are so many, but training fellows is top of a long list.

Q: What developments are you most excited to hear about in 2020–2021?

There are two things. First, I am excited about our approach to dialling in intraocular pressure by altering the localized atmospheric pressure around the eye.  Second, I am excited to see how we in ophthalmology adapt and improves our approach to eye care in the post-covid world.


Support: No support was received for the publication of this Insight article.

Published: 9 June 2020

Author profile:

Practicing in Sioux Falls, SD, board-certified ophthalmologist, John Berdahl, MD is widely regarded as one of the leading international cataract surgeons. He is one of the few surgeons in the USA who is also fellowship trained in cornea, glaucoma, and refractive surgery. Dr Berdahl has performed more than 25,000 eye surgeries worldwide. His published work has primarily focused on the fundamental causes of Glaucoma, Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, and Astigmatism Management, during and after cataract surgery. He has been involved in numerous FDA-monitored clinical trials on the most exciting technologies in ophthalmology. He founded Equinox, which is developing the first non-surgical, non-pharmacologic way to lower eye pressure for glaucoma treatment. He co-invented the MKO melt, which provides sedation during cataract surgery without the use of an IV. Additionally, he created which helps thousands of surgeons per month fix residual astigmatism after cataract surgery. Finally, in an effort to improve access to care, he co-founded ExpertOpinion.MD which provides online opinions to patients from top doctors around the world. Although Dr. Berdahl has many accomplishments, his primary driver is the trust that people place in him, particularly meeting his patients in their moments of vulnerability and putting their needs first. His commitment to the underserved is demonstrated by his leadership in EyeCare America, as well as in the Mission Vision program at Vance Thompson Vision, where he performs dozens of free surgeries every year. Dr. Berdahl also continues to serve the impoverished on mission trips worldwide.

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