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Dr. Stacey Brauner discovered that she loved ophthalmology during medical school. “That’s when I realized how big an impact vision loss has on a patient’s life,” she explains. “When you help someone regain vision, with cataract surgery, for example, it dramatically improves their quality of life. That possibility really inspired me.”
After medical school, Dr. Brauner completed her residency training in the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, followed by a glaucoma fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear. Today, she practices ophthalmology as a member of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service and sees patients at two Mass. Eye and Ear locations—in Boston (main campus) and in Stoneham. In addition to providing routine eye exams, she conducts diabetic and glaucoma screenings, as well as cataract evaluation and cataract surgery.
“For many patients, their first experience with Mass. Eye and Ear is with the Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service,” she notes. Patients may come for a routine eye exam or for evaluation of a complex vision problem. They may come from throughout New England or from overseas for a second opinion consultation. Whatever the need, Dr. Brauner and her colleagues perform a comprehensive eye exam and then help identify the appropriate subspecialist at Mass. Eye and Ear for further treatment.
“Understanding the whole patient is very important to me,” Dr. Brauner says. “I need to know about each patient’s medical conditions and how they affect the eye, as well as understand their visual needs (work, hobbies, and sports, etc.) so that I can help tailor their care to the things that they enjoy in their daily life.” The most rewarding part of Dr. Brauner’s job is when she is able to improve a patient’s vision through cataract surgery. “Often patients don’t realize how much of the world they are missing until their vision has been restored, and they are so thankful for being able to see street signs, their young grandchildren, or even the wrinkles on their face!”
As a Harvard Medical School Instructor in Ophthalmology, Dr. Brauner enjoys teaching residents and medical students. The moments that she finds most rewarding often come when she has them join her at the “teaching scope,” a two-headed microscope that enables Dr. Brauner and her students to examine the patient’s eye at the same time.
Dr. Brauner teaches her students how to interpret what they’re seeing. “We focus on differentiating what is normal from what is abnormal at first, because it can be confusing,” she explains. “For example, something that looks abnormal may just be a normal anatomic eye feature.”
“Teaching and mentoring are so important,” she adds, “because that’s how we continue to uphold the tradition of excellence here at Mass. Eye and Ear. It began with the great ophthalmologists who are now legendary for their breakthroughs in vision science and clinical care. And it gets passed down from generation to generation, from mentor to student.”
Dr. Brauner also enjoys contributing to clinical research. “My patients often are willing to participate in clinical trials here,” she says. “When that happens, it’s rewarding for both of us to know that we’re helping to advance the science of vision.”
Dr. Brauner recently noticed that, for some of her patients, Mass. Eye and Ear has become a family affair. “Sometimes, at the end of an appointment, the patient’s son or daughter who has driven them to see me turns and asks, ‘Are you accepting new patients, because I need an eye exam…,’” she explains. “That’s the greatest compliment.”
Contact Dr. Brauner’s office at 617-573-3202
View Dr. Brauner’s online bio for more information.