Duo Shares a Passion for Excellence in Patient Care
Photography by Wes Battoclette
The talented team of doctors at Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) has grown by two with the addition of Fred B. Chu, MD, and Kavitha R. Sivaraman, MD, who joined the practice in September 2015. They are a married couple whose mutual passion for ophthalmology brought them together as first-year medical students at Washington University in Saint Louis. “Fred loves to tell people it was ‘love at first sight,’ which is usually met with a mixture of groans and laughter,” says Dr. Sivaraman.
Dr. Chu’s interest in the specialty began in childhood – his father is also an ophthalmologist. “When I was in grade school, he would bring me along to see patients with him on the hospital wards and in clinic, sometimes out of necessity if the babysitter was unavailable. As I went through my rotations in medical school, ophthalmology always resonated with me the most. It has the perfect mixture of surgical and medical care in addition to constant patient interactions, which I enjoy.”
Dr. Sivaraman says that the intricate and elegant surgical procedures attracted her to the profession. “There is no better feeling than knowing you helped restore someone’s sight. Beyond that, the anatomy and physiology of the eye is fascinating – the more we learn about it, the more we realize we have yet to understand.”
Both doctors completed their fellowships at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Sivaraman specializes in both comprehensive ophthalmology and medical and surgical diseases of the cornea. Dr. Chu performs cataract surgery as well as a variety of surgical and laser procedures for the treatment of glaucoma.
The couple is thrilled to be back in the Midwest where most of their training was completed. “We’ve quickly realized that Cincinnati has a lot to offer – great sports teams, breathtaking natural beauty, wonderful restaurants and most importantly, very nice, warm-hearted people,” says Dr. Sivaraman. “Cincinnati has quickly come to feel like home for us.”
Combining the role of co-workers and spouses can be challenging, but this doctor duo proves that sharing a specialty can bring a couple closer together and benefit their professional lives as well.
“We do have to be careful not to bring work home with us too often, but Fred is my greatest advocate and we push each other to do our best,” says Dr. Sivaraman.
“I feel so fortunate to have a partner who completely understands the stresses and struggles that all physicians face,” says Dr. Chu. “Kavitha sets an example for me to keep striving to improve myself every day.”
Mentorship has played an important role in Dr. Chu’s professional career, and he now pays it forward by mentoring the next generation of ophthalmologists in residency at the University of Cincinnati. “Teaching trainees is a great way to learn by constantly looking at complex problems from different perspectives,” says Dr. Chu. “It also helps keep me up to date on the latest techniques and technologies.”
Dr. Sivaraman will join the surgical teaching staff at UC next year. “During my training, I remember how critical a calm, patient and dedicated mentor was to my learning and confidence as a young surgeon,” she says. “I hope to fill that role for the next generation as so many of my mentors have done for me.”
Cincinnati Eye Institute is one of the largest private ophthalmology practices in the country, with multiple campuses throughout the Tri-State. Dr. Chu and Dr. Sivaraman see patients at the Blue Ash, Hyde Park and Edgewood campuses.
Dr. Sivaraman explains that her ultimate goal is to ensure her patients receive excellent care and fully understand their specific eye problems and subsequent options for management.
“This approach truly returns the power back to the patient,” she says. “I want patients to view our doctor-patient relationship as a partnership with the goal of achieving or maintaining optimum eye health.”
Cincinnati Eye Institute’s main campus is located at 1945 CEI Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can reach them at 513.984.5133 or visit their website at www.cincinnatieye.com.