September 2019


ASCRS member spotlight: Vance Thompson, MD

by Denise Monasterio ASCRS Marketing and Communications Manager

Vance Thompson, MD


Every month, ASCRS features one of its dedicated member volunteers who has contributed to the society’s outstanding education and initiatives, helping members strengthen their skills and sharpen their expertise, and provide better care to patients.

This month’s member spotlight features Vance Thompson, MD.
Dr. Thompson joined ASCRS in 1990 and has been highly active throughout his membership. He has supported education in many capacities for the organization such as delivering annual meeting presentations, participating in webinars, and serving as Refractive Editor of EyeWorld. A member of the ASCRS Refractive Surgery Clinical Committee since 2017, he was elected chair of the committee in 2019.
His first experience with the society was when he co-authored an article in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery on topical beta blockers and post-cataract surgery IOP. After its publication, Dr. Thompson and co-author Dave West, MD, presented at the 1998 ASCRS Annual Meeting.
“I love to learn and teach,” Dr. Thompson said. “I think it has a lot to do with my past mentors and what it meant to me when they spent time with me and taught me. It is such an honor to explain things in a way that someone says, ‘I get it and thank you.’ I have been a part of roundtable discussions and webinars, and I love the longer sessions to really dive into a subject. My main focus is refractive surgery, patient care, and research. When I was asked to be the Refractive Editor of EyeWorld, it meant a lot to me. Now, as I serve as the chair of the ASCRS Refractive Surgery Clinical Committee, I get the honor of learning and teaching even more.”
Dr. Thompson became interested in ophthalmology during medical school. “My father and grandfather were both family doctors in South Dakota. I thought that was what I was going to be,” he said. “In medical school I studied with my friend and fellow ophthalmologist Peter Sneed, MD. His father practiced ophthalmology and Pete shared wonderful stories. Between that and studying with a couple of great eye surgeons in my home state of South Dakota, it moved me so much that I was smitten. It was love at first sight professionally and the first time I really felt inspired career-wise. I was anxious to tell my dad because of the family doctor/specialist tension. My mother said I kept pointing at my eyes when I finally told him during Christmas dinner of my junior year of medical school. I was shaking in my boots. He sat back, was silent for a moment, then said, ‘So which eye are you going to specialize in?’ My mother quickly broke the ice telling me how proud she was of my decision and how I would become a great ophthalmologist. My dad quickly said he was very proud of me, but it was a tense moment in my life.”
Dr. Thompson is the founder and a practicing ophthalmologist at Vance Thompson Vision. Founded in 1991 and based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the practice has four other locations—Fargo, North Dakota, Bozeman, Montana, Omaha, Nebraska, and Alexandria, Minnesota. He is a professor of ophthalmology at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. Dr. Thompson received his medical degree from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. He completed an internship at McKennan Hospital, an ophthalmic residency at the University of Missouri, and a corneal and refractive surgery fellowship at the Hunkeler Eye Clinic. He has published numerous publications and papers, holds multiple patents, and has been a principal investigator in more than 40 FDA-monitored clinical trials over the years.
When Dr. Thompson learned that he would be highlighted in this column, he said, “I could go on and on about how ASCRS has influenced my journey in such a positive way.”

Volunteer with ASCRS


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ASCRS member spotlight: Vance Thompson, MD ASCRS member spotlight: Vance Thompson, MD
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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