By Patra Taylor

Legend has it that the eyes are the windows to the soul. According to George O. Waring IV, MD FACS, the eyes are also the windows to whole body health. Dr. Waring, the medical director of the Magill Vision Center in Mount Pleasant, says it is now possible for patients to take a digital tour of their eyes that will paint a picture of a their nerve status, nutrition and vascular health.

 

“We offer the most advanced all digital eye exam, which not only shows patients their quality of vision; it evaluates all parts of their eye giving us valuable information about their systemic health,” said Dr. Waring, who brought this “advanced eye analysis” to Charleston at the Magill Vision Center. “We work with many new technologies which allow us to detect cataracts and pre-cataracts or what we now call dysfunctional lenses much earlier. As a result, patients have many more options for minimally invasive vision correction procedures with lasers at different stages of life. We have a holistic vision for a lifetime approach for our patients.”

The introduction of this cutting-edge diagnostic exam marked the beginning of the new phase of growth at Magill since Dr. Waring took the reigns in January 2012. According to Dr. Waring, Lucian V. Del Priore, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Medical University’s Storm Eye Institute, saw the potential to develop a “center of excellence” in ocular care in South Carolina. “Being an integral part of this new phases of growth was an opportunity for me to make a real difference in the medical community,” says Dr. Waring, who moved to the Charleston area from Ohio, where he was in private practice specializing in cataract, corneal refractive and intraocular lens surgery. “I saw that there was tremendous potential here to develop a world-class cataract and refractive center and I wanted to be part of it.”

Dr. Waring is an internationally renowned expert in laser assisted cataract surgery, lens implants, LASIK and refractive surgery, as well as the surgical management of keratoconus, astigmatism and presbyopia.

The new face of the Magill Vision Center

The Magill Vision Center is a state-of-the-art freestanding satellite of MUSC’s Storm Eye Institute. Dr. Waring’s first big task was to redesign and reequip the Magill facility. “I redesigned the building to give it a spa-like atmosphere,” explains Dr. Waring, an Atlanta-area native who earned a dual degree in Economics and Ecology at Emory University followed by his doctor of medicine degree at the Emory University School of Medicine. “I wanted Magill to have all the amenities available in a private practice.”

To that end, Dr. Waring brought in the most advanced technology in ocular care available in the world. Then he coupled that state-of-the-art technology with a world-renowned, board-certified medical team and a highly trained staff, both committed to providing safe, individualized, affordable services for most stages of life including cataracts, vision correction and cosmetic services.

The strategy paid off. “In under two years, Magill was recognized internationally for excellence and has become an international model for ocular care,” explains Dr. Waring. “We have physicians visiting here from all over the world to learn from us.”

Dr. Waring was honored to become the first person in the country to perform LASIK and PRK using the blade-free revolutionary technology of Alcon Wavelight EX500 refractive suite. Then in August 2013, he was the first surgeon in South Carolina to perform laser-assisted cataract surgery with the Catalys Precision Laser System. This high-tech system can perform 75 percent of the cataract procedure without the use of a blade with safety and accuracy. “The procedure is very fast and accurate,” notes Dr. Waring. “The average laser procedure time is only 60 seconds. Patients do not feel anything during the procedure and their eye is very comfortable after the procedure. The recovery time is so fast that most patients are often seeing well immediately after surgery and resuming normal activities the very next day.

“At Magill, we set out to create and deliver a patient experience like none other,” adds Dr. Waring. “It’s a patient-centered medical practice that provides state-of-the-art eye care to this community.”

Research a top priority

In addition to his responsibilities as Magill’s medical director, Dr. Waring also serves as an assistant professor of ophthalmology and the director of refractive surgery at MUSC’s Storm Eye Institute, South Carolina’s premier center for the management of complex and serious eye diseases for 30 years. As a research institute, Storm Eye enjoys notoriety throughout the world for innovation and discovery in many fields including intraocular lenses, retinal function and the study of glaucoma, retinal diseases and neuro-protection. Additionally, Dr. Waring is an adjunct assistant professor of bioengineering at the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University where he founded one of a few ocular biomechanics and ocular diffusion labs in the world.

The son of well-known corneal and refractive surgeon and professor at Emory University, George O. Waring, III, M.D., Dr. Waring’s passion for helping patients reduce their dependence on contacts and glasses comes naturally. “The opportunity to help develop the future of cataract lens and refractive surgery was a major part of my decision to move to Charleston,” insists Dr. Waring, who is conducting groundbreaking research in the areas of ocular biomechanics and ocular diffusion. “We are working with novel surgical techniques and technologies that combine LASIK and cataract surgery that reduce patients dependence on reading glasses and bifocals.”

Dr. Waring is referring to the surgical correction of presbyopia, a ubiquitous condition where, with age, the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects whereby patients need reading glasses and bifocals. “It’s exciting to be at the forefront of this emerging medical field where we are essentially developing a new subspecialty in the area of eye surgery,” he said.

On coming to Charleston

“MUSC has been a great fit for me,” said Dr. Waring. “The university shares my commitment to using the most advanced technology in the world which we have been able to integrate into a five-star patient experience.

“I also love the Lowcountry because of its provincial charm,” he continued. “I already had a community of friends here. It’s great to be back in the South.”

Dr. Waring says he is interested in fostering Charleston as a “Destination Medicine city.” “Charleston is already the most popular tourist destination in America with Conde Nast,” he reminded me. “Combine that with the most advanced technology in the world and the unsurpassed medical experience available. All the components are in place to make it work.” Seeing the Lowcountry for all its glory may yet have a new meaning.

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