F&M Stories

'A Perfect Match': Alumni Eye Surgeon on Returning to Lancaster

After graduating from Franklin & Marshall, Wenxin Wei ‘02 found himself on the other side of the country, studying a new form of eye surgery in California. Now, he’s back in Lancaster, helping legally blind patients see again. 

Wei, who studied biology at F&M, attended medical school at Pennsylvania State University and completed his ophthalmology training in Hershey, Pa. He went on to a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery at the University of California, Irvine.

During his fellowship, Wei studied a newly developed method of cornea transplant with a quicker recovery time—patients who received the newer procedure were able to see days or weeks after the surgery, rather than six to 12 months, which was previously the norm.

When he received a job offer from Eye Associates of Lancaster after completing his fellowship, Wei was able to bring this new procedure to the area. “At that time, none of the practices in Lancaster offered this procedure,” Wei said. “Patients were being sent to Hershey, Philadelphia, or Baltimore.”

Traveling for the surgery and numerous follow-up appointments could be difficult, if not impossible, for patients. Returning to Lancaster allowed him to make this procedure more accessible for those who needed it.

"We recently hired two new cornea specialists and are now helping hundreds of legally blind patients see again every year."

-Wenxin Wei '02

“When I got an offer to come back from California—where cornea specialists were plentiful and competing with each other for patients–and provide a service that was needed to the residents of Lancaster, it was the perfect match,” Wei said.

He became a partner at Eye Associates of Lancaster and continues to help the practice grow. “We recently hired two new cornea specialists and are now helping hundreds of legally blind patients see again every year.”

Wei has also helped pre-med students at Franklin & Marshall get a clearer view of what their future might hold. Over the years, students have shadowed him at his office and surgery center, where they have been able to watch examinations and surgeries.

Wei emphasized the importance of seeing firsthand what a career in medicine involves. “I think when you’re in college, being a physician or surgeon seems more like a distant concept than a reality. But time flies and I think it’s important for them to get a glimpse of what they’re working toward,” he said.

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