Around 39 million people worldwide are blind and most of those cases are curable. Dr. Alan Crandall with the Moran Eye Center is on a mission around the world to fix as many of those cases as possible. He is motivated by his passion for ophthalmology and seeing results every day.
After growing up with five siblings, all within eight years of each other, Dr. Crandall says he learned toughness and hard work from his mother. He then took the lessons he learned from her and followed in the footsteps of his dad by becoming one of the best eye doctors in the nation.
Below is a transcript of Shauna Lakeas interview with Dr. Alan Crandall:
SHAUNA LAKE: What was it about being an eye doctor that interested you so much?
DR. CRANDALL: When I was in medical school I was fascinated by a number of things as almost everybody is, but my dad was an ophthalmologist. It came down to ophthalmology versus, actually, radiation oncology, but when I saw what cataract surgery can do and glaucoma management can do for the patient, thatas what swung me towards ophthalmology.
SHAUNA LAKE: Youave done a lot of international work. Iam assuming in some of these third-world countries where they donat have adequate healthcare something as simple as a cataract could blind them for life.
DR. CRANDALL: It does. Right now there are 39 million people in the world blind, most of which are curable.
SHAUNA LAKE: What does it feel like to go into a place like that and give a gift?
DR. CRANDALL: Well for us itas a great sensation. It really is. We have a different kind of bend to it as well because our goal eventually is to bring entire sub-specialties of ophthalmology back to the country with their own people. So the eventual goal, which usually takes about 10 to 15 years, it to not be needed, and weare not needed anymore in Nepal which is fantastic. Weare close to being not needed in Ghana, Africa. Itas a great feeling to be able to be part of a team that can help with that.
SHAUNA LAKE: I sense that you have a lot of empathy as a doctor. Iam assuming the best doctors do because it would make you excellent at your job.
DR. CRANDALL: Yes I think so.
SHAUNA LAKE: Did you get a lot of that from your father who was also an ophthalmologista|one of the earliest in Utah?
DR. CRANDALL: Yes thatas correct. I grew up with watching my dad, and how he cared for them and also many, many times first of all he would never charge anybody with a religious affiliation whether a nun, priest, or a bishop. They were all threated as special people, and he would never ever charge somebody if they couldnat afford it. We received lots of chickens, a couple ducks.
SHAUNA LAKE: Chickens in lieu of money?
DR. CRANDALL: Indeed.
SHAUNA LAKE: Is he a reason youare the kind of doctor you are today?
DR. CRANDALL: Probably, I think so. I hope so.
SHAUNA LAKE: Tell me a little bit about your education. I know that you, I heard, I read that you were a star football player at Judge.
DR. CRANDALL: Well I wouldnat say star but yesa|
SHAUNA LAKE: Okay capable football player.
DR. CRANDALL: Yes we won the state championship my junior year and were in the semias my senior year at Judge.
SHAUNA LAKE: And wanted to go to the aUa?
DR. CRANDALL: Yes. Actually my father died when I was in high school. Yeah I still have the picture, there was a picture taken two days before we played East because he went to East High, and the caption was one of these two canat lose on Saturday, and it was him because it was his alma-matter versus his kidas school. And actually he passed away about two weeks after that.
SHAUNA LAKE: Was it unexpected?
DR. CRANDALL: Yeah it was. It was probably research induced colon cancer. Back then they didnat do a lot of early testing.
SHAUNA LAKE: Did you ever have a desire to go somewhere else for school? And I know after graduation you went to Pennsylvania?
DR. CRANDALL: University of Pennsylvania, yeah I did.
SHAUNA LAKE: Is that for residence or why?
DR. CRANDALL: Internship, residency, fellowship, and I was on faculty there fora|until Randy Olson asked me to come back here.
SHAUNA LAKE: And what did it feel like to kind of be in a different environment and different town?
DR. CRANDALL: Walk into Philadelphia General Hospital which was my first night on call, and you donat see a lot of gunshots. You donat see a lot of Sickle Cell Anemia in Utah. I just turned to the nurse and said, aGet me through tonight. I have no idea whatas going on.a That was the beginning of a ten year stay in Philadelphia.
SHAUNA LAKE: I read thatas where you started with your bolo ties?
DR. CRANDALL: Yeah I decided if theyare going to find out what Utahas like I might as well show them what itas like.
SHAUNA LAKE: Is that really why you started wearing them there?
DR. CRANDALL: Yeah.
SHAUNA LAKE: Because you want to represent the west?
DR. CRANDALL: Yes and be a little different I think. Back there, because itas an Ivy League school so everybody kind of tends toa|we werenat allowed to walk in and out of the building without a suit coat on.
SHAUNA LAKE: Really?
DR. CRANDALL: Oh yeah.
SHAUNA LAKE: Wow times have changed.
DR. CRANDALL: Yes.
SHAUNA LAKE: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
DR. CRANDALL: I hope still doing what Iam doing.
SHAUNA LAKE: Really?
DR. CRANDALL: Iave always said as long as I love what I do, and Iam doing it well. I see no reason to quit because itas so much fun. Itas a fabulous way to spend the day.
SHAUNA LAKE: Is retirement something that interests you at all?
DR. CRANDALL: No, not at all. Not even the thought.
SHAUNA LAKE: Itas been so nice to get to know you aPerson 2 Person.a
DR. CRANDALL: Nice to meet you, my pleasure.
SHAUNA LAKE: Thank you so much for your time.
-Written and Produced by Leslie Tillotson
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)