In 2014, Marianas Eye Institute welcomed board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Dennis Williams to Saipan, as its newest eye specialist.
Dr. Williams spent his career at one of the busiest cataract surgery centers in the United States, published articles that led to major advances in eye surgery, taught courses annually at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meetings, and has been recognized by his peers with his inclusion in “The Best Doctors in America.” In addition, Williams has been serving as assistant clinical professor of Ophthalmology at University of South Florida prior to coming to Saipan.
Williams joins Saipan optometrist, Dr. Mark Robertson, to provide eye care to the people of the CNMI.
“We’re thrilled to have a physician of Dr. Williams’ caliber joining our staff,” said Dr. David Khorram, co-founder of Marianas Eye Institute. “We have a tradition of excellence, and being able to bring in someone of Dr. Williams experience and stature is a real gain for the peoples of the CNMI.”
Khorram explained that they have been searching for an ophthalmologist to join Marianas Eye Institute for nearly a year. “I am fortunate to have been able to provide care to the people of the CNMI for the past 21 years,” said Khorram, “However, since I have not been living on Saipan full-time, I’ve wanted to bring in another ophthalmologist to live and serve on Saipan. We know that’s what’s best for the island.”
Khorram explained that the search process has been long. “We wanted to bring in the right person—someone who would combine the skills of an excellent surgeon and doctor, with personal qualities of warmth and humility—so it took time. We had quite a few qualified candidates to choose from,” said Khorram. “I’m very happy to be able to entrust the care of our patients to someone with Dr. Williams’ talent and reputation.”
Williams received a bachelor’s degree with honors from Central Michigan University, majoring in chemistry. He worked on a graduate degree in exercise physiology at Michigan State University, during which time he was a graduate assistant to the university swim team. He graduated from Wayne State University Medical School with highest honors, and like Khorram, was one of a select few elected to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. Williams completed his medical education at Kresge Eye Institute, in Michigan, and was selected to serve as Chief Resident in the Department of Ophthalmology.
Shortly after completing his training in ophthalmology, Williams joined the world-famous St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute in Florida. While there, he was the Director of Corneal Transplant and Refractive Surgery, and taught multiple instructional courses at the meetings of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, helping train other experienced doctors in the newest techniques being developed by Williams and his colleagues. During this time, Williams conducted clinical research comparing two different types of lens implant techniques used during complicated cataract surgery. The publication of Williams’ research led to a major shift around the world in use of artificial lenses in complicated surgery. Williams has implanted more secondary lenses than any other eye surgeon in the United States.
“One of the reasons I joined the St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute was because of their work overseas,” explained Williams. “During my 19 years there, I was fortunate to serve as president of the Cataract Teaching Foundation, which supported the training of doctors, and donation of eye equipment in the developing world.”
During this time, Williams participated in over 70 surgical missions, and served as medical director of over 30 of them to Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean and the former Soviet Union.
Williams was appointed to the faculty of University of South Florida, where he continues to help train ophthalmologists in the residency-training program.
Khorram explained that during the search process, one of their highest priorities was to leave the peoples of the CNMI in the hands of a great eye surgeon.
“One of Dr. William’s honors was his appointment to the American Board of Eye Surgery, an exclusive group of surgeons who seek to promote the highest possible quality of ophthalmic surgical care. This, along with having been selected by his peers for inclusion in ‘The Best Doctors in America’ attests to the skills he brings to Marianas Eye Institute,” said Khorram.
In addition to Williams expertise in cataract surgery and corneal transplants, he spent a portion of his career with the Laser Vision Institute, where he performed 700-800 LASIK procedures per month. He also brings with him considerable experience in treatment of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, currently performing 60-70 Avastin injections per month.
“Despite his many accomplishments, his high level of skill, and his excellence as a surgeon, we were struck during the interview process by his humility and his kindness,” explained Khorram. “Dennis is kind, cheerful, and down-to-earth—perfect qualities for the diverse populations we serve at Marianas Eye Institute.”
Williams is joined by his wife, Dianna. They have three grown sons, and six grandchildren, all who look forward to visiting them on Saipan.