Yara Catoira-Boyle, Owner of Visionary Eye Specialists, immigrated to the United States from Brazil, South America, for a residency in ophthalmology at Indiana University (IU). Following her residency, she pursued a glaucoma fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She was in surgery on September 11, 2001, at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, when news broke about the terrorist attacks.
“My mother had been visiting and had left two days before,” Catoira-Boyle says. “We had dinner on top of the towers Sunday night.”She started at the IU Department of Ophthalmology as an assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology, and also worked part time at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as the only glaucoma specialist.
“Over the last 17 years, six residents per year have graduated from our residency program,” says Catoira-Boyle, who was promoted to associate professor at IU in 2012. “Every single one learned cataract and glaucoma surgery at the VA hospital with me sitting next to them holding their hand, and making sure patients do well.”
She found working with veterans so fulfilling that in 2016 she applied to become the chief of ophthalmology at the VA, because she hoped to make a greater impact.
“I thought that instead of helping one person, two eyes at a time, I’d have the chance to affect the life of many people at a time, improving ophthalmology services,” she says.
Catoira-Boyle worked hard to increase eye surgery numbers to more than 110 cases per month. In the process, she attempted to improve clinic flow and implement private-practice standards. She eventually found that she was not as happy working as a desk employee, and missed hands-on interaction with patients. She still currently dedicates part-time to teaching cataract and glaucoma surgery and caring for the Veterans’ eyes.
“I love being in the room with the patient,” she says. “I love helping to educate patients about their eyes so they can make informed decisions about their care. My patients know that I care for them as a whole person. I’m a people person, and as an ophthalmologist you’re really a primary care doctor, as your patients stay with you through the years.”
Catoira-Boyle says time and again, patients have told her how much they appreciate her personal style of care.Catoira-Boyle encourages those 50 and over to get an eye exam since serious eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration present as we age. Diabetics should get an annual eye exam.
“The reality is that a lot of other problems can occur with those patients that may only be caught by an MD. Glaucoma is a blinding, asymptomatic disease like diabetes. It eats your vision up, and you don’t know unless you get your eyes checked.”
When Catoira-Boyle learned that Drs. Anne and Greg Clark, ophthalmologists who had been in practice on the north side of Indianapolis for nearly 20 years, were interested in selling the practice, she made an offer and renamed the business Visionary Eye Specialists. Eager to provide comprehensive eye care, including prescriptions for glasses and contacts, she is also a skilled cataract and glaucoma surgeon who performs both sutureless, outpatient cataract surgery with topical anesthesia (numbing with eye drops only and sedation), as well as minimally invasive glaucoma surgery that involves microscopic equipment and tiny incisions.
“We can combine cataract surgery with minimally invasive glaucoma surgery in very little time and with very little risk,” says Catoira-Boyle, noting that if a patient is using eye drops to lower pressure and they need cataract surgery, she can put a stent in the eye and chances are the patient won’t need to use eye drops for a while. “In my 17 years as a glaucoma specialist, I’ve been an early adopter of safer procedures such as the Ex-press shunt as well as the minimally invasive procedures. They allow us to do earlier and safer glaucoma surgery, and minimize the dependence on eye drops for the rest of a patient’s life.”
Catoira-Boyle and her husband AJ Boyle have two children, Gabryela, 11, and Arthur Joseph, 13. In her free time, she enjoys golfing, traveling, watching her children play sports, and attending the Indy 500.
“I fell in love with the Meridian-Kessler area a long time ago and am proud to call Broad Ripple home,” Catoira-Boyle says. “It is truly a hidden gem.”
Visionary Eye Specialists is located at 9002 N. Meridian St., Suite 112 in Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-843-9005 or visit them online at Visionaryeyespecialists.com.