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Michael Lawless

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Clinical Associate Professor Michael Lawless is an Australian ophthalmologist recognised worldwide as an authority in eye surgery. His specialty is laser vision correction, cataract and lens surgery, and corneal transplantation. He was one of the first ophthalmic surgeons in the world and the first surgeon in the Southern Hemisphere to perform femtosecond laser for cataract surgery.


In November 2012, Dr Michael Lawless received a Senior Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), which is presented to individuals who have made significant ongoing contributions to the Academy, its scientific and educational programs and the field of ophthalmology.

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Career and research

Lawless has performed over 25,000 surgical procedures throughout his career including a number of firsts including; the first surgeon to perform LASIK in Sydney in 2005 and the first Australian to perform laser cataract surgery with the femtosecond laser in February 2011.

Lawless has been an accomplished educator and has lectured continually on a wide variety of topics within ophthalmology. These include a number of invited lectures, the most recent being at the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago November 2012 on the future of laser cataract surgery. Currently he is the convenor of the cataract program for the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology and director of the intraocular surgery section for the refractive surgery degree at the Sydney University Medical School. In late 2013 Michael Lawless co-authored a book, “The Naked Eye”, with Gerard Sutton. The book provides an overview of laser refractive and lens surgery options for prospective patients and health practitioners in optometry and ophthalmology. In 2014, "The Naked Eye" won a silver medal in the Independent Book Publishers Awards (Science Section.

Throughout his career, Lawless has made important contributions to the development of national and international ophthalmology interests. As President of the International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS) in 2001, he was aware that refractive surgery was moving from a fringe sub-specialty to securing a place in mainstream ophthalmology. Realising that the educational activities of the ISRS would have a natural fit with the American Academy of Ophthalmology AAO, he encouraged an alliance between the two organisations succeeding within twelve months in bringing a successful integration.

In 2008, Lawless was awarded one of the largest defamation payouts in Australian history following a television story by a leading local television network. The network's regular current affairs program incorrectly implied that Lawless and his associates did not adequately warn patients of the risks of laser eye surgery. The payout, awarded in the Supreme Court, was entirely in favour of Lawless and his co-surgeons.

Michael Lawless was medical director of Vision Eye Institute, an Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed health care company, from November 2006 to 2015 and served on the board of the company through this time. In 2016, Vision Eye Institute was taken over by Jangho corporation from China in an all-cash bid. Lawless continued in both roles until the delisting by Jangho, which followed the takeover, was complete. Lawless continues to advise Jangho corporation on its China health care strategy which involves the development and implementation of an ophthalmic skills-share program for local Chinese ophthalmologists.

Lawless has had a lifelong commitment to martial arts particularly, Karate and Aikido. Subsequently he has used this experience to lecture to professional audiences on overcoming fear and using fear to perform better in surgery.

Professional membership

In 1999, Michael Lawless was invited by the executive council to join the The International Intra-Ocular Implant Club (IIIC). This society was formed in 1966 by the great English eye surgeon, Sir Harold Ridley to promote research in the field of intraocular lens implantation and allow for the free and unhindered exchange of ideas concerning anterior segment intraocular implantation.


Michael Lawless Wikipedia

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