Jack Kanski (1939-2019)

Jack Kanski contributed enormously to the ocular care of children with idiopathic juvenile arthritis, writes Ken Nischal founding co-chair of WSPOS

Ken Nischal

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Jack Kanski, MD, MS, FRCS, FRCOphth

(August 5 1939 – January 5 2019)

Jack J. Kanski was born Jacek Jerzy Kanski on Aug. 5, 1939, in Warsaw, Poland. He was the son of Jerzy Jordan Kanski and Adela Jozefa (Wroblewska) Kanski.

His father was a senior member on the staff of Marshal Edward Migy-Rydz, the commander-in-chief of Polish forces at the start of World War II.

The family escaped from Poland in 1946 and settled in Great Britain. Jack qualified at The London Hospital Medical College in 1963, and after spending time at the London, the Western Ophthalmic and Westminster hospitals, he became a resident at Moorfields Eye Hospital, High Holborn. In 1973, he was appointed as consultant surgeon at the Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor.

As a resident, he had started to collect a series of interesting cases with clinical photos which were the inspiration for his books in fact, with help from his wife, Valerie, he created audio cassettes with slides, which became the basis for his first book, Clinical Ophthalmology, in 1984. This was followed over the next 25 years by more than 30 books covering all aspects of ophthalmology. During this period, Clinical Ophthalmology was being updated with new editions and became the bestselling ophthalmology textbook ever.

Jack Kanski gave the first ever Keynote Lecture at the World Congress of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (WCPOS) in Barcelona in 2009.

In 2013, WSPOS established the Kanski Medal, which is awarded at every WCPOS to an outstanding contributor to the care of children with ocular disease but who was not a paediatric ophthalmologist by training. This was based on the fact that Jack Kanski contributed enormously to the ocular care of children with idiopathic juvenile arthritis but was not a paediatric ophthalmologist by training.

Jack died on January 5, 2019, with his wife, Valerie, at his side. He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues. His dedication and work in teaching and training generations of ophthalmologists world-wide epitomises the essence of a true professor and will echo in eternity.