It’s an exciting time in the world of vision care, says Dr. Robert E. Foster, chairman of the board of Cincinnati Eye Institute and a vitreoretinal surgeon.

Doctors today are using high-tech tools, techniques and medication to treat diseases of the eye, such as macular degeneration, that were untreatable 10 years ago, says Foster. “While we can’t cure them we can certainly stabilize them so people don’t continue to lose vision in most cases,” he says.

Foster expects that advancements in technology and treatments will continue so that in another decade those types of debilitating eye diseases will not only be treated but cured.

“I never would have imagined in 1993, let alone 2003, that we’d be able to do the things that we’re doing now,” says Foster. “It’s really interesting to think what it might be like in 10 to 15 years,” he says. “Things that we can’t treat now that might become treatable and I think that will be huge for population health.”

What else is becoming huge for the second largest private practice in the United States is the importance of managing the business aspects of the company, says Foster.

He says changes in health care due to the Affordable Care Act and the reliance on electronic medical records mean that a robust administrative staff is vitally important for any medical group.

“Administrative talent is a critical importance to keep us abreast of all the changes that are occurring and to help us stay competitive,” says Foster. “Without it our doctors are so busy taking care of patients that they don’t have the skill, the training or the expertise to run the company.”

That focus on administrative talent has also created a new spinoff company, Northmark Medical Partners. Formed two years ago with two other groups in Dayton, Foster says the company provides essential business services such as information technology, electronic medical records and human resources to other ophthalmology groups.

Another strategy that Cincinnati Eye Institute is pursuing is consolidating some of its smaller 17 office locations into bigger regional offices, Foster says. Fewer, but larger offices, will be able to provide more comprehensive services, he says.

Cincinnati Eye Institute also continues to recruit and retain world-class doctors to its facilities, Foster says. Last year the company with 44 doctors and nearly 500 employees added two new specialists and are actively recruiting others, he says. Adding doctors with specialties and subspecialties is important to meet the eye care demand of the baby boomer generation and other health-care trends such as the increasing number of diabetics, says Foster. “We’re doing all that we can to keep up with that demand.”

The most important factor to keep up with, however, is maintaining a positive doctor and patient relationship, says Foster. “It’s critically important that we do all that we can to be soft touch,” he says.

“It’s not good enough to be the best at what we do, we also have to be the best at how we do it,” says Foster. “And we continue to try to make ourselves better in that regard with each and every person that we take care of.”