Bascom Palmer Eye Institute serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Institute, founded in 1962, was named for Dr. Bascom H. Palmer, who opened one of the first private ophthalmology practices in Miami and became the first surgeon in Florida to perform corneal transplantation. Over the subsequent five decades, the Institute has grown into one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report for the last nine years. The faculty of Bascom Palmer have cared for patients with complex eye diseases from around the world, have trained hundreds of leading eye surgeons and researchers, and have contributed many “firsts” in worldwide eye care, including the first vitrectomy surgery and the first use of Avastin to treat retinal diseases.
Today, Bascom Palmer provides more than 250,000 patient visits and 12,000 eye surgeries per year. Bascom Palmer’s flagship is located on the University of Miami Miller School medical campus, located near downtown Miami and houses six floors, inpatient beds, an ophthalmology-dedicated surgical suite, and a 24- hour emergency department that receives patients from around the state. In addition, Bascom Palmer now offers three eye care centers in Palm Beach Gardens, Plantation and Naples, that bring specialty care directly into these communities.
The Naples center, located within the NCH Medical Plaza in downtown Naples, opened in 2004.Today, there are three full-time physicians who live in Naples and maintain privileges at local hospitals: George F. Corrent, MD, PhD, a corneal specialist and cataract surgeon who previously served as Chief of Ophthalmology at Cleveland Clinic Florida; Jaclyn L. Kovach, MD, a medical retina specialist who has practiced with BPEI since 2007; and myself. Additionally, seven Bascom Palmer ophthalmologists travel to Naples on a regular basis to provide care for adults and children: Eduardo C. Alfonso, MD, a corneal specialist and Chairman of BPEI; Janet L. Davis, MD, a uveitis specialist; William E. Smiddy, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon;. David T. Tse, MD, an ophthalmic plastic surgeon; Craig A. McKeown, MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist; Chris R. Alabiad, MD, an ophthalmic plastic surgeon; and Peter Chang, MD, a glaucoma specialist.
In addition, Dr. Kovach and I participate in an ongoing research project to study genetic associations with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible visual loss among the elderly in the Western World. This project, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, is a collaboration with the University of Miami Hussman Institute for Human Genomics and Vanderbilt University. The combined Naples/Miami/Vanderbilt team is part of the larger AMD Gene Consortium, which includes 18 research teams in 14 nations, in an effort to better understand and treat this worldwide blinding disease.
Bascom Palmer is currently planning a major expansion at the corner of US-41 and Cypress Woods Drive, across from Park Shore Drive. The new facility, scheduled to open in January 2015, will include approximately 17,000 square feet, an ambulatory surgery center, and an optical shop. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is proud to be a part of the Naples community and looks forward to better serving our patients and our friends in Southwest Florida.