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November 2000

Svyatoslav N. Fyodorov, MD (1927-2000)

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(11):1594. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.11.1594

Svyatoslav Fyodorov, an outstanding Russian ophthalmologist, businessman, and politician, died in a helicopter crash on June 3, 2000, at age 72.

As a child, Dr Fyodorov dreamed of becoming a pilot, but at age 18 he lost a foot in an accident. This event changed his goals, and Dr Fyodorov decided to devote his life to medicine. He graduated from the medical institute in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, and started his career in ophthalmology, which was, in his opinion, the best medical specialty.

For several years, he worked in hospitals in provincial Russian towns improving his ophthalmosurgery skills. But he was never satisfied with a routine job. His inquisitive mind and aspiration to be an innovator in ophthalmology led him to search for new surgical techniques. In 1960, Dr Fyodorov implanted an artificial crystalline lens for the first time in the Soviet Union. This was the start of his multifaceted career. His innovations in cataract surgery, operations for the treatment of glaucoma, and development and adoption of microsurgery methods established him as a leader in ophthalmology in his country. However, his rise was not an easy one because the medical establishment was not always in agreement with him on the accuracy of his methods and procedures. His methods of myopia surgery (keratotomia) brought him gratitude from his patients, but these techniques were not always approved by his colleagues. Dr Fyodorov eventually proved that he was right in working with this particular technique.