There is no doubt Dr. Kelman’s impact is as unique as his personality and practices. Charlie Kelman’s phacoemulsification surgery has proven to be the rare technology with longevity – it is still the most common method used worldwide for the procedure. The program cites unheard of statistics for a 30-year-old innovation: nearly 100% of the almost 3 million cataract surgeries performed each year in the United States are done with phacoemulsification, and nearly 10 million each year worldwide. The procedure saves millions in healthcare costs both in the way the procedure is done and by the outcome of preventing blindness, thus allowing people to continue to contribute to society. Kelman spawned an empire that thrives to this day. Additionally, as his colleague Dr. Jack Dodick, chairman, department of ophthalmology, New York University Langone Medical Center and attending in ophthalmology at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Institute, notes in the program, “When Charlie was first able to remove an unwanted tissue inside the human body through a small hole, he basically became the grandfather of all small incision surgery in the whole body.”
Dr. Kelman received some of the highest honors in science and technological innovation including the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (formerly known as the National Medal of Technology), the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed by the President of the United States on America’s leading innovators; and the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s prestigious Laureate Award, awarded six months before he died of cancer. Posthumously, Kelman was honored with the Lasker Award, the nation’s highest award for medical science, among other accolades.
The International Retinal Research Foundation; Alcon; The American Academy of Ophthalmology; Bausch and Lomb; Wills Eye Institute; James B. Carty, Jr., M.D.; Aker Kasten Eye Center; Jerre Minor Freeman, M.D., of Memphis Eye & Cataract Associates; and BWD Group, LLC.