Jonnie R. Williams Sr., Angel Investor Who Helped Make Laser Surgery an Everyday Occurrence

Jonnie R. Williams Sr.

January 16, 2021

Jonnie R. Williams, Sr.

According to the Stanford Healthcare website, VISX technology is the latest technology in laser eye surgery:

  • VISX is equipped with variable spot beam technology. This technology allows the laser beam to change shape and size, so its energy is customized to the patient’s cornea.
  • VISX is targeted with 3D active tracking. The laser responds to tiny motions in the patient’s eyes automatically and instantly in three dimensions. Patients don’t have to hold their eyes still so they can relax during treatment.
  • VISX comes with VSS, variable spot scanning. This technology eliminates post-surgical glare and halo, Stanford University says, by increasing the blending zone of treating and non-treated tissue by 51%.
  • And VISX uses Iris Registration, an FDA-approved method of non-contact alignment of the treatment to the corneal site.


VISX technologies would not exist without the timely investments of Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in its earliest years.


Jonnie R. Williams flies in to make VISX laser technology possible

Jonnie R. Williams Sr. has a long history of making investments in disruptive technologies. The father of VISX technology, Charles Munnerlyn, described it as when VISX was starved for start-up capital Jonnie R. Williams swooped down from the heavens.


In 1989, when Munnerlyn was struggling to get his prototype into production, Jonnie R. Williams flew from his home in Virginia in his private jet to see Munnerlyn in California.


Munnerlyn needed funding to get VISX through the FDA approval process, which Williams provided. He even arranged more funding. Eventually, VISX got its approval, and the company sold in 2004 for more than $1.2 billion. “Jonnie R. Williams is a great guy just to be around,” Munnerlyn has been quoted as saying. 


Jonnie R. Williams has a 30-year track record of investment

The hallmark of Jonnie R. Williams Sr’s life story is to make large investments in medical technologies that can make big improvements in people’s daily lives. Mr. Williams’ contribution to the biotech field continues today Williams uses his sense of the possible to provide the cash and connections that medical innovations often need to survive and thrive.


Companies like VISX describe Jonnie R. Williams as an angel investor. There’s no doubt that for millions of Americans, the medical innovations he has nurtured seem to be heaven-sent, and he continues to look for breakthroughs that might change people’s lives in a big way.