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If heaven made him, earth can find some use for him

Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center, Nashville, Tennessee

"If heaven made him, earth can find some use for him." --Chinese Proverb 

Like many a musician, Ming Wang’s life journey brought him to Music City. Amid the deprivation of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in communist China, he learned to play music to survive and avoid deportation to a life of poverty. His undying persistence guided his dream to find his place on earth. His God given brilliance along with sheer perseverance helped him find his purpose.  

Dr Ming Wang, Nashville, TN, Lasik surgeon
Ming Wang, MD, PhD

When you hear him play the er-hu, you feel the emotion, empathy, understanding, respect and love he holds for life and for other human beings. But it’s not only his performances on the Chinese violin that garners him respect in Nashville; rather it’s Dr. Wang’s reputation as a world renowned ophthalmologist and philanthropist for which he is most admired. From the Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center overlooking Music Row, he now devotes half his time to the Wang Foundation that has become his most passionate pursuit. 

Ensuring that patients are given the chance to see again regardless their station in life led to the establishment of the Wang Foundation in 2003. Replacing darkness and pain with precious sight gives Dr. Wang great joy. The latest ocular technologies for sight restoration are options for the insured and the wealthy, but providing those same opportunities for those least able to afford it brings Dr. Wang even greater joy. He has vehemently bridged the gap, assisting patients from 40 states and 55 foreign countries through his Foundation. 

Imagine a child whose step mother poured acid into her eyes, then abandoned the blind orphan. Or a blue collar worker who was blinded when molten aluminum splashed into his eyes and he was never able to see his bride. Or a child with a rare genetic disorder that threatened to leave her blind for life and who became the world’s first patient for a new laser procedure. These among the many whose last hope was with this musician turned physician who doesn’t know how to give up. These are the people who Dr. Wang and the team of 22 physicians and support staff have helped. These are patients not case numbers, many who had been told that they were beyond help, but thanks to the Wang Foundation and many prayers, they have lived to see again. Their sight was restored by Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D. 

You’ve heard, “There but for the grace of God, go I.” Life would have been different for this physician’s son had he not avoided a harsh banishment by dropping out of school and practicing the violin at least 15 hours a day.  He had to pass the auditions for the government run music troops, to avoid the deportation that 20 million youth faced. He found the inspiration to study and better himself in the soulful music of a blind composer and through him saw a chance for a good life over which he would have control. 

Another twist of fate brought Ming to America in 1982 with only $50 in his pocket. An American professor was impressed with his persistence in spite of his inability to speak English and gave him his chance. As they say, the rest is history. He is living the American dream. Graduating magna cum laude from Harvard and MIT, he is one of the few LASIK surgeons in the world to have a doctorate in laser physics. An professor at the University of Tennessee and the holder of several patents for biotechnology, Dr. Ming Wang also commands respect when he steps from the operating room to the dance floor. It started as a way for a group of Harvard “book worms” to try something different, ballroom dancing. It became a life passion. 

The dancing affords him exercise and the opportunity to enjoy music. But less understood and of much greater impact are the human communication skills he has learned through dance.  It’s the ability to connect with his dance partner as they take the regimented steps and twirls around the room that have made him a champion.  

Sensitivity, timing, rhythm, compromise, respect for others and awareness are learned on the floor. If there is no communication, there is no movement. If there is no movement, there is no dance. If there is no communication with his patents, there is no chance he can help them. This world renowned ophthalmologist has taken the lessons he learned in the ballroom to the operating room, to the studio and along his life path.  

Dancing is one of the ways he raises money and public awareness for the Wang Foundation at an annual black tie fundraiser, the EyeBall. Over 800 guests from around the world convene in Nashville to support the efforts of these physicians and raise the funds needed to transport patients, pay for surgical suites, and provide accommodations for their families during the surgical stay. There is no charge for the surgeon’s fees and thanks to corporate support, many of the supplies and special equipment have been donated. The third component, the public support comes through annual events such as this. 

When Dr. Wang, clad in white tie and tails, steps into the spotlight at the EyeBall with his wife, J. J., you are drawn to their graceful rhythm in perfect sync – he’s in his element.     When he takes the floor at the fund-raising ball and guides a patient across the ballroom, make no mistake – he’s one happy man. According to him, he isn’t driven by material success. Remember he started out with only a dream, $50, and the drive to succeed in having control over his life. “The drive is to create a magic moment when someone sees again and that is the essence of human life. At the end of the day, that is what matters,” said Dr. Wang. 


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Drs. Wang and Frenkel, Eye Surgeon, provides laser vision correction, 3D LASIK, laser cataract and many advanced laser eye surgeries to patients in the Nashville, TN area
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