RetinaLink is pleased to feature Dr. Harry W. Flynn, Jr. in this month’s RetinaLink Profile. Dr. Flynn has made many contributions to Retina over the years. He’s trained numerous Vitreo-retinal Fellows Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida and served in leadership positions for the American Society of Retina Specialists and Retina Society. Dr. Flynn together with an expert group of his colleagues, published, “Guidelines for Intravitreal Injections.” For decades he has published annually an outline for treatment of endophthalmitis. This has recently been updated and will be available on the Ophthalmic Edge website, http://www.OphthalmicEdge.org
In this profile, Dr. Flynn gives us all some “food for thought” and shares his sage wisdom. Thank you, Dr. Flynn, for educating all of us.
What year did you start practicing Retina?
Dr. Flynn: I finished my retinal fellowship in 1976. I, then, completed a 2-year obligation in the United States Army assigned to the Teaching Hospital at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. I enjoyed the teaching and interaction with Residents from the Military as well as at the University of Texas, Health Science Center. When an opportunity arose to come on the faculty at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, I was happy to join the University of Miami faculty in 1978.
How many Ophthalmologists practice at Bascom Palmer?
Dr. Flynn: There are a total of 70 faculty, including 50 clinicians and 20 research faculty. Within the clinical faculty we have approximately 13 Retina specialists, including both surgical and medical retina faculty, at the Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital and 3 satellite units.
What has surprised you most in your career?
Dr. Flynn: The explosion of intravitreal injections for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and venous occlusive disease has markedly changed the practice of Retina. Also, small gauge vitrectomy and faster surgery have been welcome advances. As we move forward, I expect improving pharmacotherapies to continue to allow us to preserve and improve patients’ vision.
What’s your advice to Fellows who finished their Fellowship in June?
Dr. Flynn: My advice would be to work hard, stay focused and do what they really enjoy. If teaching is what they really enjoy, an academic career can be really fulfilling.
What’s your sage advice to Fellows who started in July?
Dr. Flynn: Be the first one in and the last one to leave and work hard all day. Be flexible in your routine in order to adjust to the many challenges that occur every day. When asked to see a patient or give a second opinion, never say no.
What has surprised you most during your career?
Dr. Flynn: The development of HMOs, the Affordable Care-Act, and increasing bureaucracy in control over medical decision making have been frustrating changes during my career.
The good parts of my career are life-long friends and colleagues as well as the ability to help patients everyday.
What advice would you offer to industry? How can they serve the retina community better?
Dr. Flynn: It is important for ophthalmologists to get to know representatives from industry so that there is more direct interpersonal communication. In decades past, opportunities for social events with industry allowed long term improved relationships. With the current restrictions, these relationships are more difficult. Honesty and sincerity are key in relationships between physicians and the industry.
Where do you go when it is time for a vacation and to “get away” from Miami?
Dr. Flynn: These answers have changed over the years. Since my grandchildren are currently in North Carolina, I have been making more trips to North Carolina in recent years. In fact, we purchased a home in the Western North Carolina mountains near Boone. This provides an excellent “get away” during the summer to enjoy a cool climate with hiking trips and tennis in the mountains. In the past, I often linked vacations with meetings both in Europe and around the United States. I have reduced these meeting-linked vacations and increased the “pure vacations.”
Dr. Flynn can be reached at email@example.com