Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Plans 2015 Opening in Naples

Bacom Palmer Officeby Stephen G. Schwartz, MD, MBA

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is the department of ophthalmology of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Founded in 1962, Bascom Palmer has grown to become one of the largest and most successful eye hospitals in the world, achieving the number one ranking among eye hospitals in U.S. News & World Report for the past 11 years. Bascom Palmer has three missions: clinical care, medical education, and research.

Bascom Site PlanCLINICAL CARE. Bascom Palmer’s four locations – in Miami, Palm Beach Gardens, Plantation, and Naples – collectively accounted for about 250,000 clinic visits and about 12,000 eye surgeries in the past year. Of these, about 13,000 clinic visits and about 700 eye surgeries were performed in Naples, which represents a 20 percent growth in the past two years.

MEDICAL EDUCATION. Bascom Palmer trains medical students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows and hosts visiting observers (usually practicing physicians) from all over the world. In addition, 33 graduates of Bascom Palmer’s training programs have become department chairs at medical schools and teaching hospitals in the US and abroad. Medical students from the University of Miami and from several other US medical schools sought training in the Naples office last year.

RESEARCH. Bascom Palmer received approximately $14 million for government-sponsored research last year. Bascom Palmer physicians have pioneered several important “firsts” in ophthalmology, including the first pars plana vitrectomy (a surgery used to treat many serious retinal diseases) and the first use of the medication Avastin in the eye. Since 2008, the Bascom Palmer Naples facility has participated in NIH-sponsored clinical research studying relationships between genetics and clinical outcomes in patients with age-related macular degeneration. This research has resulted in several important scientific publications that are increasing our understanding of this common and serious eye disease.

Bascom Palmer has maintained a satellite facility in Naples since 2004, but is currently completing a permanent home at the corner of US-41 and Cypress Woods Drive (across the street from Park Shore Drive) on a 1.5-acre lot. This new, state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to open June 1, 2015 and will encompass 20,000 square feet, including 22 examination rooms, two operating rooms, and an optical shop.

Bascom Palmer is planning to hire at least three new physicians and about 20 additional support staff, including nurses, ophthalmic technicians, and administrative personnel, all of whom will make their homes in Naples. The estimated economic impact of the completed facility is $20 million annually, but more importantly the beneficial impacts on improving vision and reducing blindness will be much greater.

For further information, please contact the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute development office at 305.326.6190.

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