Cataract surgeon, mentor and volunteer Herve Malcolm Byron, MD, died Dec. 15, 2012, in New York City. He was 82 years old.
Byron, Editor Emeritus of the Ocular Surgery News Practice Management Section, was remembered fondly by Peter N. Slack, CEO and president of the Wyanoke Group, publisher of OSN.
“The entire Ocular Surgery News family was saddened to learn that Herve has passed,” Slack said. “He was a long-time collaborator, mentor and friend of our organization. He was an iconic figure in ophthalmology and will be greatly missed.”
Byron is survived by his wife Bryn, daughters Pia and Roseanne, and sons Marc, Herve and David.
According to an obituary published by The Record/Herald News of Northern New Jersey, Byron pioneered a “renegade” cataract procedure that proved to be a refinement of the IOL implantation process. He faced harsh criticism from some colleagues for his novel methods.
“[Herve] was a colorful, energetic innovator in our field and our Society. He was a personal friend and mentor whose practice I assumed upon his retirement. He will be missed,” Ronald Glassman, MD, said in a statement distributed on the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery listserv.
Byron, the son of a physician, was born in Queens, New York, in 1930. He graduated from Cornell University in 1951 and from New York Medical College in 1954. In 1967, he studied in the Netherlands under pioneering surgeon Cornelius D. Binkhorst and implemented many of Binkhorst’s methods in the U.S.
Byron practiced in Englewood, N.J. He frequently served underprivileged patients in his practice and also volunteered abroad. He founded the journal Ophthalmology Management and served as its editor.
Remembrance from Ocular Surgery News Practice Management Section Editor John B. Pinto
It is with deep sadness, but also great gratitude and a smile, that we should mark the passing of Dr. Herve Byron. The most fortunate of us, who a generation ago were young and coming up through the ranks of ophthalmology, had an opportunity to be touched by Herve.
Herve kindly handed off his long-standing post as OSN’s practice management columnist to me. In the years before this, he helped me frame up most of my early work exploring practice economics and especially issues surrounding the ophthalmic personality and work-life balance issues. Close readers of my OSN columns and books have been getting “Herve-by-proxy” for all the years since then.
My last phone conversation with him was a few weeks ago. Herve was voluble, gently feisty, but frustrated by his declining energy. (Until the most recent years, his handshake — even from a wheelchair — was still crushing.)
Herve’s constant admonition to anyone who would listen was that we should “retire the word ‘retirement’.” He lived that credo personally, winding down his New Jersey practice much later than most, and staying involved as a kind of “ophthalmic godfather” to the many surgeons and industry participants he mentored through the years.
We often talked about reincarnation, something he was quite certain of. With luck, he’ll come back soon and make wonderful contributions to the province of ophthalmology once again. Look in a few years for a new intern to show up in your office with a certain twinkle in his eye. And an amazing handshake.