March 2020


A day in the life of Andrew Sorenson, MD, and the Sorenson family

by Ellen Stodola Editorial Co-Director

The Sorenson family in October 2019, from left: Andrew Sorenson, MD, Rebecca Sorenson Janik, MD, Lionel
Sorenson, MD, Robert Sorenson, MD, and John Sorenson, MD
Source: EyeWorld


Early on an October 2019 morning, Andrew Sorenson, MD, prepares to perform four cataract surgeries in Oakland, California, just down the road from his group practice in Berkeley, Sorenson & Sorenson, MDs.
The day’s first cataract surgery employs a PanOptix trifocal IOL (Alcon), a lens that Dr. Sorenson started using shortly after its FDA approval. He noted that 10–20% of his patients select multifocal lenses with positive results, and he thinks PanOptix is a great improvement over prior multifocal lenses.
His second cataract patient comes back to have her second eye done after having her first eye operated on 2 weeks prior. Dr. Sorenson and the patient chose mini monovision with an AcrySof IQ IOL (Alcon), making a slight lens adjustment while speaking immediately before the surgery in the preop room to achieve slightly closer vision. During the case, Dr. Sorenson converses with this patient about the history of cataract surgery.
His final two cases are also cataract removals and go smoothly, and during the last surgery, Dr. Sorenson and his surgical assistant discuss an upcoming trip to Guatemala. The Sorensons, a family of five ophthalmologists, have been doing outreach work in Guatemala since 1978 when their father first performed surgery in the early years of the Guatemalan Civil War. More recently, their work with the Hospital de la Familia Eye Center has changed from purely outreach to an educational and sustainability model. Dr. Andrew Sorenson and his brother, Robert Sorenson, MD, go to Guatemala about three times a year, and nearly all the Sorensons have been there at some point. In addition to the efforts from the Sorenson practice, Dr. Sorenson said other outreach groups make trips to this particular location, and they now have a structure set up there among the locals with resources for when other groups are not there.
As we leave the surgery center following the cataract surgeries, an unfortunate change in plans is necessitated by the recent Northern California high wind power outages that closed the University of California School of Optometry’s Refractive Surgery Center, which Dr. Sorenson has been directing since 2000. These LASIK and PRK cases will be rescheduled once the power is on.
Driving back to the practice, Dr. Sorenson explains that most of the East Bay area is comprised of small practices, similar to Sorenson & Sorenson, MDs, which sits next to the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. Recently remodeled, the practice features a comfortable waiting room, 10 exam rooms, rooms for imaging and minor procedures, and an optical shop.
Dr. Andrew Sorenson works with his brother, Dr. Robert Sorenson, father Lionel Sorenson, MD, and niece Rebecca Sorenson Janik, MD. Dr. Robert Sorenson specializes in general ophthalmology and cataracts and began practicing in 1984, joining the practice with his father and his father’s previous partner. He initially kept an open mind in medical school but kept coming back to ophthalmology. Dr. Janik joined the practice more recently after completing a general ophthalmology residency. She explored other options in medical school but also kept coming back to ophthalmology, with the unique influence of growing up seeing her grandfather, father, and uncles practicing. “As a new ophthalmologist straight out of training, it’s invaluable to have the mentorship,” she said.
As we walk into the practice, we meet Dr. Lionel Sorenson, who founded the practice in 1952 and who, at the age of 92, sees established patients in the office three mornings a week. Dr. Lionel Sorenson’s last three patients of the morning have diabetes, glaucoma, and cataracts. Dr. Lionel Sorenson said that although he stopped doing cataract surgery about 20 years ago, he will still do some laser procedures in the office for glaucoma.
Having practiced in the area for so long, Dr. Lionel Sorenson has seen his share of changes and new technologies and implanted one of the first intraocular lenses in the region in 1975 and was one of the first to use an Argon laser for diabetes.
The Sorenson practice does around 2,500 surgeries a year between the three operating ophthalmologists, including cataracts, corneal surgeries, refractive surgery, and office laser treatments.
Today is a unique day for the practice because John Sorenson, MD, Andrew and Robert’s older brother who is a practicing retina specialist in New York, is visiting while in town. Amid their busy practice schedule and upcoming meetings, the family is also planning a fundraising dinner for the Hospital de la Familia Eye Center. Following his morning in the OR and the office, Dr. Andrew Sorenson heads into San Francisco to coordinate with the venue for the event that will take place several days later and hopes to find time for a run.


Andrew Sorenson:

A day in the life of Andrew Sorenson, MD, and the Sorenson family A day in the life of Andrew Sorenson, MD, and the Sorenson family
Ophthalmology News - EyeWorld Magazine
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