Meet a Specialist: Matt Goodman, O.D.

Dr. Goodman

Dr. Matt Goodman was a high school freshman in Wyoming when he got his first chance to observe cataract surgery. His grandfather – the patient – had persuaded the ophthalmologist to let Matt watch the procedure. This early experience proved to be a turning point.

“Watching the surgery was fascinating,” Dr. Goodman now recalls. “And soon after the procedure, I noticed my grandfather’s quality of life really improved. Suddenly, my grandfather could drive again – which was a big deal, living in Wyoming, where you can’t get anywhere without driving.”

Today Dr. Goodman is an optometrist with the Optometry and Contact Lens Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. He provides comprehensive eye exams for teenagers and adults. He sees patients who need regular, soft contact lenses, often as an alternative to eyeglasses. He also works with patients who need more specialized contact lenses, including rigid gas permeable, scleral, or hybrid lenses.

Dr. Goodman is a graduate of Pacific University in Oregon, where he earned both his undergraduate degree in Vision Science and his Doctor of Optometry degree. During his 4th year of optometry school, while doing an external rotation at Miami’s Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute, he realized he wanted to practice optometry in a hospital setting, rather than going into private practice. “I saw that optometrists in a multidisciplinary setting could offer patients the best possible care.”

In 2013, Dr. Goodman completed his optometric residency in the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology and subsequently joined the staff at Mass. Eye and Ear. “I was extremely pleased to join the staff,” he notes, “because Mass. Eye and Ear provides exceptional collaborative care and has access to world-renowned experts.”

That expertise is crucial when patients have complex health issues affecting vision, such as diabetes. “In these cases,” he notes, “we work closely with other doctors. Typically, we will communicate with the internist or endocrinologist trying to control the patient’s blood glucose levels and report any eye changes we see that might indicate poor control. And if patients develop diabetic retinopathy, we refer them to our retina team for further care.”

Much of Dr. Goodman’s practice at Mass. Eye and Ear’s main Charles Street campus focuses on specialized contact lens fitting.“People with high astigmatism frequently do better with rigid gas permeable lenses because they provide better vision for these patients,” he says. “And rigid gas permeable lenses are the only option to provide functional vision for patients with corneal diseases like keratoconus or for patients with corneal transplants.”

In keratoconus, he notes, the cornea becomes thin and bulges out, and takes on an irregular shape that causes astigmatism. In these cases, soft lenses cannot correct the vision because they drape over the cornea, mirroring the corneal shape. Rigid gas permeable lenses offer better vision because the lens allows tear film to fill in underneath the lens, which helps correct for the irregularity in shape.

Scleral lenses, essentially very large rigid gas permeable lenses, are ideal for patients with extreme cornea irregularity. They vault over the entire cornea and sit on the sclera, the white part of the eye, allowing tear film to essentially bath the eye all day. That makes scleral lenses ideal for patients with very dry eyes, such as those with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which affects the mucous membranes, causing severe dryness.

Hybrid lenses combine aspects of both rigid gas permeable and soft lenses. The center is a rigid lens, providing the superior vision often possible with rigid lenses, surrounded by a soft lens “skirt,” that offers greater comfort than a hard lens.

In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Goodman helps provide contact lens training for the department’s optometry resident and technicians.

Contact Dr. Goodman’s office at 617-573-3185.

View Dr. Goodman’s online bio for more information.

Request an appointment.