GARDEN CITY—A few uneasy moments darkened the hours leading up to Luther Fry’s first cataract surgery, but it wasn’t because his firstborn son, Eric Fry, was holding the knife.

This time, Luther was the patient, after performing nearly 50,000 such surgeries in his illustrious 46-year career.

"I wasn’t worried about (Eric) doing the surgery. I’ve watched videos of his surgeries fairly often. I don’t think anybody in the country is better at it, and most of them don’t do as well," the elder ophthalmologist said.

After all, Luther had a hand in his son’s training, conducting, "Cataract Boot Camp" on weekends while Eric was in ophthalmology residency at the University of Kansas Medical School.

Luther and his wife, Ardis Fry, started a medical practice together in 1974, one that made them both revered around the nation and world, then came full circle when son, Eric took the reins.

Like his patients, Luther’s sight had waned a bit over the years.

"I just gradually, over a period of years, started having problems; glare at night with car lights," he said. "That was the thing that pushed me into it."

Eric had checked his eyes annually for several years.

"About six months ago, it had gotten worse and Eric said, ‘That’s it,’ " Luther said.

Cataracts in both eyes had to be removed.

As a sort of covert test during weeks leading up to his surgery, Luther was scheduled as a "secret patient," at the clinic, just west of the Fry Eye Associates surgery center in Garden City. Eric, 45, who joined the practice in April 2008, prepared to operate on Dad, who happens to be the eyesight aficionado of southwest Kansas and beyond.

The surgery went like clockwork and both the experience and the results were spectacular to the 78-year-old Fry.

"It was a piece of cake," Luther said. "My vision is great. Both eyes are good, but it’s hard to get used to not wearing glasses. I’ve worn them since the third grade (in Montezuma, southwest of Dodge City)."