Gifted surgeon, innovator, teacher, humanitarian, and life changer. These are the words used to described Robert Sinskey, MD, by some of his closest ophthalmic colleagues.
Dr. Sinskey—an ophthalmic pioneer who played an important role in the development and acceptance of phacoemulsification—recently passed away. He served as president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) in 1999, was inducted into the ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame in 2005, and was an ASCRS Foundation board member since its inception in 2002.
As the news of Dr. Sinskey’s death spread among the ophthalmic community, many ophthalmologists close to him paid their respects.
“Bob Sinskey was an outstanding surgeon, innovator, teacher, and humanitarian,” said Stephen A. Obstbaum, MD, past president of ASCRS (1987-1989). “He was an early proponent and practitioner of phacoemulsification and taught the technique in courses throughout the world . . .
“The Sinskey hook—an instrument he devised—is probably the most widely used instrument in cataract/ implant surgery, and his IOL design was one of the most widely used lenses worldwide,” Dr. Obstbaum continued. “But the mark of this man was his giving nature and his willingness to share his knowledge with his colleagues. In the true spirit of giving, he and his wife, Loraine, generously supported the Sinskey Eye Institute in Ethiopia and have watched it grow from its modest beginnings to one that now cares for thousands of patients each year.
“Bob was a wonderful friend and possessed a great sense of humor, but he would also let you know when there was something on his mind by mumbling some pithy comment,” he added. “We will miss Bob, but he will be remembered by the contributions he made to our profession, the ophthalmologists and fellows he taught and the friends whose lives he enriched.”
Peter J. McDonnell, MD, director, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, said while he worked in Los Angeles as a full-time academician, he had the “pleasure” of getting to know Dr. Sinskey, as he was a leader in the private practice community.