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From Cooking to Cataracts: Quigley Eye Specialists Fueling Growth Spurt

Nov 23, 2020 05:00PM ● By SUSAN BENNETT

When Thomas Quigley was a youngster, he dreamed of becoming a chef one day. He even won the Betty Crocker cooking contest in high school by baking beignets, the plump sugary doughnuts made famous by Café du Monde in New Orleans.

He planned to enroll in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School when life took an unexpected turn. His sister Kathy developed uveitis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the tissues of the eye. The disease progressed to the point that one eye had to be removed. She eventually lost all sight.

“When your sister is legally blind, you realize how precious your vision is. She inspired me to do what I do today. Becoming an ophthalmologist is the best decision I ever made,” says Dr. Quigley, who founded Quigley Eye Specialists in 1988.

With more than 70 medical professionals, Quigley Eye Specialists is now one of the nation’s leading multispecialty ophthalmology practices specializing in cataracts, laser cataract surgery, glaucoma, LASIK, dry eye, eyelid surgery, retinal issues, corneal conditions and routine eye care. A dozen offices are now located in Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda.

And it’s growing. This past summer, Quigley Eye Specialists opened a new 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art office in Cape Coral, acquired the Port Charlotte optometry practice of Dr. Denise Billings, acquired the downtown Fort Myers location of Dr. Bruce Senior and ventured into new territory with the acquisition of the facial plastic surgery practice of Dr. Stephen Prendiville and the Assuage Luxury Spa.

The growth spurt continued in September with the opening of the first Q Lasik and Med Spa in Naples under the direction of Dr. Prendiville. The Q Lasik & Med Spa also offers anti-aging procedures such as eyelid surgery, injectable fillers, LASIK and facials. It will be the first location in the area to offer a dry eye spa, providing advanced technology to treat chronic dry eye.

“Adding a cosmetic and anti-aging center to our practice makes sense for us and for our patients. When patients are able to see better, they notice things in the mirror that they hadn’t seen before, which is where Dr. Prendiville comes in. He helps patients love what they see even more,” Dr. Quigley says.

The new Cape Coral office is installing some of the region’s newest, most advanced technology. Among those advances is the Epic 6100 system, a computerized workstation that determines the best corrective lenses for the sharpest, clearest vision. This smart and intuitive workstation allows physicians to have the latest data assessment and diagnosis and prescribe a final correction.

“This is a huge benefit for patients. Instead of asking a patient to determine which lens enables them to see best—number one or number two—this device will show both options side by side at the same time,” says Dr. Mark Liebetreu, optometric physician with Quigley Eye Specialists. 

The Epic 6100 also eliminates the need for patients to move to different rooms during the examination, which can be fatiguing for older patients. Everything is done at one workstation, which reduces the time a patient spends in the office by as much as 15 to 20 minutes. The efficiency also helps with social distancing.

As demand for services continues to grow, Quigley anticipates that there will be more practice acquisitions in the future, especially in Southwest Florida and on Florida’s east coast. The group may even consider acquiring practices elsewhere in Florida and throughout the southeastern United States.

“The national trend is that practices are consolidating,” he says. “A lot depends upon the caliber of the physicians who wish to join us. We have a very high standard. We want the most exceptional physicians with the most exceptional practices to join us. That can take one to two years to accomplish.”

Treating every patient like a guest in his home is the culture Quigley has worked to establish for the practice. He always wants patients to have the best experience possible from the time they make an appointment to the time they check in at the desk and see a medical professional.

This personable doctor still remembers the first day he opened his doors with just two employees and zero patients. He pounded the pavement, speaking at senior centers, where he often faced a tough audience.

Laughing about one of those experiences, he recalls, “There were seven people and I had my little slide show about to give a presentation, and a lady says, ‘Move out of the way! Wheel of Fortune is on.’”

Today, Quigley Eye Specialists is one of the largest ophthalmology practices in Florida and the number-one choice for cataract treatment in Southwest Florida. No one is asking Dr. Quigley to move out of the way. 

Susan Bennett, APR, CPRC, is the owner of Susan Bennett Marketing & Media, L.C., and is a frequent contributor to TOTI Media.