Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo of Dello Russo Laser Vision: “It takes longer than you think to be a good doctor”

I wish someone would’ve told me that I’d need a master’s degree in business, public health, economics, social work, and psychology to fulfill my duties in my practice. As part of my series about healthcare leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo. Ophthalmologic Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo of Dello Russo […]

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I wish someone would’ve told me that I’d need a master’s degree in business, public health, economics, social work, and psychology to fulfill my duties in my practice.


As part of my series about healthcare leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo.

Ophthalmologic Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo of Dello Russo Laser Vision in greater New York City, has been active in both the creation and implementation of new LASIK surgical procedures, including bladeless laser surgery in 2002. He was also the very first LASIK eye surgeon to perform the operation in the wider New York region. Dr. Dello Russo graduated from Tufts University in 1992 and went on to receive his medical degree from the New York Medical College and his ophthalmology training from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?

My father, Dr. Joseph Dello Russo, is an ophthalmologist; therefore, I had a great background as to what it was to be an ophthalmologist. He is considered a pioneer in cataract surgery and LASIK, being one of ten FDA centers and the primary center in the greater metro New York City area, whose research led to the FDA approval for the LASIK procedure, and having the first out-patient ambulatory centers in the country. I have been exposed to seeing and hearing all about ophthalmology since early childhood.

Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

One of the most interesting stories of my career is performing LASIK on a young man afflicted with ALS. This patient could no longer wear contact lenses or glasses, and by having LASIK, we were able to restore his vision. Shortly after his LASIK procedure, due to the philanthropic efforts of his family, he became the center of the publicity for ALS with the “bucket challenge,” and he and his family raised awareness and massive amounts of money for ALS, a devastating illness often referred to as ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease.’

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One early, dark, morning when I was heading to the hospital, dressed in scrubs, someone tapped me on the shoulder and told me to look down. I had two different colored shoes on. One of my colleagues always chuckles when he sees me, recalling that embarrassing moment, as I am known to be a somewhat sharp dresser!

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

Over the past couple of years, I have been excited about projects which refine our approach to giving those over the age of forty a greater range of vision, using various, glass-free approaches, and to achieve bi-focal LASIK correction for both near and far vision.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It goes without saying that I owe a debt of gratitude to my father, a visionary and pioneer in cataract and LASIK surgery. He was one of the ten FDA centers whose research led to the FDA approval for LASIK, purchased the first commercial Laser in the world, and introduced out-patient cataract surgery to the Northeast, as well as many advancements to the procedure.

Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?

A Promised Land by Barack Obama has had a big impact on me. I found it to be both humbling and inspirational.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

About 15 years ago we provided a large group of New Jersey reserves who were about to be deployed for the Iraq War free LASIK. We performed over fifty free LASIK on sharpshooters and other soldiers being deployed. We only planned on performing the procedure on around ten to fifteen soldiers, however they kept on coming and we couldn’t say no. I will never forget all these uniformed soldiers, stepping out of their Humvees, and all with great humility and professionalism. As they stepped off the laser table, several stood there and saluted us as they walked out. That’s the most memorable day of my career.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story about how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“There are people in the world who think only about themselves. They don’t care what happens to other people so long as they get what they want. They put other people down to make themselves feel important. Then there are people who do the opposite, who are able to imagine how others must feel, and make sure that they don’t do things that hurt people. “So,” she said, looking me squarely in the eye. “Which kind of person do you want to be?”
Barack Obama, A Promised Land

My approach to patient care is to always be on the right side of your decision-making. I try very hard to render my care to be at least as good as I would want for my mother, father, brother and any family member. We are a family business, and we care for all our patients as if they are family.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?

  1. It takes longer than you think to be a good doctor.
  2. It is a lot harder than you thought to be a great doctor.
  3. In doing so, through all the effort, you will ultimately become much more grateful than you realized you’d ever be that you chose this profession, and in the end, it will be more worthwhile and fulfilling.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

I wish someone would’ve told me that I’d need a master’s degree in business, public health, economics, social work, and psychology to fulfill my duties in my practice.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would start a movement that would encourage parents to have children restrict the amount of time spent on digital devices to two hours a day, and instead substitute outdoor activities that involve looking at distances. Evidence suggests that the current amount of screen time is greatly accelerating the prevalence and degree of myopia in children, and adults are also at risk!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank. He does not rely on fluffy affirmation from others, speaks his truth, and knows how to scale a complex business.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dellorussolaservision

Twitter: @dellorussolaser

Instagram: @dellorussolaser

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dello-russo-laservision/

Website: https://www.dellorusso.com/

Thank you so much for these wonderful insights!

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