Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Eye practice’s newest doctors cite family experiences that steered careers.

With any health checkup or treatment, the individuals providing the care are responsible for making patients feel comfortable. In some cases, providers’ offices are very clinical and sterile, which does little to calm patient anxieties. At Brandon Eye Associates, doctors use their hearts as well as their minds and technology to care for their patients’ eyes.

Staff at Brandon Eye Associates are committed health care providers whose main focus is their patients’ safety, and overall health and well-being. They are equally committed to educating patients on topics and advances in ophthalmology so patients can be informed before making decisions about their treatment.

In August, Brandon Eye Associates expanded its committed staff with the addition of two new doctors: Seth Oppenheim, MD, and Reem Asfour, OD.

Early Interest

I follow glaucoma patients, prescribing eyedrops and performing laser procedures as needed. – Dr. Oppenheim

Dr. Oppenheim began his career in ophthalmology in 1985 after completing his residency at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. But he set his sights on the specialty long before he reached medical school.

“My grandfather went blind in both eyes from glaucoma,” Dr. Oppenheim relates. “He lived to be 100, but he really didn’t have any vision for the last 10 years of his life and had vision in only one eye for the decade before that.

“Also, I was very nearsighted from about age 6 until I underwent laser vision correction when I was 40 years old. So, I saw eye doctors routinely for glasses and contact lenses for many years. The combination of my grandfather going blind from glaucoma and the fact that I wore pretty thick glasses was enough to get me interested in ophthalmology.”

Dr. Oppenheim has maintained a very active practice during his 36-year career. He has performed at least 15,000 cataract surgeries and more than 7,000 laser vision corrections. He is a progressive ophthalmologist who stays on the leading edge of advances in the field.

“I performed the first ICL procedure in the state of Virginia,” he relates. “ICL stands for intraocular contact lens, and ICLs are performed on people who are too nearsighted for laser vision correction. During an ICL procedure, we place a contact lens implant to correct vision. It is similar to cataract surgery, but with ICL, the patient’s natural lens is not removed.

“I actually performed the first five ICL procedures in Virginia, including one that was on live television. I also performed the first toric lens implant at the time of cataract surgery in the state of Virginia.” Toric lens implants correct for astigmatism.

At Brandon Eye Associates, Dr. Oppenheim serves as a medical ophthalmologist. He provides treatment for various eye conditions such as glaucoma and dry eye disease, performs routine eye exams, and diagnoses retinal disorders such as macular degeneration and retinal detachments. He also does a variety of laser procedures.

“For example, I follow glaucoma patients, prescribing eyedrops and performing laser procedures as needed,” Dr. Oppenheim notes. “I can use a special laser to make miniature holes in the drainage outflow area in the eye. The holes facilitate the outflow of fluid from the eye, which helps to reduce eye pressure.

“I also follow patients who have cataracts that do not yet require surgery. But when they do, I refer the patients to one of the surgeons at Brandon Eye Associates in Brandon for cataract surgery. I then follow the patients after they have cataract surgery.

Dr. Oppenheim primarily works out of Brandon Eye Associates’ Sun City Center location, but he also fills in at the Brandon office when needed.

Casting Shadows

Dr. Asfour’s reason for becoming an eye care specialist is similar to Dr. Oppenheim’s.

“In all cases, I manage patients closely with their primary care providers for the most complete treatment of their conditions.” – Dr. Asfour

“My grandfather suffers with macular degeneration and glaucoma, and as a high school student, I used to take him to all of his injection appointments,” she relates. “That inspired me to enter the eye care field.

“Once I was able to shadow an optometrist and an ophthalmologist, I realized that I enjoyed optometry more than ophthalmology. There is a ton of patient focus in optometry, with a little less surgery involved.”

Dr. Asfour sees patients in Sun City Center three days a week and Brandon two days a week. One of the most common treatments she provides at Brandon Eye Associates is dry eye therapy.
“There are several techniques for assessing dry eye,” Dr. Asfour states. “One technique is to measure the quality of the patient’s tear film. We also base our assessment on the patient’s symptoms.

“Another technique is to evaluate the Meibomian glands, which secrete oils and keep the eyes lubricated. Typically, we begin the assessment with the area most impacted by the dry eye.

“The extent of dry eye therapy depends on the patient, but we have several treatments available. These include MiboFlo treatments, which use thermoelectric radiation to treat dry eye. We also offer punctal plugs to block drainage from the tear ducts. There are medications we can use, such as XIIDRA®, RESTASIS® and our newest drop, Cequa®. I generally take a step-by-step approach to treatment based on my patient’s needs.”

In addition to assessing and treating dry eye, Dr. Asfour also monitors and manages glaucoma patients, performs diabetic eye exams and handles postoperative cataract care.

“I generally work up all my diabetic patients for glaucoma because they are more at risk for the eye disease,” Dr. Asfour observes. “Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), a visual field machine, and other glaucoma screenings, I am able to better examine the optic nerves for any damage and initiate treatment to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. I also monitor for macular degeneration using up-to-date technology.

“If the patients’ macular degeneration is severe, I refer them to one of the doctors in Brandon for further treatment. I am able to monitor the disease in its early stages and determine if the patients would benefit from injection therapy. “In addition, when dilating my patients’ eyes, I look for bleeding or fluid related to diabetes in order to give the patients the appropriate treatment they need.
“In all cases, I manage patients closely with their primary care providers for the most thorough treatment of their conditions.”

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    • Brandon Eye Associates, PA

      The doctors at Brandon Eye Associates use their hearts to help care for your eyes. In addition to being lauded, board-certified physicians at the height of their careers, your Brandon, Sun City Center and Plant City Ophthalmologists are car... Read More

    • Seth Oppenheim, MD

      Seth Oppenheim, MD, is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He earned his bachelor’s degree from University of Rochester in New York and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Oppe... Read More

    • Reem Asfour, OD

      Reem Asfour, OD, graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in public health. She later earned her Doctor of Optometry degree from Nova Southeast... Read More