Q&A with Dr. John Epstein of Princeton Eye Group

Interview by Taylor Smith | Photos courtesy of Princeton Eye Group

Describe your area of specialty at Princeton Eye Group and your educational background.

I specialize in comprehensive ophthalmology, and most often perform LASIK and cataract surgeries. I did my undergraduate studies at Princeton University, majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, in addition to my pre-medical studies. I then received my medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where my love of ophthalmology began. I completed my residency at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

Where are Princeton Eye Group’s offices located and what makes them unique?

We have offices in Princeton, Monroe, and Somerset. Our offices are geographically located to be most convenient for our patients, and all of the offices are well equipped for general eye care. All of our subspecialists travel to each office as well. Because of our large size and volume, we are constantly improving and updating our diagnostic and treatment equipment so our patients receive nothing but the best care.

Where are corrective surgeries most commonly performed?

All cataract surgeries are performed at the Surgery Center of Central NJ, a fantastic facility that is part of the Wills Eye Hospital Surgical Network and has been in business for more than 20 years. What makes it so special is that only eye surgeries are done there, so everyone is extremely knowledgeable in terms of how to get the patient most comfortably and safely through their respective surgery. The staff is both compassionate and competent, and they always have smiles on their faces. The equipment and facilities are second to none, and the infection and complication rate in the center is one of the lowest in the entire network. LASIK is performed at the Wills Laser Vision at Princeton Center above our Princeton office, which is a dedicated laser suite built from scratch for that purpose and only that purpose. Again state-of-the-art comes to mind, making the patient experience and results among the best in the region.

What is the Retinal Diagnostic and Laser Center at Princeton Eye Group?

The Retinal Diagnostic and Laser Center at Princeton Eye Group is dedicated to the treatment of retina and vitreous problems, and the preservation of retinal health.  Its medical director, Samuel M. Liu, MD, PhD, has constantly provided the latest treatments for conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular occlusion, among other conditions. The center uses the most advanced diagnostic equipment and techniques like HD-OCT, ultrasonography, and angiography to evaluate retinal issues. Then, depending on each patient’s needs, the latest medical and/or surgical treatment options are instituted.

The center has several state-of-the-art lasers that are used for treatments of the eye and retina. These are typically utilized for retinal holes and tears, as well as for treating diabetic retinal conditions and retinal blood vessel disorders. The center also provides treatments for macular degeneration using the latest techniques and medications.

“There is nothing more gratifying,” says Dr. Liu, “than seeing a patient ‘s vision and life dramatically improve. The most recent advances in retinal care are incorporated into every aspect of our practice.”  In addition to his work at Princeton Eye Group, Dr. Liu is also currently the chairman of ophthalmology at Princeton Medical Center.

Why is it so important for patients to find the right eye doctor when seeking any form of treatment?

These days cataract and LASIK surgery is not a “one size fits all” situation. There are many new lenses, techniques, and technologies available, and much confusion surrounding them as to how to choose. For example, cataract surgery is primarily designed to restore the health of the eye, but it has also become an opportunity to reduce dependence on glasses. Patients who may never have been a LASIK candidate can now enjoy a similar or better benefit after cataract surgery, and that is very exciting.  It can also be overwhelming. A patient can only ask a few friends or read a handful of reviews online. I am their navigator. When they see me, they benefit from the thousands and thousands of patients I have done surgery on over the last 15 years. I know the “lay of the land,” and I can use that experience, along with input from them, to help them choose the technology that will make them the happiest. This takes time, patience, and compassion. A trusting relationship between patient and provider is also critical to this success. I strive to treat my patients like they were my family member going through the same thing, and my only goal is for the patient to be happy.