Atlantic Eye Center celebrates 25 years

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 CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – On July 5, 1988, Dr. Michael Caruso set up an eye care center on Village Drive in Cape May Court House. It was not even a week after his June 30 graduation from the ophthalmology residency program. But he had heard that south Jersey was in need of an eye doctor, and he had fond memories of the shore from his childhood. It seemed a good place to start his ophthalmology career.

Now 25 years later, Caruso is a leading name in ophthalmic and surgical eye care in South Jersey, offering services at three locations in Cape May and Atlantic Counties: Atlantic Eye Center, EyeMax Lasik Center, and Cape Cataract Center, according to information from the business.

It was a journey that Caruso said he has appreciated every step of the way.

“There were definitely challenges,” said Caruso, “such as getting zoning, and building an office while we were still running the business. But there have been many more successes over the years. The most gratifying part has been to become part of this community. Not only have I gotten to know, and help, some wonderful people, I’m now treating their children and their grandchildren.”

The board-certified ophthalmologist, doctor of medicine and eye surgeon is trained to perform total eye care, from routine eye exams to disease diagnosis, prescription treatments and surgery. He has specialties in cataract, lid surgery and Lasik surgery. That’s what prompted him to open his own surgical centers.

Caruso opened the EyeMax Lasik Center in Linwood in 1998 and Cape Cataract Center in Cape May Court House in 2002.

“A surgery center is more comfortable for patients than going to a hospital,” he said, but that wasn’t the only reason he decided to open the centers. “It gives us more control over the procedures. Since we just focus on certain ones, we’re able to more easily obtain the newest, most innovative equipment. Our overhead cost is less than a hospital’s and we’re able to pass that along to our patients. In addition, drive up parking and efficient turn-around times make it convenient.”

Over the last 25 years, Caruso has seen some significant changes in medical technology. When he began, radial keratotomy (RK) was the treatment of choice; today it is Lasik surgery. Lasik surgery can correct even severe cases of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatisms. Caruso was the first doctor in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties to perform Lasik surgery, according to his office. To date, he has performed more than 10,000 successful LASIK surgeries.

Caruso also performs the most advanced outpatient cataract surgery available, he said.

“There are no stitches, no patches, no needles,” he said. “We use a premium Intraocular Lens (IOL), Multifocal IOL's, that we implant in a matter of minutes to give you a lifetime of better vision. In fact, many of our patients find the procedure to be painless, with quick recovery and results the same day.”

There have been significant advances in IOLs in just the last few years. Originally only able to restore distance vision, IOLs now can correct vision for close, medium and far distances.

There also have been breakthroughs in treatment of macular degeneration, a disease previously thought untreatable. Caruso said he stays on top of ophthalmic advances in his practice, which treats patients from the time they are young, through adult years, and as their eyes age. He tests for color blindness and visual range, nearsightedness and farsightedness, and looks for evidence of low vision, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or retinal disease.

He also helps patients with glasses.

“Glasses have gone from a necessity to a fashion item,” he noted. “Some people are even wearing glasses with clear lenses, for the look.”

As for the 25th anniversary, Caruso is celebrating with his staff of 30, 10 times the personnel that his business had at the start.

“I couldn’t have done this without my dedicated staff and patient base. I thank everyone who has supported us over the years.”

For more information on Atlantic Eye Center, or affiliated businesses EyeMax Lasik Center or Cape Cataract Center, or to schedule an appointment, visit  or call 609-465-1616.

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