St. Joseph's Hospital Administrator Skip Gjolberg, Dr. Thomas Mauger, city and county officials, hospital board members and B-U Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of St. Joseph's Hospital's new ophthalmology clinic Tuesday.

‘Eye Opening’: St. Joseph’s Hospital celebrates new ophthalmology clinic with Chamber ribbon cutting

BUCKHANNON – The new WVU Medicine Ophthalmology Clinic at St. Joseph’s hospital marked its official opening with a Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon.

The new clinic welcomes four cataract surgeons and a medical retinal specialist from WVU Medicine’s Eye Institute.

Dr. Thomas Mauger, chair of the WVU School of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, said establishing a clinic in town is important because these services need to be easily reached.

“I think for the patients there, the transportation issue is not a trivial thing,” Mauger said. “A lot of the medical retinal patients need treatments in their eyes on a monthly basis for macular degeneration and diabetes. If you don’t stay on that scale, they can go blind.”

“It’s very difficult for them to maintain that kind of schedule coming up to Morgantown or wherever they have to go,” Mauger added.

So, what is ophthalmology anyway?

Ophthalmology is the branch of medical science that deals with the anatomy, functioning and diseases of the eye. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors; however, optometrists, who primarily treat vision problems and some eye disorders, are doctors of optometry, not medical doctors.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Administrator Skip Gjolberg said the clinic was a major investment for the hospital – and an important one.

“There’s a real need because besides this location, there’s really nothing heading to the east,” Gjolberg said. “I think there’s one ophthalmologist, so there’s a big need for people. Otherwise, if you’re east of Elkins and east of that, I think you have to go to Virginia, to get an ophthalmologist.”

Mauger said the lack of ophthalmology clinics is a problem for the whole state of West Virginia.

“It’s a problem for the whole state,” he said. “[Current] providers are retiring, and new younger doctors do not want to go into solo practices in small towns, and they go to groups where they’re supported and the complexity of running an operation like this is really much, much higher than it was 20 years ago.”

Dr. Thomas Mauger and St. Joseph’s Hospital Administrator Skip Gjolberg at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting for the hospital’s new ophthalmology clinic.

According to a press release from the hospital, Dr. Allison Bardes, Dr. Lingo Lai, Mauger and Dr. Lee A. Wiley will be performing cataract surgeries, while Dr. Carol Laxson is the medical retinal specialist.

Mauger said they hope to expand the clinic in the future.

“The four of us are going to be doing the cataract surgery, which is the main surgical procedure, and then Dr. Laxson will do the medical retinal, which is diabetes and macular degeneration treatments,” Mauger said. “Over time, we hope to kind of expand things and bring some more sub-specialists down.”

The clinic is located on the first floor of St. Joseph’s Physician Office Center at 94 West Main Street. Patients who wish to see a physician in the clinic must first contact their optometrist for a referral, according to a hospital press release.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print
Share on email


Jess Scott holds her new book, ‘Miss Penelope Thundertoes Changes Her Mind.’ The book is geared for children aged 3 to 8 -- but it’s also for anyone who has a love for pigs.
Member Exclusive

Wesleyan professor pens children’s book, ‘Miss Penelope Thundertoes Changes Her Mind”

BUCKHANNON – Jess Scott, a professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, has penned a children’s book she hopes will keep kids oinking with fun – but really ‘Miss Penelope Thundertoes Changes Her Mind’ is for swine enthusiasts of all ages. […]

Help us reinvent local journalism and unlock unlimited access to every story, every day. Signing up is easy — just tap the button below!

BUHS Sports

Raising the Jolly Roger With… Evan Coffman

TENNERTON — In continuing to bring you the best sports coverage in Upshur County, the My Buckhannon sports department is pleased to bring you another edition of our weekly exclusive — Raising the Jolly Roger

WVWC Sports

Wesleyan announces 2022 baseball schedule

BUCKHANNON, W.Va.– West Virginia Wesleyan baseball and head coach Lee Bradley released their 2022 schedule this weekend. The ‘Cats are scheduled for 14 home contests at Hank Ellis Field during the 2022 campaign. The Bobcats kick their season off

WVWC Sports

Tolbert scores 19 but Lady ‘Cats fall to D&E, 67-57

ELKINS, W.Va. – The West Virginia Wesleyan (2-10, 1-9) women’s basketball team fell at Davis & Elkins (4-11, 1-9) on Saturday afternoon by a 67-57 score at the McDonnell Center in Elkins, W.Va.. WVWC LeadersCierra Tolbert netted 19

WVWC Sports

‘Cats fall by 11 on the road to Davis & Elkins

ELKINS, W.Va.– The West Virginia Wesleyan (2-16, 1-11) men’s basketball team fell to Davis & Elkins (6-9, 4-7) inside the McDonnell Center on Saturday. Braeden McGrew led the Bobcats with 17 points, but the Senators pulled away in


Cable Broadband

$17 million in broadband funding awarded

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice today announced the preliminary approval of over $17.4 million in Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) program funds for

Thank you for reading this story. Our sponsors make My Buckhannon possible. Show 'em some love!