By Aaishah Raquib
Scheie Vision Summer 2015
Dr. William Trattler exemplifies many of the qualities taught and valued at the Scheie Eye Institute. He strives to not only enhance the lives of his patients, but also his colleagues and all those surrounding him. A graduate of the Scheie residency class of 1996, Dr. Trattler went on to specialize in refractive, corneal, and cataract eye surgery at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School. Today, he is Director of Cornea at the Center for Excellence in Eye Care and serves on the volunteer faculty for both the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Florida International University College of Medicine.
Dr. Trattler has fond memories of his time at Scheie. He remembers with great detail his first cataract surgery with Dr. Nicholas Volpe, which confirmed his desire to become an anterior segment surgeon.
“I remember at the end of the case, which thankfully went smoothly, that it was a euphoric feeling. And post-op, the patient was so happy,” he said.
Dr. Trattler also recalls seeing a disappointed patient at the Veterans Hospital in 1994 with bilateral macular holes. The patient was told that nothing could be done to save her vision. However, Dr. Trattler had recently attended a lecture for the residents on a new procedure to fix macular holes.
“When I saw the patient, I shared that there might now be a therapy,” he explained. “As a senior, I happened to see her when she returned, and she was so happy and considered me such a hero for taking the time to just refer her into the retina clinic. Her surgery was successful, and she could drive again.”
Today, Dr. Trattler is a member of the Center for Excellence in Eye Care in Miami, Florida, a multi-specialty ophthalmology practice composed of fourteen ophthalmologists and two optometrists. He focuses on cataract and refractive cataract procedures, crosslinking, and LASIK/surface ablation, as well as facilitating clinical trials.
“Our center has been involved in many clinical trials, including FDA studies for crosslinking and various intraocular lenses, as well as Phase three and Phase four pharmaceutical studies,” said Dr. Trattler. “Currently, our main study is an Epithelial-On Crosslinking study for patients with keratoconus and post-LASIK ectasia.”
Dr. Trattler loves working alongside faculty and students. Frank Spektor, MD, another Scheie graduate, also works in the same practice. Dr. Trattler occasionally lectures at Bascom Palmer and has medical students and ophthalmology residents shadow him, providing them with access to innovative technologies and treatments.
“We have technologies for cataract surgery that include the Lensar laser, as well as TrueVision 3D, which allows me to use 3D glasses and look at a 4K monitor when performing procedures in the OR, rather than look through a microscope,” he explained. “The technology is amazing for teaching, as everyone in the OR watching has an identical 3D view of the procedure.”
Along with introducing new techniques and tools to his students, Dr. Trattler also co-authored numerous articles and abstracts. One book in particular is especially beneficial to many medical, nursing, and veterinary students, titled Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple. A second book which he co-authored, called Review of Ophthalmology, is often used by ophthalmology residents to study for the OKAPS and the boards.
As a successful educator, clinician, and surgeon, Dr. Trattler highly values teamwork and collaboration.
“One of my strengths is my ability to work well with my colleagues, and not be competitive,” he said. “Rather, my hope is to help my colleagues be successful.”
Dr. Trattler’s desire to help others was developed early and shared amongst his family. His father, Dr. Henry Trattler, is also an ophthalmologist and a founding member of the practice. The positive impact his father had on others’ lives inspired Dr. Trattler to contribute in the same way to society.
“There were several occasions in junior high and high school where classmates of mine came up to let me know that my father had performed surgery on their parents and grandparents, and the surgery really made a difference in their family member’s life,” he recalled.
Dr. Trattler attributes a large part of his career achievements to his continued attendance of meetings and conferences.
“I feel I learn so much at each meeting on how to better care for patients, and I love interacting with ophthalmologists from the US and around the world,” he said. “With the availability of so many exciting technologies, it can be challenging to decide which tools to incorporate into our practice, as well as how to further optimize the care of various conditions. New technologies are also presented at these conferences, so a sense of what will become available in the near term and down the road is helpful.”
Dr. Trattler has three amazing children, and hopes that his passion for ophthalmology and service is passed down to at least one of his children.