About the Founder & President

A Comprehensive Approach

For many patients, Dr. Michael D. Bennett and the Retina Institute of Hawaii are their last chance for vision before blindness.

Dr. Bennett understands the physical and emotional impact of such a diagnosis and combines state-of-the-art technology with compassionate patient care. As a result, his patients who suffer from macular degeneration and diabetes can face the possibility of blindness and see their way through it: both figuratively and literally. He treats diseases of the vitreous, macula and retina including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal detachments.

He approaches retinal health in comprehensive way. Dr. Bennett educates patients on the systemic causes of blindness and counsels them and their families through the overwhelming possibility of sight loss. One-on-one, he helps patients grapple with their disease, discussing all potential options that may allow them to preserve vision.

Community Outreach

His educational approach branches into both the medical and general community in Hawaii. Because of his daily encounter with patients facing preventable blindness, Dr. Bennett created Project Vision; a non-profit mobile screening program that provides free retinal scans to underserved populations throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

He recognizes the need for eye specialists on the neighbor islands and sees patients in Kona, Hilo and Maui. Dr. Bennett also conducts telemedicine with the neighbor islands and places like Guam, Okinawa and Japan. For cases that require surgery, the patient is typically flown to Honolulu where Dr. Bennett operates.


Dr. Bennett is an associate professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. He trained at the premier Vitreoretinal Surgery division of Emory School of Medicine. He completed a two-year vitreoretinal surgical fellowship and was awarded a prestigious Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Fellowship. After graduating top of his class, Dr. Bennett was inducted into the National Medical Honor Society, Alpha Omega Alpha. A strong athlete, Dr. Bennett received his B.A. in chemistry from the University of Virginia while on a scholarship for swimming.

He twice qualified for the U.S. Olympic swim team trials, was world ranked in the 400 individual medley and subsequently competed as a professional tri-athlete. Although his medical work fills the time he once gave to competitive athletic training, he remains an active athlete. He has finished numerous Ironman races including the world championship in Kona, and has been awarded All-American tri-athlete honors. Dr. Bennett also competes in ultra Marathons and paddleboard races.