In addition to over 20 years as a maverick in cataract and corneal surgery and contact lens innovation, London Place Eye Centre's Founder Dr. Johnson will be best remembered as one of the true grandfathers of refractive laser surgery. Dr. Johnson was killed on Thursday July 11th, 2002 in an automobile accident in his hometown of Surrey, BC leaving a legacy of achievement and accomplishment in ophthalmology that will never be forgotten.
Dr. Johnson (affectionately known as Dr. J) is considered to be the first surgeon in North America to dedicate his practice solely to refractive surgery. He performed the first procedure on a nearsighted eye in British Columbia, Canada in 1984 using the radial keratotomy procedure. In 1990, he became the first in the area to use the excimer laser and the rest as they say is history. He personally performed nearly 50,000 treatments over nearly 20 years as an investigator and innovator with laser manufacturers such as VISX, Nidek and Sunrise.
"Dr. J, you were right all along and you stood by what you knew was right."
His best known accomplishment in the field of laser vision correction was the development and patent of his 'no touch' laser only technique. Dr. Johnson believed strongly in putting the patients' safety first and foremost in refractive surgery and to this day stood by his conviction that laser only surface treatment was superior to more invasive procedures such as LASIK. At times he stood alone in this battle, but in recent years was pleased to hear from so many surgeons who eventually concurred with comments such as "Dr. J, you were right all along and you stood by what you knew was right."
Dr. Johnson was an invited lecturer at hundreds of conferences all over Canada and the United States and worldwide in countries such as Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, France and England among others.
Dr. J was an instructor, training surgeons from all over the world and freely giving advice to his colleagues on multiple occasions. Over 40 eye care professionals trusted their own eyes in his hands for their treatment. He respected many fellow eye surgeons throughout the world and had a special kinship with some of the greats, including Dr. Mihai Pop (Montreal), Dr. Howard Gimbel(Calgary), Dr. Fyodorov (Russia), Dr. Carmen Barraquer (Columbia), Dr. Stephen Trokel (Columbia University in New York), Dr. Keith Williams of London, England and of course his longtime colleague and co-surgeon at London Place Eye Centre, Dr. James Miller to name just a few.
Condolences have poured in from patients and colleagues from around the world, who reflected as much on his personality as a kind, humble, honest and generous man as to his contributions to the world of ophthalmology.
As one renowned surgeon put it, ophthalmology has lost a gentle giant it will never forget.