• Man travels from Abu Dhabi to Jacksonville for eye procedure

    By: Christy Turner , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some of the most cutting-edge medical procedures and technologies are in our own backyard.

    It attracts people to Jacksonville like Jack Stewart, who traveled all the way from Abu Dhabi for an eye operation.

    He had severe astigmatism and keratoconus, a progressive eye disease that occurs when the cornea curves improperly.

    To top it off, he said he recently developed cataracts. 

    Stewart said doctor after doctor turned him away. 

    “I was pinned into a corner by doctors telling me that, ‘We can’t do anything for you,’ or ‘I won’t risk doing anything for you because the liability is too high,’” Stewart said. 

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    Until he found Dr. Arun Gulani at Gulani Vision Institute in Jacksonville.

    “The research kept pointing all the way back to Jacksonville, so here I am,” Stewart said. 

    This week, Stewart underwent a procedure to correct his eyesight. 

    Gulani said this week alone, he had patients from Ireland, Paris, Germany, Chicago and Texas. 

    “I think Jacksonville could be the future medical hub for the world,” Gulani said. 

    Medical tourism is a big money maker for the City of Jacksonville.

    Visit Jacksonville previously said that UF Health, Mayo Clinic, Baptist and other medical facilities in Jacksonville contribute at least $23 million in medical tourism to the local economy each year.

    In January, Action News Jax reported plans were moving forward with a new 155-room hotel near Mayo Clinic on San Pablo Rod. 

    The development means more and more people like Stewart could be coming to Jacksonville for medical procedures and treatment.

    A 2014 published report said medical tourism was a $6 billion industry in Florida. 

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