Special Advertising Section | Business Profile: Cataract Consultants, Dr. Laura L. Harris, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Providing specialized surgical care for cataract patients in the Cape Fear area
Laura L. Harris, M.D., F.A.C.S., founded Cataract Consultants, PA, in 2008. She completed her residency and fellowship in cataract, corneal transplant, and refractive surgery at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and her internship in Internal Medicine at University Medical Center in Greenville, NC. Dr. Harris received her Doctorate of Medicine from East Carolina University School of Medicine. She was awarded the prestigious $50,000 Howard Hughes Research scholarship in research training at the National Institutes of Health.
Cataract Consultants is ahead of the curve in providing a caring environment that is best described as “elegant.” Dr. Harris notes that the trending topic in ophthalmology magazines is the concept of “boutique clinics,” exactly what she created two decades ago.
In Her Words
“I don’t talk about myself easily – and I was thinking, what would I really want to say, what would I want to spotlight about my practice? I think it’s wonderful that I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve created an arena that is the “art” part of medicine. I’ve gotten to the point where I put my craft and my own personal touch into what I have perfected technically, and I am creating an environment of streamlined, precision, very elegant care. I created the model myself because I wanted to have a narrow focus, with ample personalized time and consultation with patients, and amazingly accurate surgery. There are truly lots of good surgeons in this area – so for the patient who is looking for a particular experience while they are getting their eyes taken care of … I think I have something very special. I’ve created a niche for elegant care.”
The Rewards of Dedication
“I have so much experience from the many years that I have done cataract surgery – we can just make people see amazingly accurate. I was very fortunate to do my residency and fellowship at Johns Hopkins, because I was able to see almost everything when I was training and encouraged to be creative with research. The model of care that I aspire to started there because they are just the best in the world – I work to make my practice a smaller version of that level of excellence.”
Passion for Precision
“It’s purposeful work. From a broad spectrum of surgery, my interest has narrowed into cataract and refractive cataract surgery. It’s all about precision and accuracy, and I’m following that model all the time in what I do. I keep proficient. My dad was a fighter pilot in the Air Force – talk about precision – I grew up in a culture that you have to do something that you are current with all the time – for example, you fly every week, the more you fly, the more you do something, the less chance of risk, the better you are.”
“When I was eight, I found out I needed glasses, and everyone in the family was like, you CAN’T – my dad, the fighter pilot, had perfect vision. I had some of the first contacts ever, and then I was able to see. I was very myopic, and all of a sudden I could see all the leaves on the trees. I really remember that.”
“I’ve been to India and Africa; I did surgeries there during my residency. The number one cause of blindness around the world is cataracts. It’s preventable. It’s fixable. As much as I want to make everyone’s experience so accurate and so perfect, I know that in America we are very fortunate to have all this technology, but I also know what it’s like not to have it. I think we forget how fortunate we are to have access to this level of surgery. Right here it’s the top; the hospital has invested in a laser for cataract surgery – and with multi- focal lenses, the ability to do all this amazing work is right here.”
“I don’t think some people realize that they might not be seeing well and I help them. I go out to Burgaw once a month, where some people don’t have resources and are profoundly blind – count fingers blind. You don’t have to go out of the country to find that. I used to go down to the Supply, NC, area as well. Part of my mandate as a Brody Fellow Scholar was to serve eastern Carolina, and I’ve gotten a lot from doing that.”
Just wondering: Do you have a favorite color eye?
“That’s an interesting question. I don’t even look at people’s eyes a lot, I look in their pupils. They are all really pretty… maybe sea foam green…”
Patients generally reach Dr. Harris through referrals from their optometrist. She performs 75 and 100 surgeries a month, about 50% of them with a bladeless procedure using the LenSx Laser, which Dr. Harris says adds a platform of safety and perfection. In the next five years, she anticipates, it will be unusual not to use a laser for eye surgeries. Not “trendy,” she calls herself a fast adopter and well suited to the innovative specialty of ophthalmology. Loving what she does makes it easy to get up in the morning, she says. “It’s easy for me to do things with my hands –I’ve studied, I’ve taken time to find out the things that I’m great at, and what I’m not, and I’ve added staff to my practice to create the best environment for patients that I can.”