Dr. Avi Wallerstein is a board certified Canadian ophthalmologist and laser eye surgeon who specializes in surgical vision correction, also termed refractive eye surgery. He practises in Montreal and Toronto. In 2001, he co-founded LASIK MD with Dr. Mark Cohen. LASIK MD is Canada’s largest provider of laser refractive surgery, performing over 60,000 procedures a year.
Dr. Wallerstein studied physiology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and completed his Doctor of Medicine degree (MD) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He then specialized in ophthalmology (FCRSC) at McGill University in Montreal where he received his Royal College of Canada certification. He went on to complete his post-doctoral fellowship training in corneal transplantation, cataract surgery and laser refractive surgery from Cornell, North Shore University Hospital and New York University, in New York City, USA. Dr. Wallerstein is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC) and is a member of the American, European and International Societies of Refractive Surgery as well as the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Wallerstein is considered a world expert clinician in refractive surgery. He has extensive clinical experience and has conducted over 60,000 laser ocular surgery procedures. He has devoted the last eighteen years of his career to laser refractive care, focusing his medical practice exclusively on laser vision correction. He performs complex corneal collagen and cross-linking (CXL) procedures for keratoconus patients, combined with excimer laser and topography-guided treatments for challenging corneas.
Dr. Wallerstein’s early career saw him work in various clinics. He was the LASIK specialist at Focus Eye Centre in Ottawa and Montreal’s Ophthalmolaser Clinic. During this time, Dr. Wallerstein was the first Montreal surgeon to introduce the vertical flap technique with a scanning spot laser, a method that was ultimately adopted as the standard of care in laser refractive surgeries across North America. He later assumed the role of International Medical Director at LASIK Vision Corporation. There, he oversaw medical protocol in 28 clinics with 58 surgeons across North America, and became the co-chairman of their medical advisory committee and sat on the board of directors for LASIK Vision Corporation.
In 2001, Dr. Wallerstein went on to found LASIK MD with Dr. Mark Cohen. Today, Dr. Wallerstein sits as the company’s Executive Vice-President. He is one of two of LASIK MD’s National Medical Directors, a role that sees him responsible for implementing protocol, standardization and quality control in all clinics across the country, as well as overseeing the annual LASIK MD National Surgeon Conference on Advanced LASIK Techniques. He also supervises and teaches a team of over 50 laser eye surgeons practicing in the various clinics.
Dr. Wallerstein heads LASIK MD’s research & development department. He has developed and implemented the only commercial multi-clinic electronic medical records software solely specialized for laser vision correction. He has also worked as the principal investigator with pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers on multi-centre clinic trials in laser vision correction. He has more than 90 peer-reviewed, published and presented scientific abstracts to his credit. Dr. Wallerstein teaches residents and ophthalmologists-in-training in his role as Director of Optics and Refractive Surgery teaching at McGill University and is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Attending Staff at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Additionally, he has trained over 200 Canadian ophthalmologists in laser refractive surgery.
In 2015, Dr. Wallerstein and Dr. Cohen launched a new laser vision procedure called Laser PresbyVision™, a corneal-based treatment designed to correct blurred near vision and reduce patients’ need for reading glasses, a condition known as presbyopia.
Dr. Wallerstein was awarded the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Best Scientific Paper prize on numerous occasions. In 2006, he and Dr. Cohen both received the Howard Stotland Technology Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Wallerstein is a Quebec recipient of the Ernst and Young 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Professional/Financial Services category and received a National Citation in honour of Service Excellence. Dr. Wallerstein is an accomplished speaker and is often asked to deliver talks and presentations to the medical community. He has also spoken at schools and colleges, discussing his professional and educational experiences.
In 2014, under Dr. Wallerstein’s and Dr. Cohen’s direction, LASIK MD earned Platinum Club status in the Canada’s Best Managed Companies program, sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, the National Post and the Stephen J. R Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Platinum Club status is awarded to organizations who have been Best Managed Companies for seven consecutive years or more.
Dr. Wallerstein has been interviewed by several major media outlets and has been featured on Discovery Health Channel’s Medical Hotseat. CTV News Canada AM, the Business News Network, and EyeWorld Video reporter. Furthermore, LASIK MD has been featured in a number of publications, including the Montreal Gazette, the Globe & Mail, the National Post and more.
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