Meet The Visionaries – Dr Ben LaHood

Meet The Visionaries – Dr Ben LaHood

This week we are excited to introduce one of Eye Institutes newest doctors, Dr Ben LaHood.

Dr LaHood is one of our specialists in Laser Vision Correction,  Refractive Cataract & Lens Exchange.

Read on below to hear our interview.

Do you have a pre-surgery ritual?

I always wear colourful socks and my brightly patterned frog operating cap as they seem to make both my patients and me smile and relaxed!

Before every surgery or laser procedure, I like to also re-review my surgical plans and calculations in detail. It is very unlikely that I will make a change, but this ritual gives me confidence that everything is under control.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to travel, especially if that means being in warm weather! My girlfriend Eve and I love exploring new destinations around New Zealand and overseas. I’m very fortunate that my research has given me the opportunity to travel to overseas conferences and meet interesting people too as it’s allowed us to travel to cities we wouldn’t have otherwise visited.

 As boring as this may sound, I also really enjoy my clinical research in refractive surgery.

Believe it or not, I really enjoy analysing surgical results and testing a theory to improve future outcomes for patients. Seeing a project transform from an idea to being published in a medical journal is extremely satisfying for me!




Tell us something that most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I design and sew men’s neck ties. I have always enjoyed crafting things and fashion, so I taught myself to sew and made a range of ties in a variety of unusual fabrics. I still think one day I may sell them, but ophthalmology has taken up most of my entrepreneurial time, so instead I give them away as gifts.


What do you love the most about what you do?

One of the most amazing things for me is to see people the day after their cataract or laser surgery. The excited look on their faces when they can see clearly without glasses often for the first time in their lives is extremely rewarding, I get a real kick out of it! I honestly think Ophthalmology would have to be one of the most satisfying careers in the world.


What made you choose ophthalmology as a profession?

I have always had an affinity for fine, detailed tasks, like drawing. I also enjoyed learning about the sciences growing up, especially physics. So I think ophthalmology, with its combination of clinical observation and surgical aesthetics suits me perfectly. As a child, I would accompany my grandfather, who went blind from glaucoma, to see Professor Molteno in Dunedin hospital. I saw the amazing effort being made to save my grandfather’s vision and I later had the chance to work with this legendary ophthalmologist.