Svyatoslav Fyodorov. In memoriam

Svyatoslav Fyodorov was born on 8 August 1927 in Proskurov (after 1954, Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine). His father was arrested by Joseph Stalin’s government during the repression of the 1930s and sentenced to a seventeen-year term in a labour camp. After finishing secondary school in 1943 Fyodorov entered the Yerevan Preparatory Artillery School and then was transferred to the 11 Preparatory School of Air Forces. As the result of an accident in 1945 he had lost one of his feet and wasn’t able to finish his studies.

Fyodorov still had a dream about flights, however he has opted for a medical career. In 1952 he graduated from Rostov-on-Don Medical Institute. Since 1958 he headed the Clinical Department at Cheboksary branch of the State Helmholtz Ophthalmology Research Institute. In 1960 he created a new artificial lens and performed its implantation for the first time in USSR. There was a conflict with Director of the Affiliate, after which Fyodorov was discharged, and his research was announced unscientific. He rehabilitated at his work when the results of the artificial lens implantation were published in the State newspaper “Izvestia”. That publication helped to create a Lens Implantation Laboratory.

1961–1967 Fyodorov headed Ophthalmology Department in Arkhangelsky Medical Institute. In 1967 he was transferred to Moscow and headed Ophthalmology Department and Lens Implantation Laboratory of the Third Moscow Medical Institute. In 1967 he took up artificial cornea implantation. In 1973 he developed and performed early glaucoma treatment operation for the first time in the world. Fyodorov’s method of a deep sclerectomy was internationally accepted and became customary glaucoma treatment all over the world.

In 1974 Fyodorov’s Laboratory withdrawn from the Institute. The same year Fyodorov performed first operations according to developed method of myopia correction by making front measured incisions on cornea. This revolutionary method was widely used later in Fyodorov’s Clinic and abroad. Altogether this method helped more than 3 billion people to improve their vision.

In 1979 Eye Microsurgery Institution headed by Fyodorov was created on the basis of Laboratory. It continued its development process during the 1980s. Fyodorov was so significant scientist and his authority was so unquestioned, that the Institution’s rights were outstanding for that time. It had its own currency account, it received foreign patients, it was allowed to determine the number of employees and the amount of their salary. Fyodorov was actively building up new Branches along the country and abroad (Italy, Poland, Germany, Spain, Yemen, UAE).

The unique technologies developed by Svyatoslav Fyodorov attracted patients from all over the world. Free management allowed to supply the Institution with most perfect equipment. Thanks to the efforts of Fyodorov the Institution has formed a great team of world-class experts which has made high quality medical care available for millions of people.

Fyodorov proved that providing high-quality medical care might be profitable. He also showed, that it is possible to conduct scientific research, be economically successful and earn money in an honest way “with your own brain” in USSR. In the 1980s the Eye Microsurgery Institution was buying new equipment, doing scientific work, and was increasing salary for its employees.

Svyatoslav Fyodorov was a talented businessman and outstanding administrator. He had a systematic approach in solving economic and political problems. He was a People’s Deputy of USSR and Russia, he participated in activities of political parties and was offered to become a prime-minister. Still history remembers him as a brilliant scientist, whose scientific discoveries helped millions of people to recover their vision.

In April 1995 Svyatoslav Fyodorov was chosen a full member of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour (the highest degree of distinction for exceptional achievements in national economy and culture), Lomonosov Gold Medal Laureate (Russian Academy of Sciences), Paleolog Prize and Oscar Laureate (USA).

2 June 2000 Svyatoslav Fyodorov returned by helicopter from Tambov, where addressed a conference. On approaching Moscow, the helicopter crashed because of engine malfunction. Fedorov and three more people on board died.