Ophthalmology Mar 13, 2024

A Vision for the Highest Standard of Eye Care

UT Health Austin ophthalmologists share a passion for changing patient’s lives and advancing the field of eye medicine

Reviewed by: Eileen Bowden, MD, and Eric Crowell, MD
Written by: Lauren Schneider

A silver phoropter used in eye exams.

Eileen Bowden, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist in UT Health Austin’s Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute, recalls first falling in love with eye medicine during medical school. “I was astounded by the impact an ophthalmologist could make in a relatively short amount of time to help patients regain their ability to perform everyday activities,” shares Dr. Bowden.

Ophthalmologists like Dr. Bowden are eye care specialists who attend medical school and undergo additional clinical training during a four-year ophthalmology residency. This training allows them to diagnose and treat complex eye diseases that can drastically alter a patient’s quality of life.

Hear from UT Health Austin ophthalmologists as they answer questions about eye health from social media.

<br>At the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Institute, ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists have a profound effect on both their patients’ health outcomes and the field itself. The care team is made up of clinicians and staff who foster a culture of excellence in patient care, and the invaluable contributions of its physician-scientists drive impactful advancements in research and education.

Combined Expertise From Renowned Eye Care Specialists

In addition to completing medical school and a residency, each physician on the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute care team has completed a fellowship, which is comprised of additional years of training focused on a subspecialty of their field. As such, the care team is equipped to diagnose and treat advanced ophthalmic conditions.

“Optometrists and primary care providers often refer patients to us when their condition requires surgery or some other specialized treatment,” notes Dr. Bowden, who completed a fellowship in glaucoma. Dr. Bowden specializes in glaucoma, cataracts, and anterior segment disorders, which affect the front portion of the eye.

Several other specialists work alongside Dr. Bowden at the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute.

Gene Kim, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist who completed a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery. Dr. Kim specializes in corneal transplants and anterior segment reconstruction.

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<br>Eric Crowell, MD, MPH, is a board-certified ophthalmologist who completed a fellowship in uveitis and ocular immunology. Dr. Crowell specializes in ocular inflammatory conditions.

“I chose to pursue training in ocular immunology for a chance to make a difference in patients’ lives,” says Dr. Crowell. “It’s a very underrepresented specialty among ophthalmologists, even though about 10-20% of blindness in this country is caused by an inflammatory disease.”

Moe “Harry” Hein Aung, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurologist who completed a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology. Dr. Aung specialized in the interaction between the eyes and the nervous system, diagnosing and treating conditions, such as optic neuritis and ischemic optic neuropathy.

Learn how Dr. Aung bridges disciplines to treat conditions at the intersection of eye health and neurological health.

<br>At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. Physicians at the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute often collaborate to ensure patients are receiving the highest level of care.

“Dr. Crowell and I share a lot of patients who have both uveitis and glaucoma,” explains Dr. Bowden. “Additionally, Dr. Kim and I share many pediatric patients who are either born with an anterior segment disorder or who develop glaucoma at an early age.”

“Sometimes, working alongside these doctors involves performing surgical procedures together,” adds Dr. Bowden. “This allows us to address more complex cases while tending to all of a patient’s ophthalmic needs.”

Many Roles, One Purpose

The physicians are not the only team members who set the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute apart. The care team also includes ophthalmic technicians and clinical support staff who guide patients throughout their journey.

“Our clinical program manager, Matthew Marrero, COT, OSC, helps keep our practice running smoothly by organizing schedules and directing referrals to the proper specialist on our team,” shares Dr. Crowell. “Hevyn Diers, our patient care coordinator, helps us navigate the complexities of insurance so that patients get the care they need.”

The exceptional care that patients receive at the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute extends beyond the practice itself. Many of the surgeries offered the by care team’s specialists are performed in the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC), UT Health Austin’s facility for outpatient and selected short stay procedures. As such, the ASC team plays an important role in caring for ophthalmology patients.

“Patients tell me how welcomed they feel by the ASC’s care team,” notes Dr. Crowell. “The ASC is also great from a surgeon’s standpoint because they are an efficient team that is constantly working to improve care delivery.”

A Shared Mission to Advance Ophthalmology

The Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute is shaping the future of ophthalmology in more ways than one. The care team’s physicians are involved in research projects aimed at improving the standard of care in their field.

Not only are these physicians committed to the latest advances in eye care, but they also train the next generation of ophthalmologists as faculty at The University of Texas Dell Medical School. Trainees in Ascension Seton’s Ophthalmology Residency program gain practical experience working alongside clinicians at the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute.

The academic model of medicine in which doctors teach and mentor future physicians in addition to treating patients, fosters an environment of clinical excellence. “Residents offer a new perspective, allowing attending physicians to approach our work more critically,” says Dr. Crowell. “This drives us to deliver the highest level of patient care.”

Explore the shared commitments that set UT Health Austin apart.

<br>In turn, the outcomes that the physicians at the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute deliver inspire them to keep pushing towards better ophthalmic care for all patients. “Improving a patient’s daily functioning by restoring their vision is a gratifying experience,” shares Dr. Bowden.

For more information about the Mitchel and Shannon Wong Eye Institute or to request an appointment, call 1-833-UT-CARES (1-833-882-2737) or visit here.

About UT Health Austin

UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide patients with an unparalleled quality of care. Our experienced healthcare professionals deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality and treat each patient as an individual with unique circumstances, priorities, and beliefs. Working directly with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you — in the care room and beyond. For more information, call us at 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment here.