How to Choose An Eye Care Specialist
What to Consider
Your vision is priceless. When you need anything from a routine eye exam to a complicated eye surgery procedure, how do you decide whom to trust? First, educate yourself. Ask questions. We suggest the following:
How long has the doctor or clinic been in practice?
Look at the individual doctor's years of experience, when the entire practice was founded, and its size. For example, Eye Care Specialists was founded in 1985 by cataract surgery pioneers Drs. Norman Cohen and Robert Sucher. Since then, our medical team has grown to include Drs. Mark Freedman, Brett Rhode, Daniel Ferguson, Daniel Paskowitz, Michael Raciti and David Scheidt. Together, they provide care for nearly every eye condition to more than 185,000 people at three locations.
Does he/she practice alone or with a team?
Are they based in your community?
How long have they been in your area?
In our practice, we have five ophthalmologists and one medical optometrist who all work and live in the Milwaukee area. Because we are a team, our patients have the benefit of qualified, 24-hour back-up coverage, as well as the sharing of questions, techniques and ideas between doctors. And, because we are local residents, we have a special commitment and stake in the community—unlike outsiders who only come in to perform surgery and then head back home to another city or state. This dedication, backed by expertise, is one reason why we are one of the only medical practices to have their entire team voted by their healthcare peers as “Top Doctors” by Milwaukee Magazine.
Are their skills and services well-rounded?
When evaluating practices, try to look at patient volume, surgeon skill, and breadth of services. For example, Eye Care Specialists is regarded as one of the leading cataract surgery practices in Wisconsin in terms of both volume and exceptional skill. Our surgeons have performed tens of thousands of cataract procedures, and have been asked to turn the operating room into a teaching environment for fellow physicians as well as lens implant and equipment manufacturers. Our doctors have been state pioneers in new surgical techniques and devices, including phacoemulsification (ultrasonic) and topical anesthesia (eye drop) cataract removal, and were the first eye surgeons in Wisconsin to utilize foldable lens implants to correct vision. In addition to cataract operations, our surgeons have performed countless other procedures requiring equal or greater expertise, including eye muscle surgeries, corneal transplants, retinal repairs, ophthalmic plastic surgery, laser vision correction, and medication injection and laser therapy for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma. By being well-rounded in skills, our eye care specialists can help patients both now and when they develop other issues as they age.
Do they maintain certification?
Our physicians are diplomates of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. They were awarded certification from the American Board of Eye Surgery (ABES) for surgical skill in the field of cataract/implant surgery as part of a voluntary, peer-based examination, assessment and certification program for quality ophthalmic surgical care. And, our doctors have also served as Clinical Investigators in FDA studies on the safety and effectiveness of laser vision correction.
Where do they perform surgery and procedures?
Whenever medically appropriate and possible, our doctors perform diagnostic and treatment procedures in-office for patient convenience and cost-effectiveness. This includes corneal topography mapping to determine the best surgical technique and customized lens implant to utilize for cataract surgery, inner eye medication injections to preserve vision in diabetic and macular degeneration patients, and OCT laser scanning to detect, track and treat sight-threatening conditions, often before vision loss occurs. More complex procedures are conducted at the Eye Surgery & Laser Center of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee County Research Park near the Zoo. This 10,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center has some of the most advanced technology available in a comfortable environment with a handpicked team of nurses who specialize in eye surgery. And, for patients whose insurance or other needs require that they receive services elsewhere, our doctors also have surgical privileges at many of our area's finest hospitals and outpatient facilities.
What equipment do they use?
Our surgeons have tested nearly every type of equipment at local facilities and have selected exactly what works best for them. We utilize some of the finest machines available for performing cataract surgery, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy laser treatment, and other procedures. All of this enhances our ability to achieve excellent outcomes and satisfied patients.
Are they invested in educating patients & peers?
We believe that education is critical to protecting and preserving vision and that it is important to make patients informed partners in their care. Our practice is one of the only ophthalmology groups in the country to write and publish its own educational materials on cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes, macular degeneration, and countless other topics. In addition to our own patients, we have distributed more than one million booklets and handouts free-of-charge to senior centers, retirement communities, civic groups, health care professionals, and other individuals and organizations. Through education, we strive to encourage all Wisconsinites to seek and receive the best possible eye care.
Do they work with referring physicians and other health and senior care professionals?
For nearly 35 years, Eye Care Specialists has provided extensive continuing medical education training and materials for area health and senior care professionals. This initiative has included conducting semi-annual all-day conferences for 120+ optometrists from throughout southeastern Wisconsin. We regularly publish newsletters and updates for the medical community. And, we have had doctors-in-training visit our offices and operating rooms to learn from our staff. We are always available to answer referring physicians questions and routinely co-manage the care of medical and surgical patients.
What are their financial policies?
Eye Care Specialists’ surgeons believe that finances should not prevent someone from achieving and maintaining their best possible vision. As such, we accept Medicare and most major and state insurances. We are also participating providers in American Academy of Ophthalmology EyeCare programs and, when needed, help research financing and flex plan options. Our policy is to treat each patient as an individual—presenting treatment options that best fit their medical needs, lifestyle and budget. We do NOT believe in pushing or "upselling" patients to accept cataract lens implants or other devices or treatments that are beyond their needs or means.
When Was Your Last Eye Exam?
Remember, the best way to protect your vision is to schedule regular, thorough, dilated eye exams to check for hidden signs of sight-threatening conditions. Ask yourself and your family members—"When was your last eye exam?" If it was more than two years ago, it's time to pick up the phone.
For more information or a comprehensive examination . . .
Since 1985, Eye Care Specialists has provided comprehensive medical, surgical and laser care for virtually every eye condition to more than 185,000 people. If you would like one of our free educational booklets on any of the eye concerns reviewed on this website, please complete this form or call our Communications & Education Department at 414-321-7035. To schedule a comprehensive eye examination or a second opinion evaluation, call any of our three convenient Milwaukee-area locations directly.