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Surgeon Connects Faith, Science to Restore Eyesight

Nashville eye surgeon Dr. Ming Wang shared with students the importance of making connections between their faith and science and how he has used health care as a ministry during convocation Thursday in the Neely Dining Hall.

“We have to confront the controversies of faith and science. It is one of the most important questions in this age of society … so we can move forward in good conscience and with peace of mind when faced with issues society is trying to figure out the answers to,” Wang said.

He told the story of the successes of his amniotic membrane contact lens, for which he has two U.S. patents. Using tissue from fetuses to prevent scarring of the corneas, he has successfully restored eyesight to several people. The procedure is covered by Medicare and insurance companies and has been performed by more than 500 doctors in the United States, he said.

“No matter how difficult things are in our lives, God has a plan for us. He wants us to conduct research to advance medicine and improve the quality of human lives,” Wang said. “But he wants us to do it his way.”

Wang also told students how his adolescence was interrupted by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, during which time many middle and high school students were forced to leave because Chinese colleges closed. Fourteen-year-old Wang stayed in China, studied illegally at a medical school and unsuccessfully tried to make a living as a composer and musician. In 1982, he arrived in the United States with only $50 and a Chinese-American dictionary.  He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a doctorate in laser physics. Today, Wang is director of the Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center and has received international attention for his path-breaking eye surgeries. His nonprofit organization Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration has provided free surgeries for patients from 40 states and 55 countries, and he recently founded the Wang Foundation for Christian Outreach to China.

The School of Occupational Therapy and the Asian Studies Program co-sponsored the convocation lecture.