October 05, 2020
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Ophthalmic community mourns loss of Alan S. Crandall

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Alan S. Crandall, MD, senior vice chair and director of glaucoma and cataract at the John A. Moran Eye Center, died Oct. 2 after a sudden illness, according to an announcement from the center.

Crandall served at Moran for 39 years and held the John E. and Marva M. Warnock Presidential Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. He focused on medical and surgical management of glaucoma and cataract surgery, as well as anterior segment surgery.

Crandall founded Moran’s Global Outreach Division and served as its senior medical director. The division provided access to eye care in developing countries and to those who could not afford eye care in the local community. He performed free surgeries to restore sight in Utah, on the Navajo Nation and in more than 20 countries, including Ghana, Nepal and South Sudan, and he trained surgeons around the world.

Alan S. Crandall, MD
Alan S. Crandall

A past president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Crandall was the only physician to receive four internationally recognized awards in ophthalmology for humanitarian contributions: the American Glaucoma Society Humanitarian Award, the American Academy of Ophthalmology Humanitarian Award, the ASCRS Humanitarian Award and the inaugural ASCRS Foundation Chang Humanitarian Award. Other awards bestowed to Crandall included the Health Care Heroes Award for Excellence in Health Care-Community Outreach and the Vocational Excellence Award for Humanitarian Service by Rotary International.

He was a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Crandall previously served as OSN Glaucoma Section Editor and was currently an OSN Glaucoma Board Member.

“Dr. Crandall was a friend to everyone who knew him and universally respected and adored. To know him was to love him, and we grieve with everyone whose life he touched,” Randall J. Olson, MD, CEO of John A. Moran Eye Center, said in the statement.

Tribute to Alan S. Crandall, MD

Alan Crandall, MD, was a unique and exceptional man, physician and surgeon. He was close in age to me, so we shared several decades and many life experiences, including being president of ASCRS. I was blessed to call him and his ever-present wife, Julie, friend

Alan had a busy surgical practice in both an academic and private setting. Honest and direct, he served as a teacher and mentor for hundreds of fellows and residents and shared his knowledge and skill with colleagues worldwide. Alan was a “giver.” In high demand at home by patients, including the rich and famous, he traveled tirelessly to serve the poor and disadvantaged both on the local Navajo Nation and abroad in some of the world’s most challenging and dangerous countries, including Ghana, Nepal and even South Sudan. A gifted and enthusiastic athlete, he was an expert skier and fisherman, and we shared several days on the slopes enjoying his beloved state of Utah. Impressive to me, he suffered through numerous injuries without complaint or impact on his extraordinary work ethic and productivity. Julie, his equally amazing wife, enthusiastically joined him in his selfless life of service to others.

While his death is a great loss, he will live on in the work of those he trained, taught and touched with a generous life well lived.

Richard L. Lindstrom, MD

OSN Chief Medical Editor

I was fortunate to have been close with Alan for 4 decades. Our friendship began in the early 1980s, when Alan was one of the original faculty of the Videosymposium, along with Dick Lindstrom, Roger Steinert, Sam Masket and Doug Koch. While he was the quiet one in the group, he was always the most experienced. As a gifted surgeon, Alan traveled the world sharing his expertise with surgeons on every continent. He was also a bona fide innovator, the glaucoma surgeon who first adopted small-incision cataract surgery. And his support for his younger colleagues, like Ike Ahmed and Bob Cionni, was truly inspiring. 

Out of the operating room, Alan was an excellent athlete and fitness enthusiast. He was also a genuine humanitarian who willingly gave his time to help countless numbers of patients in third-world countries recover or preserve sight. Yet despite his celebrity status, Alan was humble and approachable by all. He would patiently stay long after our courses had ended, patiently answering question after question until the last attendee was satisfied. 

Alan was warm, kind, selfless and a man of total integrity. He was a consummate gentleman, an ambassador and a man good to the core. I will miss teaching and laughing with Alan. I will miss his friendship, his smile, his grace. Ophthalmology has lost one of our most respected and treasured colleagues.

Robert H. Osher, MD

Professor of ophthalmology at the College of Medicine of the University of Cincinnati and medical director emeritus of the Cincinnati Eye Institute