Patient care at core of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami

May 1, 2010

Of all the ophthalmology programs in the United States, the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the Unviersity of Miami Miller School of Medicine is among the youngest.

Founded in 1962 by Edward W.D. Norton, MD, who served as its chairman from 1959 to 1991, Bascom Palmer was focused from the start on providing the best-possible care to patients.

In the process of caring for patients, the institution performs research to find treatments for those who might be moving toward blindness, and it promotes education to keep "fresh minds" thinking about new ways to prevent and treat eye disease, he said.

"It's not very unusual for our residents and fellows to want to stay and continue to work here because the mission statement is very, very satisfying to anyone who has chosen medicine as their career path," Dr. Alfonso said. "We want to help people, and we talk about this day in and day out."

With what Dr. Alfonso said might be the largest ophthalmology campus in the world and more than 237,000 patient visits in 2008, Bascom Palmer has room to develop and explore the best ways to carry out its mission. The institute has more than 300,000 square feet of clinical and research space at its Miami base, with plans underway for an adjacent 6-acre site to be developed in the next five years that will double that number, with a focus on translational research.

Three additional campuses scattered around south Florida offer additional relief to patients in this booming and often congested metropolitan area. A clinic in Plantation will include operating rooms in the next few years, while a self-sustained campus in Palm Beach offers 60,000 square feet, with a new, 25,000-square-foot translational research building to be completed in about a year. A fourth location, in Naples, is much smaller but plans exist to triple the space once the economy improves.