Wolfgang Haigis PhD – An Appreciation

Oliver Findl MD, Secretary of the ESCRS, pays tribute to Wolfgang Haigis

Oliver Findl

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019

Wolfgang Haigis MD

As a physicist working at the University of Wurzburg, Germany, Wolfgang Haigis always tried to bring the mathematics of power calculation closer to 
medical doctors.
He will primarily be remembered as the developer of the Haigis Formula, which was conceived after years of research and mathematical deliberations and which has been used by eye surgeons all over the world for the benefit of their patients.
Also, the Haigis-L formula was used for calculating appropriate IOL power in patients who have previously undergone refractive laser surgery for myopia.
I remember him being a very good teacher with the gift of being able to explain complex ideas in a manner that was easy to absorb for his students and followers. He would put up slides with a lot of formulae and then try to make us understand what they were about.
He taught at many courses over the years at ESCRS and elsewhere and was a renowned expert in ultrasound biometry. Later, when optical biometry came to the market, he was instrumental in optimising the IOL constants, using the User Group for Laser Interference Biometry website, which allowed us to use that data to get good results.
I would meet him on a regular basis after we developed optical biometry in Vienna. We met at a lot of meetings and at the IOL Power Club of which he was a founding member.
We used to have long discussions about all kinds of issues and I knew him as somebody who had strong opinions but was always open to new ideas.
I can remember there was one instance many years ago when I was a second-year resident and I produced the first paper on optical biometry. He was chairing the session and was very critical at the time. I was very young and he was a very experienced biometrist, but he was still welcoming and open.
We are going to miss him and on behalf of everybody in the ESCRS I would like to pass on my sincere sympathies and condolences to his wife Katharina and his son Michael.