Professor Dan Reinstein
"Do work that you love"
Professor Dan Reinstein is a world-leading eye surgeon specialising in the field of laser technology, who has pioneered many of the modern laser eye surgery techniques used today.
Based at 138 Harley Street, London, he has an international client roster including A-list celebrities, sportsmen and world statesmen. Not only a pioneer in the medical world and laser designer for Carl Zeiss, this chameleon is also an immensely talented saxophonist who performs at top London jazz clubs. One suspects he might be able to walk on water as well. In a remarkable career, Reinstein has improved and inspired lives across the globe.
“The most important thing for me has been to leave no opportunity untested,” he says. “I set the challenges far higher than I can usually reach, way beyond what is expected. I try to be indefatigable – on a quest I won’t let go, I will not rest until the task is done. I’m beyond stubborn!”
With a career such as his, one wonders if that passion has been a constant feature of life. “Always,” he says unequivocally. “Both my wonderful parents were focused people, very hard working, workaholics to a fault. My father was a pharmaceutical researcher and my mother was in the theatre world. They had strong values and were passionate about their careers.” Despite one’s own personal ambition, it can be a very different thing when it comes to raising children of one’s own. “I tease them about going to medical school; I’d be secretly flattered if they did. The only thing I have completely tried to encourage is for them to find their own voice. If you do that then work becomes what you love doing. I always tell them that instead of loving your work, do work that you love. I think that is a key lesson.”
Patients come from across the planet to be treated at the prestigious London Vision Clinic. Professor Reinstein established the practice in 2001 with his business partner Craig Engelfried. The centre is regarded as one of the finest laser eye clinics in the world, with clients ranging from royalty to the political elite. After performing more than 25,000 procedures, does Professor Reinstein ever sit back and reminisce about how it all began? “I have a wonderful partner who helped kick things off, Craig, a dear friend from childhood. We had not been in regular contact but a close mutual friend of ours, who subsequently tragically died, brought us together. Craig was finishing a job in the UK for a foreign company. I’d just moved back to Europe from America, and Craig suggested I should start a clinic. I told him I didn’t know anything about business, but he said he could help me and get things set up. Our personalities fit perfectly together. He has almost the identical outlook to me in terms of how we do things – diligence, highest demands for customer care, ethical practice and best possible value for the patient. He focuses on fulfilling that from a business standpoint and I do it from a medical standpoint.”
You will not see it mentioned in the press, but away from the plush surrounds of Harley Street, Reinstein and Engelfried have combined their skills to remarkable effect in one of the most impoverished regions on earth. The London Vision Clinic Foundation charity has partnered with the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Nepal to build a remote clinic. As the photos testify, patients used to only the most rudimentary healthcare now have access to state-of-the-art eye care treatment.
“We cannot believe how lucky we are to have found a conduit for the work that we wanted to do,” he says. “We are affiliating with an organisation that is already doing great work but needs help. The more we do, the more they can do to help everyone else. I see them as one of the major contributors to the World Health Organisation’s 2020 initiative to eradicate preventable blindness.”
Reinstein’s other great passion is music. The Professor has been playing the saxophone for 25 years, including two years of study at the world famous Berklee College of Music. He’s played with a long list of the world’s greats, but in a remarkable twist, the laser wizard has also performed surgical procedures on the eyesight of many of the music legends he has performed alongside. The list of legends who have benefited is surreal, ranging from Béla Fleck to Morris Pleasure to Bonnie Tyler and Brian Bennett of The Shadows.
“I only ever wanted two things in life – to be a great musician and a great sight saver. I love music but it is hard work, a never-ending bottomless challenge. The knowledge base for jazz is always half full. Using my instrument on stage to communicate with other musicians is amazing. Jazz is mathematical – improvised music is a complicated interplay between theoretical and artistic sides, the right brain and left brain totally working in harmony”.
The London Vision Clinic specialises in treatment for patients over 50 years of age. “Laser blended vision is a treatment that was actually pioneered in our clinic, in conjunction with Carl Zeiss Meditec. It can potentially eliminate the need for reading glasses, bifocals, or varifocals for many years. A common myth is that presbyopia [long-sightedness] is only correctable by surgically implanting a lens inside the eye. Laser Blended Vision has major advantages over intraocular lens implants. It is much less invasive, safer, more accurate, and it doesn’t require the same potential sight compromises as implants. Of course, it’s suitable for around 97% of ageing eyes, while only around 60% of people can tolerate other options.”
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