Cancerous tumour forces Dr. Howard Gimbel to give up eye surgery

Innovative surgeon intends to remain active as an owner, operator, teacher, mentor and coach to patients

Mario Toneguzzi on Howard Gimbel healthDr. Howard Gimbel, one of the world’s leading ophthalmic surgeons, will soon transition away from surgical practice due to a cancerous tumour that can’t be treated with radiation or chemotherapy.

The Gimbel Eye Centre said in a news release on Thursday that treatment for the respected surgeon, eye specialist and business owner will include the removal of Dr. Gimbel’s left eye along with the tumour, which will make him physically unable to perform further surgeries.

“Dr. Gimbel will remain active at Gimbel Eye Centre – and the wider ophthalmic community – as an owner, operator, teacher, mentor and coach to patients,” said the Gimbel Eye Centre.

“After a 54-year surgical career, Dr. Gimbel is facing this recent and unexpected news with optimism, believing that good can come out of every situation. After the surgery, Dr. Gimbel will likely focus on his other passions: teaching and mentoring – including leading an expanding role for Gimbel Eye Centre in Calgary and beyond.”

“I’ve always looked at every challenge as an opportunity,” said Gimbel, in a statement. “And this time of transition is also a time of opportunity.

Howard Gimbel
Howard Gimbel

“Building on our existing staff and surgical team, we see an expanding life for the centre – which has so much to offer not only to patients but to other physicians, all of whom can continue to benefit from the specialized training and technology we’ve developed over decades.”

Since 1964, over 200,000 patients have come to Gimbel Eye Centre for surgery. Gimbel Eye Centre is home to the very first Canadian outpatient small incision cataract surgery, laser vision correction surgery, the first refractive lens exchange and the first implantable corrective lens procedures.

Earlier this year, Gimbel was named a member of the Order of Canada for his surgical innovations and pioneering work in cataract and refractive surgery.

“Over the last decade, he has become a YouTube sensation, attracting over one million views to the Gimbel Library, which features instructional videos that teach his innovative techniques to surgeons around the world – an economical and effective form of accessing continuing education. Dr. Gimbel will also be involved in patient education, helping to guide patients through the complex decisions around treatment options,” said the centre.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

GimbelThe views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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