Dr. John Berdahl, MD Receives Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research

Dr. John Berdahl, MD is a board certified, world-class ophthalmologist at Vance Thompson Vision - Sioux Falls. He is regarded as a leader in LASIK, cataract, cornea and glaucoma surgery, and he’s the recipient of the 2024 Chester B. McVay Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research.

He was chosen for his outstanding commitment to teaching medical students at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. He also teaches for the Vance Thompson Vision fellowship, which gives ophthalmologists hands-on medical and surgical experience along with the knowledge of what it takes to build a great practice. He has taught 10 fellows, including most recent fellow Dr. Katherine Peters, MD.

The award was established in 1987 in honor of Dr. Chester B. McAvay, who served as a professor and former chairman in the Department of Surgery of the Sanford School of Medicine.

Dr. Berdahl is known for his passion and dedication to helping patients through research and innovative technology, such as his Ocular Pressure Adjusting Pump (OPAP) system. The OPAP eases pressure accumulation in the eyes caused by glaucoma and reduces the risk of optic nerve damage. He co-invented MKO melt, which provides sedation during cataract surgery without the use of an IV or opioids. The sedative is used in our Sioux Falls Ambulatory Surgery Center as well as many of our other surgical centers across the region.

He also participates in nonprofit work. He dedicates time to underserved patients through EyeCare America, mission trips, and the Vance Thompson Vision Mission Vision program, where he performs dozens of surgeries a year.

When he isn’t studying, teaching or volunteering, John is a devoted husband to his wife Tamme and father to their two children. He participates in numerous activities, from hunting, scuba diving and athletics to playing guitar and cooking. He is also an avid reader, and you don’t have to read between the lines to see how much he cares about his patients and his students.