We Love Blogging For YOU!

Why We Blog? Our Patients Inspire Us!

At our clinics, our patients are why we do what we do, including our blog. That sounds like a marketing phrase but it is true.  It is fitting that our patients are not only the targeted recipients of our blogs, but they are also the primary inspiration for it.  We always have stories for and about our patients so subject matter is easy to come by.  Last week’s blog was on a recently FDA approved treatment (Crosslinking) for a previously untreatable disease (Keratoconus).  That is a message that we enjoyed sharing and it brought to mind several patients.  Some of our patients who have progressed forms of the disease will not benefit from the new treatment, but their children (genetic inheritors of the same disease) may have a better life because of it.

West Georgia Eye Care Center has been blogging for over two years, now.   We are convinced that there is value in this blogging and we appreciate the benefits of how blogging makes us more connected to our patients and to the community we serve.  Last week, the local ABC affiliate picked up our Crosslinking story and came to one of our locations to interview Dr. Brooks (one of our corneal fellowship trained surgeons).  How wonderful that the message of this promising new treatment is being shared!  We want everyone who may benefit from it to receive the message.  Blogging helps us connect that way!

Follow this link to view the WTVM story!


Corneal Cross-Linking, WGECC First to Offer New Innovative Treatment!

West Georgia Eye Care Center is excited to be the first in our region to offer Corneal Cross-Linking (KXL)! We have been the first in the region with multiple technologies, including multifocal premium lens implants, iFS and iLASIK technology, and elective Clear Lens Exchange among others, but being first is not the goal unto itself!

Why is being first important?

When we decide to be first, it is only after our surgeons have studied and reviewed the FDA clinical trials, discussed the new technology with colleagues across the country, and have attended courses and lectures by the experts involved in those studies. Being first indicates that we are following the FDA and medical community’s  approval of the most advanced treatments available, and then carefully considering if they are best for our patients.  Being first shows that we are ready to invest in the technologies, training and expertise that offers the best eye care options to our patients.

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?  

Also called KXL, this procedure combines Vitamin B2(riboflavin) eye drops and ultra-violet (UV) light to strengthen corneas that have been weakened by disease. The treatment is indicated for selected patients with Keratoconus or Corneal Ectasia who may have previously had no therapeutic options for their disease.  KXL is minimally invasive and is performed on an outpatient basis in the office.

Who decides if KXL is right for me?

West Georgia Eye Care Center has the only corneal fellowship trained specialists (James Brooks, Jr., MD and Cynthia Nix, MD) in our region; and, as its name indicates, Corneal Cross-Linking, is a procedure involving the cornea.  Your eye doctor may refer you to one of our corneal specialists or you can call for an evaluation.  After a complete and thorough eye examination with corneal testing, our physicians will advise you if KXL is recommended for you!

To learn more about KXL: http://avedro.com/en-us/

Camp Abilities… A Camper Can Do Anything!

“What is a visually impaired camper able to do?……Anything!”

~ Dr. Jeanine Fittipaldi-Wert, PhD


Columbus State University recently hosted a very special camp for some amazing young people at the 6th annual Camp Abilities!

We all know that summer and camp just go together, but youth who are visually impaired face unique challenges in attending traditional camps.

Under the directorship of CSU’s 2016 Educator of the Year, Dr. Jeanine Fittipaldi-Wert, Camp Abilities breaks down those barriers. Camp Abilities provides a safe and encouraging environment for its visually disabled campers, but it is still packed with activity!  Riding on a six-seater bike is one counselor’s favorite, while other recreational activities include beep soccer, beep baseball, rock-climbing, tennis and more.   But it’s not the array of sports that makes this camp special, it is the attitude, as exemplified by the camp motto: “Loss of sight, never a loss of vision!”   On the informational video from the Camp Abilities webpage, https://hpex.columbusstate.edu/camp_abilities/ , a smiling camper enthusiastically proclaims, “This camp doesn’t judge you!”

Low vision is also no longer a roadblock to camp fun thanks to the generous support from sponsors like: CSU, West Georgia Eye Care Center, Country’s BBQ, CSU Spring Swing, Zaxby’s, Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, Georgia Blind Sports Assoc., Run Across Georgia, Dr. & Mrs. James Brooks, Ride on Bikes, Christopher Scott Special, and Beep Kick Ball.

Education, awareness, and management of visual impairments has made great strides; just like the advances in treating eye disease. New technologies allow for the treatment of many eye diseases that were previously deemed untreatable.   At West Georgia Eye Care Center we are dedicated to providing Columbus, Georgia and surrounding region with the most advanced eye care available.  To that end, we have recently invested in the only FDA approved therapeutic treatment for progressive Keratoconus.  Check out next week’s blog for details!

Memorial Day and a Georgia Contribution

Congress has named Waterloo, New York as the “birthplace of Memorial Day” (House Resolution 587 ). It was there, on May 5th 1866, that the Waterloo community began an annual service to commemorate fallen soldiers. It is estimated that 620,000 soldiers across the United States gave their lives in the Civil War conflict. Every community in the nation had reason to grieve and the commemoration ministered to the need of the living to honor those lost. The early ceremonies included elaborate decorating of graves which led to the popular name “Decoration Day”. Federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name in 1968.
Georgia also has a Memorial Day contribution to the history books. Georgia native Moina Michael, a teacher and volunteer war worker, began the successful fundraiser of selling poppies in order to benefit veterans in 1915. The idea of the poppy was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lt. Col. John McCrea, a WWI officer who composed the poem on the battlefields of Belgium on May 3, 1915.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


Memorial Day is a somber reminder of the great price that has been paid for us to enjoy our freedoms; West Georgia Eye Care Center considers it a privilege and an honor to provide eye care to our area veterans and their families. We are pleased to offer military discounts for many services, and to be a participating TRICARE provider. If you are a veteran with questions about our services, please contact our VA specialist, Kathy Wagner, at 706-323-3491 ext. 7536. We appreciate your service!

LASIK, Lids, Labradors and National Police Week

Last week was National Police Week! Coincidentally, we had a very nice patient visit the office to inquire about LASIK who happens to be an officer for the Columbus Police Department. He shared some stories of situations where his glasses were a barrier to performing his best on the job. At West Georgia Eye Care Center one of our favorite patient services is helping our patients see better with LASIK or other procedures! Another service that goes hand-in-hand is offering our patients affordable payment options! To this end, we offer 24 months interest FREE financing for qualified patients who would like to access this easy money-management tool through CareCredit!

LASIK is not the only service where CareCredit may come in handy for our patients. This option can also be used for Eyelid Rejuvenation and other oculoplastic procedures. Some patients choose financing for their cataract surgery. Premium lenses that correct astigmatism provide near vision (multifocal implants) can be financed this way for qualified patients. Some patients choose the financing option so that they can have the enhanced procedure they desire with an affordable way to pay. If you are interested in learning more about CareCredit with WGECC you can click on the iLASIK tab at the top of the page and follow the CareCredit link, or call Misty at 706-507-7528 and she will gladly answer your questions!

The CareCredit logo can be found around town in other offices too! The same card that makes your LASIK or eyelid surgery affordable may help with paying for your dental implants or your Labrador’s vet bill! CareCredit is available at participating providers of medical, dental, veterinary, hearing and pharmacy services! Different providers offer different plans, and at West Georgia Eye Care Center we have kept it simple by offering all of the plans available through CareCredit. You may not be in a high risk line of work like our brave police officers, but whichever procedure you may need and for whatever reason… we want to help make it more affordable!

Blessings in the Storms

A weather front filled with electrical storms and tornadoes wreaked havoc across the southeastern states the first week of last month.  Columbus was not spared and many residents had damage to trees and property.  One of those trees was especially dear to Margie Tanner.  If you have been a patient at our Main Office on Warm Springs Rd., then you have probably been blessed by Margie as you checked out from your visit.  She has been with West Georgia Eye Care Center for over 25 years and she is a patient favorite. She is appreciated for her kind words and warm heart and she is loved by doctors, staff and patients alike!

Margie wrapped all that love around her to help her get through a time that no grandmother should have to go through.  6 years ago her precious granddaughter, Tiffany, passed away from a chronic illness.  She was just 14 years old.  Many of Margie’s WGECC family attended a special memorial in the garden that Tiffany loved at her Grandmother’s home.  A tree was planted in her memory.  These were the words Margie posted on Facebook on April 3, 2017:

“Very sad tonight. Six years ago my Granddaughter Tiffany passed away and I planted this tree for her. Today the storm took it out. But I know Tiffany is telling me that she has a much bigger one in Heaven waiting for me to see. So as sad as I am I thank God I had Tiffany for 14 years and her tree for 6 years. Love and miss you TIFFBUG and thank God for wonderful memories we have together.”

The physicians at WGECC heard about the post and they wanted to help. This is Margie’s Facebook post from May 8, 2017:

“I am so excited Thanks to the Dr’s. at West Ga Eye Care Center for their generosity in buying a tree for Tiffany after hers was destroyed by the storm and my Grandson’s Jack and Josh for planting it for us. We got a Japanese Maple tree so it will grow big and strong in Tiffany’s Garden. I am so proud we could get it planted before the Anniversary of her home coming with our Lord on May 12th 2017 it has been 6 years it seems like yesterday. We all miss you Tiffany and Love you with all our Heart.

The storms took out a special tree but God had special blessings hidden in the storm… the blessings of love and kindness!

Some Pictures Tell the Story Better Than Words!

You really can hear the story behind these pictures by just looking at this 13 year old patient’s precious face after surgery! Her before and after eye photos speak loudly.  See her diseased and opaque cornea that offered her only a life of blindness and view all of the potential her new clear cornea offers her today!  The Georgia Eye Bank, the Lighthouse for Christ, and Dr. James Brooks, MD were all essential in creating this happy ending!

More of the Story:

Dr. Brooks returned to Kenya last month for his annual mission with Lighthouse for Christ. He is able to take healthy donated corneal tissue thanks to the generosity of the Georgia Eye Bank and the UT Southwestern Transplant Center.  This recipient of a cornea was blind from corneal haze caused by a genetic metabolic disorder.  Read below, in her Mother’s words, what this life-changing, sight-giving surgery means to her.

A Mother’s Words:

“I hope you are doing well. I’m well and very grateful to the entire team that saw my daughter get cornea transplant and hardly 2 weeks later she’s able to tell 2 different paints in the house we have lived in for the last three years, God is indeed good. Thank you so much, my heart is full of gratitude and I can only pray that God enlarge your boundaries and may any hand that gave towards this course or participated in one way or the other be bountifully blessed. Kindly pass my regards to Dr. Brooks!”


If you would like to be a part of writing more stories like this one, visit the website for Lighthouse for Christ to learn more:




Fun Fact Friday… A Hummingbird’s Wing Flap

Spring has arrived in West Georgia! The signs are everywhere from blooming flowers and budding trees to the return of hummingbirds! We are blessed in this area to be the spring and summer home for some species of these jewel-like, colorful creatures! If you want to invite them to your home, offer them homemade nectar substitute. It is inexpensive and simple to stir up some sweet offerings from two ingredients you probably have on hand.


Here is an easy recipe:


1 part white granulated sugar to 3 parts water.


A Hummingbird is able to flaps its wings up to 70 times per second; its heart rate can reach 1,260 beats per minute. It is one of the speediest flyers of the bird kingdom! This sets us up for our FUN FACT FRIDAY…

The LASIK technology at West Georgia Eye Care Center is faster than the flap of a hummingbird’s wings! Our iLASIK laser suite includes the iFS femtosecond laser. It is one of the speediest lasers in the medical technology industry. It uses an infrared beam to generate up to 60,000 pulses per second. Speed is not it’s only attribute. The iFS laser prepares a precise corneal architecture to give our patients optimal LASIK results!

Vision of a Different Kind

Happy Easter – Vision of a Different Kind

Yesterday, a patient and her husband were praying together very quietly in a corner of our waiting room before her surgery. She was both excited and anxious about her pending procedure to improve her vision.  It seems she already has the most valuable vision which is vision of a different kind than eyesight.

Spiritual vision is defined many ways. The Bible describes the conviction of things not seen as Faith:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen

Hebrews 1:1

One of the experiences our patients comment on the most is when their eye surgeon has offered to have prayer with them. Patients frequently post that they appreciate the opportunity to pray as much as they appreciate their eye care.  Studies have shown that for some people prayer lowers their blood pressure and heart rate… without side effects!

Today is Good Friday. This date is celebrated by Christians as the day that Jesus Christ suffered and died upon the cross to pay the price for our sins.  This Sunday is Easter Sunday!  This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from death to eternal life.  Scripture tells us that believing on Him offers eternal life to us all!

The physicians and staff of West Georgia Eye Care hope that you have a very, Happy Easter and the blessing of vision of a different kind!

West Georgia Eye Care Center and Cataula Community Come Together!

The local weather was perfect this past Saturday as a community of friends came together early in the morning to help one of their own. WGECC was pleased to be a part of the fund-raising yard sale for our sweet patient, Ms. Mahaley Lowe.  The event was held in Cataula, under a blue sky and atop a grassy knoll on property that was generously offered for use by the American Sand and Gravel Company.  Even the Easter Bunny showed up for the fun!

Cataula has a well-known history of its residents looking out for one another. Ms. Lowe has lived there for nearly all of her 78 years in the same home that she was born in.  Glaucoma has robbed Ms. Lowe of her vision and other health issues have slowed her down.  She maintains most of her independence but her home has become unsafe.  Without the critical renovations that are needed, Ms. Lowe may not be able to remain in her beloved home.  Her community has rallied to keep that from happening!

The big-hearted staff and physicians of West Georgia Eye Care Center and The Eye Surgery Center of West Georgia did some spring cleaning and collected gently used items for donation to the cause. Misty Kearney (LASIK coordinator for WGECC) made it a family event and recruited her husband (Columbus Police Department Officer, Fred Kearney) to volunteer with her to man the sell tables.  Many of our patients stopped by and purchased something, 100% of the money received went to the fund.  Our physicians also made donations to the Go Gund Me page set up for Ms. Lowe.  If you would like to visit that page to donate or to read more about her, the link is posted below: