Archive Surgical Construction 2019

Building the Perfect Eye Center

A top-down look at constructing a new ophthalmology facility from the ground up.

Robert Nelson

Robert Nelson, PA-C


Island Eye Surgicenter
VISION OF THE FUTURE The ORs at Island Eye Surgicenter in Westbury, N.Y., are filled with surgeon-pleasing, state-of-the-art technology.

Sometimes you have to change to move forward. For nearly 20 years, we'd done well in our familiar 3-OR eye surgery center. We expanded in 2003 to gain some additional space, but eventually reached full capacity and decided in 2015 to build a 25,000 square-foot center from the ground up. The new facility sits on 3.5 acres of prime real estate, roughly half a mile away from our old center. It has tripled our usable space — we have 6 operating rooms, 2 femtosecond laser suites and 2 laser treatment rooms — and effectively doubled our operating volume.

Looking back, deciding to build new was a bit of a gamble. To attract enough surgeons to justify the investment, we knew we'd have to carefully plan every detail. If we build it, we said, the surgeons will likely come. But if we equipped it poorly, we knew they wouldn't stay.

Has it worked? We're way ahead of projected case volumes and now expect to do 11,000 cataract operations this year and around 20,000 total procedures. You could say it's the apple of my eye. It was a leap of faith to build our state-of-the-art facility, but we were confident in the reputation we'd established in the region, we knew our staff was excellent and we knew our focus on technology was where it needed to be. It was a lot of work, but also a labor of love.

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