Vol. 17, No. 3
The Institute for Neurosciences: At the Vanguard of Specialized Care
Nine Winthrop Specialists Named to New York Magazine's �Best Doctors List
Good Health - It's in Our Hands
Tuskegee Airman Regains the Gift of Sight
Stroke Care at Winthrop
Under the Big Top
Golfing for the Kids
Pat Lyons Foundation Shows Unwavering Support for Generation of Survivors Program
Winthrop Opens LI's Only Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center
Migliozzi Family Donates Rocking Chair to NICU
Jay's World Foundation Shows Ongoing Support
Winthrop's Home Health Agency Tops National List Again
Clinical Trials: Bringing the Future of Medicine to Long Island
2007 MineolaStreet Fair
Back to Publications
Spann Watson vividly recalls his first
memory as a child. Looking out the front
door of his home in South Carolina in
December 1918, he saw the front yard
covered with snow, and ice all along the
roof of his father's blacksmith shop.
Retired Lt. Col. Spann Watson (right) and
his wife Edna are grateful to Lawrence
Jindra, MD, for their newfound vision.
"I see and remember things that
others simply can not," said Mr. Watson
One of the original Tuskegee
Airmen, Mr. Watson was one of the
first cadets to train with the all-black
Army Air Corps flying squadron in
Tuskegee, Alabama. A man known in
history books for his true heroism, Mr.
Watson was instrumental in opening
the door for hundreds of other black
aviators in pursuit of their dreams.
Mr. Watson's vision was crucial to
his career as a P-40, P-47 and P-51
Mustang pilot. But naturally, as Mr.
Watson grew older, his vision slowly
began to deteriorate. Yet today, at the
age of 91, Spann Watson's eyesight is
better than ever following recent
cataract surgery performed by
Lawrence F. Jindra, MD, Acting Chief of
Winthrop's Division of Ophthalmology.
"Mr. Watson is seeing with 20/20
visual acuity at distance and near,"
said Dr. Jindra recently. "He doesn't
need glasses to read or drive."
Dr. Jindra, a former military officer
and pilot, has a passion for helping veterans.
For almost 15 years, Dr. Jindra
volunteered his services at the
Northport Veterans Affairs Medical
Center, where he was Assistant Chief
of Ophthalmology and Founder and
Director of the Glaucoma Consultation
Unit. "It's a pleasure to be able to volunteer
my time to help those who
served this country," said Dr. Jindra.
Dr. Jindra first met Mr. Watson
in the waiting room of his Floral Park
office. Mr. Watson had been accompanying
his wife Edna to her routine
check-ups following her cataract
surgery in 2003.
"I noticed that Mr. Watson was
wearing a military pin on his jacket.
We began to share stories about our
time in the military and our experiences
as pilots," said Dr. Jindra. "It
wasn't long before Mr. Watson was
asking, 'Can I be your patient too?'"
Dr. Jindra discovered that Mr.
Watson had cataracts - a condition
that gradually steals sight without
warning. To repair the condition,
Dr. Jindra performed monovision
cataract surgery on Mr. Watson.
The procedure involves
the implantation of an
lens (IOL) in one eye to provide near
vision, and an IOL in the other to
provide distance vision.
"I was rather impressed by the
doctor and his first-class operation,"
said Mr. Watson. "The surgery went
very well and the staff were outstanding.
They reaffirmed my already high
opinion of Winthrop."
"Understanding first-hand the visual
demands of a pilot, it was truly rewarding
for me to be able to restore eyesight
to a decorated veteran and a trailblazer
in the profession," said Dr. Jindra.
Today, Mr. Watson is enjoying his
newfound vision as he continues to
lecture and make guest appearances at
schools and community organizations
across the country.
What's more, Mr. Watson is one of
nearly 400 pilots to recently receive the
nation's highest civilian honor - the
Congressional Gold Medal. He has also
had the pleasure to look down at the
world from an airplane once again - this
time with his new and improved vision.
"There are many gracious people
across the country who extend invitations
to me to fly with them," said Mr.
Watson. "When I do get the opportunity,
I do my best to get a window seat - and
thanks to the surgery that Dr. Jindra
performed, I can now see that glorious
view from the sky once again!"
For more information about
Winthrop's Division of Ophthalmology,