Woolfson Eye Institute: Our Story

After emigrating from South Africa at 17 years old, Jonathan Woolfson worked his way through the University of the South, Vanderbilt Medical School, and a residency in ophthalmology and Emory. He then returned to South Africa to learn all he could from cornea surgery pioneer, Michael Kritzinger, MD, about a new eye procedure called LASIK.

Woolfson returned to the Southeast US, and recognized that a successful practice based on a refractive procedure like LASIK needed to have an infrastructure that could deliver that service to the patients of the many optometrists and ophthalmologists in the region. In the mid-1990s, he plugged himself in to a large North American company that had a similar idea. In 2002, he and Tom Spetalnick, OD, an optometrist who’d worked with him at the previous practice, established Custom Laser Eye, and began hiring all of the right people. They made themselves accessible to patients and referring doctors alike, and ultimately formed what is now Woolfson Eye Institute, now in its 23rd year.

Over the years, Jonathan Woolfson, MD, saw that his practice could provide eye care services, mostly surgical, but also advanced medical treatment of such things as glaucoma, retinal pathology, cataracts, corneal disease, and even cosmetic treatments. He brought in the best and the brightest, so that in 2020, virtually any eye problem that could be diagnosed could also be treated by one or more of the optometrists, ophthalmologists, and eye surgeons at Woolfson Eye Institute.

Woolfson Eye Institute Story


Jonathan Woolfson is our busiest LASIK surgeon, and optometrist Tom Spetalnick, OD and Lauren Dyak, OD work very closely with him. James Hays, MD was one of the first providers of LASIK in the Southeast. Doyle Stulting, MD participated in the earliest clinical trials on LASIK, and is an editor and author of many studies and articles on the topic.

Byron “Trip” Cook, MD, Eric Jennings, MD and Leo Zlotcavitch, MD are fellowship trained in LASIK and other procedures. Drs. Gutierrez, Nguyen and Zaver offer LASIK consultations at several of our office locations.

Visit Our LASIK Resource Center


Drs. Hays, Jennings, Cook, Weiner and Zlotcavitch all received fellowship training in corneal disease following their ophthalmology residencies.

Corneal Crosslinking

Dr. Stulting trained many corneal specialists during his 30 years at Emory Medical School, and is an important figure internationally in establishing cornea crosslinking as a treatment for keratoconus. The practice was a primary center for a clinical trial on crosslinking, which culminated in Drs. Stulting and Woolfson recently publishing a landmark paper on the topic.


Best Cataract Surgeons in America logo for Woolfson Eye Institute in AtlantaDrs. Hays, Jennings, Zlotcavitch, Cook, Salmenson, Weiner, Brody, Prenshaw and Jackson all offer cataract surgery at Woolfson Eye’s state-of-the-art and award-winning Ambulatory Surgery Center in Sandy Springs. Dr. Benjamin Wilson is a referral ophthalmologist who will concentrate on cataract surgery, as well as other eye problems referred into the Asheville, North Carolina office.

All of the Woolfson Eye cataract surgeons are experienced with advanced lens options, including multifocal and astigmatism correcting lenses.


Douglas Day, MD has worked closely with most of the eye care providers in the Atlanta metro area, taking care of their patients with glaucoma. He’s also participated in many of the clinical trials for medications and surgical treatment of glaucoma. Dr. Jenna Yoder, DO practices at our Atlanta, GA office specializing in medical and surgical management of glaucoma.


Steven Leff, MD, for the last 40 years, has served as a retinal specialist in metro Atlanta, providing advanced treatment options for patients with a variety of eye health problems, including retinal detachments and macular degeneration.

Kareem Sioufi, MD is a fellowship-trained medical Retina Specialist who provides treatment for diseases of the retina including, retinal tears, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and more.


Joe Walrath, MD and Gabe Scott, MD provide oculoplastics services at Woolfson Eye involving enhancing the appearance as well as the function of the eyelids. Dr. Walrath has trained other surgeons on various cosmetic and functional procedures.

Dry Eye

Lauren Dyak, OD, a talented optometrist who received much of her training within the practice, now serves as the Director of Woolfson’s Dry Eye Clinic. Working along with her is another optometrist, Paven Korotana, OD who also received her residency training at Woolfson Eye.

Optometric Education:

Tom Spetalnick, OD and Lauren Dyak, OD serve as preceptors for the education of optometric student externs sent by optometry schools all over the US to Woolfson Eye Institute for training. Drs. Spetalnick and Dyak also serve as supervisors for the Woolfson Optometric Residency Program, in which optometry school graduates can obtain an extra year of advanced training in eye disease and ocular surgery.

This website provides general information & a list of our services. The information on this website is solely meant to assist you in your search for an eye specialist. You are urged to seek the advice of an eye specialist before undergoing any eye procedure. This site is intended for use only by healthy adult individuals. Any information on this website is not to be used as a substitute to seeking medical advice.