Basil Williams

For over 70 years, Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) has been a leader in ophthalmology in Cincinnati, serving the community with first-class eye care. They treat more conditions, both complex and routine, than any other facility or hospital in the region. They also have an Urgent Eye Clinic for emergency care. Their internationally recognized team of doctors are leaders in vision research, investing heavily in the latest technology. Their goal is to pave the way for progress in tomorrow’s eye care and bring it to their patients today.

Recently, we sat down with CEI’s Dr. Basil Williams to learn more about how he is making an impact in the lives of his patients through his work in ophthalmology. 

Venue: Tell us more about why you decided to pursue a career in ophthalmology, particularly with a focus on retina and ocularoncology.

Dr. Williams: As an ophthalmic technician many years before starting medical school, I had the opportunity to work with a retina/tumor specialist. There was a single interaction that changed my career path. One day an 18-year-old woman was found to have a large melanoma that required eye removal to eliminate the cancer. I remember how worried this woman and her family were as I prepared them to see the ophthalmologist, and I carried this concern home with me that day. Yet, in the weeks and months to come, both the patient and her family were always extremely grateful to come back and see the eye doctor. They always raved about how much the doctor had touched their lives by showing genuine compassion and helping them through the toughest experience of their lives. I then realized the kind of impact a doctor could have by practicing good medicine, but more importantly, by being a good person. I knew I wanted to be able to do that for people, so I went to medical school with the focus of practicing retina and ocular oncology to have a similar sort of impact.

Venue:Which aspect of your role do you find most rewarding? 

Dr. Williams:Vision-threatening retina conditions and sometimes life-threatening cancer-related conditions bring patients to my clinic regularly. Many are concerned about their independence or future ability to provide for their family. Some are even more worried that the cancer they have recently found out about might jeopardize their life. While I am grateful to be an ophthalmologist at a time where we have many treatments capable of recovering vision and treating cancer, I am most proud to be a part of the process that helps to ease patients’ anxiety. Working through concerns for both the patient and many times the entire family, it is rewarding to provide a blueprint for the path ahead. The conversation about how the chosen treatment works and the interaction at each following visit seems to be as important as the treatment itself in many ways. Feeling how that interaction makes a difference is an invaluable part of taking care of patients.

Venue:What characteristics of Cincinnati Eye Institute lead to higher quality  patient care? 

Dr. Williams: While Cincinnati Eye Institute is on the cutting edge of technology, providing quality care to patients, the most unique thing I see is the type of people who work here. I have been impressed so many times with the collegiality amongst the doctors and the entire staff. It is truly a pleasant place to work because I am surrounded by people who enjoy doing what they do. This creates an enjoyable atmosphere that translates to better patient care. In fact, many patients have told me they feel comforted by seeing how well everyone gets along. Having a happy work environment makes it so much easier to provide quality care in a way the patients can feel.

Venue:Would you care to highlight any advanced procedures or services CEI is involved in? 

Dr. Williams: At Cincinnati Eye Institute, we are participating in a number of clinical trials that will hopefully change the way many retinal conditions are treated in the future. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this work as it gets translated from the studies into everyday use to improve vision and the quality of people’s lives. 

Cincinnati Eye Institute, a partner of CVP Physicians, is located at 1945 CEI Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45242. For more information, visit