by Zach Harmuth
Author and renowned LASIK surgeon Dr. Ming Wang hosted a launch of the latest edition of his autobiography, and, in a way, restored sight to some 15 members of the audience Thursday evening at Generations Church in downtown Franklin.
All those who attended were entered in a drawing for tens of thousands of dollars worth of free and discounted laser surgery: 10 winners got 25 percent off vouchers, four got 50 percent-off vouchers and one got a totally free surgery voucher.
After signing books, Dr. Wang spoke about his story told in his new book.
“From Darkness to Sight: a Journey from hardship to healing” documents Dr. Wang’s heart-wrenching story of surviving the Cultural Revolution in Communist China during his childhood. Along with personal accounts of his early hardships, Wang tells the story of his immigration to the United States and his journey helping patients restore their sight through ground-breaking procedures. The autobiography includes the emotional and inspirational stories of his patients and highlights their courage in the face of adversity.
Dr. Ming Wang also writes about earning his education and his journey with Christianity. Wang’s honest descriptions of his personal experiences shed light on the road that led to his life-changing research and inspirational career.
Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s in China, Wang fought to escape one of its darkest eras, the Mao-mandated Cultural Revolution, during which millions of innocent youth were deported to remote areas to face a life of poverty and hard labor. He could not go to high school until Mao died in 1976, and even then, he knew he had to go to America to get an secondary education. Through his own tenacity and his parents’ tireless efforts to provide a chance of freedom for their son, Ming eventually made his way, in 1982 with a one-way ticket, to America, where he landed in Washington D.C. with $50 in his pocket and an American dream in his heart where. There against all odds, he earned a PhD in laser physics and graduated magna cum laude with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT.
His journey paralleled a more spiritual one, as Wang embraced his Christian faith and devoted much of his thought to an old question: Are faith and science friends or foes? This inspired his invention of a breakthrough biotechnology which restores sight to the blind and near blind, as he explains in his book.
“Who appreciates sight the most?” he asked the crowd of more than 150 attendees. “Those who have never seen before. Who appreciates freedom the most? Those who have never before been free. The suffering of the Cultural Revolution in China made me appreciate the freedom of America.”
To date, Wang has performed more than 55,000 eye procedures and has treated patients from nearly every state in the US, and from more than 55 countries. Among those many patients are more than 4,000 doctors.
Wang’s accomplishments include: eight published textbooks, several US patents and performing the world’s first laser artificial cornea implantation. He established a non-profit foundation that provides sight restoration surgeries for indigent patients who otherwise would never have the opportunity to receive them free-of-charge.