Eye care practices join forces

ELLSWORTH — Coastal Eye Care and Ellsworth Uveitis and Retina Care, PA have announced that they will be combining retina services in a single Ellsworth location.

Coastal Eye Care, managed by Dr. Lawrence Piazza, has provided comprehensive ophthalmology services in the Ellsworth area since 1994. Ellsworth Uveitis and Retina Care, managed by Dr. Thomas E. Flynn, has provided retina care to patients in the Ellsworth area since 2008. In 2019, Coastal Eye Care hired a medical retina specialist, Dr. Catherine Meyerle. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 virus and the implementation of numerous special safety initiatives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Coastal Eye Care to sustain a practice that houses three physicians in the same space.

“We have addressed the COVID-19 crisis by screening patients for illness, limiting patient flow, following strict procedures for sanitizing, ensuring distancing between staff members, using personal protective equipment (masks and gloves) and eliminating patient waiting time,” Piazza explained. “While we can do this for two doctors, myself and Dr. (Isaac) Rudloe, who maintain a cataract, glaucoma and comprehensive general, ophthalmology practice, the logistics become substantially more complicated when you add a third physician, particularly, as is the case, where a medical retina practice requires additional, specially trained staff, different diagnostic equipment as well as specific treatment procedures that require more space. We just don’t have sufficient clinic space to allow three physicians to function safely with the constraints of social distancing.”

Coastal Eye Care approached Ellsworth Uveitis and Retina Care about the possibility of having Meyerle relocate to the Ellsworth Uveitis and Retina Care office.  Flynn was enthusiastic about the idea.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” said Flynn. “The area has recently lost retina physicians. One left the area in April and one has been quarantining remotely. As a result, the patient population needs all the talented doctors we can find.

“Dr. Meyerle and I would be able to use the same staff and perform the same services. Social distancing will be easy because there’s no ‘doubling up’ or competition for space.”

Both Flynn and Piazza emphasized their priority to ensure patient safety and continuity of care. “With everything else that’s happening, it would be a shame to make patients scramble to find yet another doctor,” Piazza added. “We want to make sure that our patients know that all of us, Doctors Flynn, Meyerle, Piazza and Rudloe, are here for them.”

The transition is expected to happen in the first week of August.

Both practices are open and have resumed patient care.

For more information about Coastal Eye Care, call 667-6300 or visit www.coastaleyecare.net.

Ellsworth Uveitis and Retina Care’s phone number and website are 669-4390 and www.ellsworthuveitisandretinacare.net.

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