Whether it concerns the application of the latest medical therapies or anticipating the outcome of surgical procedures, many physicians have to wait weeks or even months to see the results of their treatment plans. Dr. Albert González at Eye Associates of South Georgia gets to see the impact of his work almost immediately, and it’s his favorite part of the job.
“I love eye surgery and the morning after follow-ups when my patients are so dramatically improved and often elated,” Dr. González said. “It is humbling.”
Dr. González is a board certified ophthalmologist, a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, managing, and operating on disorders and diseases of the eyes. He provides comprehensive eye care for both children and adults in addition to performing a wide variety of surgical procedures, the most common of which are cataract surgeries, laser vision correction, and corneal transplants.
Dr. González is from Havana, Cuba, and was raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He was recruited by Dr. Ben Moye to take over the practice in Valdosta.
“Eye Associates has an optical shop, an ASC (ambulatory surgery center), and a LASIK presence,” Dr. González said. “Eye Associates checked off a lot of boxes for me.”
Dr. González’s love of science began when his father, a psychiatrist, bought him a microscope when he was 8 years old.
“I grew up in a medical family,” Dr. González said. “My dad was a psychiatrist. My mother was a nurse. My parents’ friends were doctors. I grew up in the medical culture. As a teenager I sometimes accompanied my dad to work while he went on rounds and would interact with his patients.”
Dr. González earned his premed and medical degrees at the University of South Carolina via a scholarship from the U.S. Navy. He completed his residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland and his fellowship in corneal diseases at the University of Missouri. He said his decision to specialize in ophthalmology came during his third year of medical school when he spent a month at Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
“I realized that I was having fun and patients quickly improved,” he said. “Ophthalmology is impactful in patients’ lives.”
Dr. González got to experience that impact firsthand when he operated on a man with a mental disability who had advanced cataracts.
“He was also deaf and nonverbal,” Dr. González said. “As soon as I walked in the following morning (after surgery), he leapt out of his chair smiling from ear to ear, making eye contact, and nonverbally letting me know that he could see me. I had goose bumps. This man came alive.”
For doctors, interacting with patients is a crucial aspect of the healing process. When doctors get to know a patient, they are better able to prevent and treat that patient’s illness, disease, or injury. When patients feel comfortable with their doctors, they feel more comfortable talking about their ailments and are more likely to follow their doctors’ advice. Dr. González’s personal medical philosophy revolves around those important interactions.
“I try to treat my patients like I would like for a member of my family to be treated – with kindness and compassion,” he said.
Written by: Anna Limoges
Photography by: Eric Vinson