George O. Waring III, MD, recently passed away at the age of 73 years. George will be remembered as an innovator and a real pioneer in the area of refractive surgery. After completing his medical training at Baylor University, he finished a residency program in ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. He started his academic career at the University of California Davis in 1974. He spent many years as a professor of ophthalmology at Emory University in Atlanta and most recently served as a professor emeritus from this institution.
Dr. Waring was a great innovator and it has been said of him that he was the first “academic” keratorefractive surgeon. At the time when radial keratotomy was first being performed extensively in the United States, George spearheaded the Perspective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy (PERK) study, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of that procedure. George also performed extensive research in laser corneal surgery and was actively involved in helping develop the laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure. He worked hard to gain approval of excimer laser vision correction surgery in the U.S. As the principal investigator of the LASIK study at Emory University, he received the first physician-sponsored investigational device exemption from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Waring was actively involved in research and published more than 500 papers as well as 2 major textbooks. He will be remembered as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Refractive Surgery. As a journal editor, George was actively involved in the yearly meetings of editors from the major ophthalmic journals. He was always trying to stimulate new ideas, which would lead to a higher quality of publications, and fought multiple battles against what he felt was the unwarranted intrusion of outside restraints to quality academic publications. George was known as a dedicated teacher and made presentations and taught courses throughout the world in the areas of cataract and refractive surgery. He received multiple awards in his career, including a life achievement award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology as well as a lifetime achievement award from the International Society of Refractive Surgery.
George had a boundless energy and was a real adventurer. He enjoyed skiing with friends, especially in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. In addition, George enjoyed climbing and visiting exotic parts of the world. He was a connoisseur of African art.
George Waring will be remembered as a real innovator and pioneer of refractive surgery. He was a dedicated teacher and a diligent researcher. George was a good friend to many of us in the ophthalmic community and he will be greatly missed.