Steven Vold bringing the industry’s best practices to Northwest Arkansas
By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
Ophthalmologist Steven Vold is bringing the industry’s most innovative services to Northwest Arkansas. A world renowned destination for complex glaucoma and cataract surgeries, Vold Vision has provided clearer vision to patients visiting from all 50 states and more than 20 countries.
A native of rural South Dakota, Vold was introduced to the world of medicine in junior high while working as a nursing home orderly. “As a minister, my dad knew a lot of doctors and introduced me to an ophthalmologist,” he said. “I liked how it was a technological field that transformed people's lives. It was a perfect fit for me.” After graduating from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Vold attended the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, graduating as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, a group that recognizes the top ten percent of medical students in the nation. He then completed an ophthalmology residency and a glaucoma fellowship at the Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, where he also earned a Physician CEO™ MBA.
The road to Arkansas
Vold went on to serve as vice chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas, before trading the academic setting for private practice. His search landed the young ophthalmologist at Rogers’ BoozmanHof Eye Clinic, where he served as CEO from 2008 to 2011. “It was a fantastic experience, and I learned about how to run a private practice and was able to cast my own vision for how I wanted to impact Northwest Arkansas,” he said.
In 2011 he launched Vold Vision, a state-of-the-art medical facility that has been named one of the few Zeiss Centers of Excellence in the country. Staffed by ophthalmologists Vold, Dwight H. Capps, pediatric ophthalmologist Sharon Napier, and optometrists Michael McFarland, Emma Holden, Annie Avalez and Kim Santillen, Vold Vision includes a 24,000 square-foot office in Fayetteville that has become a training destination for physicians worldwide and offers 15 to 20 FDA-approved clinical trials annually. Their Bentonville office will expand in size by spring 2023. Vold Vision is consistently among the first practices in the nation to offer new ophthalmology technology and procedures in glaucoma, cornea, cataract and refractive surgery arenas, and prides itself on providing an outstanding patient experience. Vold has been the first U.S. surgeon to perform many of the new minimally invasive glaucoma procedures now available to glaucoma patients, and is known as an innovator in glaucoma, cataract and corneal refractive surgery. Vold also previously served as the Chief Medical Editor of Glaucoma Today, the leading national publication for physicians, and co-founded the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery. He has several medical patents on devices currently being commonly utilized in surgery internationally.
Sharing his vision
In speaking to the greater medical community, Vold stresses the importance of reminding patients to schedule their regular eye exams. “Eyes are a window into a person’s health, because we look directly at the blood vessels,” explained Vold, whose exams have led to diagnoses including diabetes, leukemia and even liver cancers. “It’s a really important part of the systemic health of patients.” Vold also tells providers that eye conditions like macular degeneration, floaters and diabetic retinopathy can be treated with much more advanced care than in the traditional past.
Steven Vold, MD
Microstents and glaucoma
As one of the world’s leaders in minimally invasive glaucoma surgery and a lead investigator in the treatment of glaucoma, Vold is changing the stigma around a diagnosis that once meant a lifetime of medication, eye drops and poor vision. “In years past, the goal of glaucoma surgery was to keep patients from going blind, but we really want them to have better vision,” he said. Vold now offers what he calls the 20/20 experience using minimally invasive microstents that allow glaucoma patients to get back on their feet almost overnight. Vold credits the technology for revolutionizing ocular health over the past few years. Operating in 3D glasses on a big screen, surgeons can measure and look at the histology of the eye in the middle of surgery. “New technology is changing how surgery is done,” he said. “Surgeries that took hours in the past now only take a few minutes to complete. It’s pretty unbelievable.”
Vold also was the first in the state to offer Evo Visian ICL Lens for patients who’ve not been a good candidate for refractive surgery in the past. “Evo lenses are for those who are moderately to severely nearsighted and whose corneas are often thin,” he explained. “With Evo you put a little reversible lens in and can get the most nearsighted patients out of glasses.”
More options for patients
In 2016, Vold became the first eye surgeon in Arkansas to offer SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) advanced laser treatment for astigmatism and nearsightedness. “It’s a mind-boggling procedure that only requires a two to three millimeter incision without a corneal flap, no down time and is extremely safe,” he explained. Vold Vision also offers laser retina surgery, corneal transplantation, oculoplastic surgery and pediatric surgical procedures in addition to the most advanced surgical technology in glaucoma, cataract/lens and refractive surgery available. Clear lens exchange is performed in less than 10 minutes per eye and often gets patients in their 40s and 50s out of glasses for good. “It’s been a complete game changer for patients,” Vold said.
A healthcare destination
Vold’s commitment to innovation places the Arkansas practice among the nation’s most elite, often drawing patients from prestigious academic medical centers. “Patients are willing to drive here from across the U.S. to obtain surgical procedures not available at even the most prestigious academic institutions,” said Vold, an international speaker who has performed surgeries in more than 20 countries. “Patients and tech companies also prefer a smaller practice, where you don’t have to jump through so many hoops to participate in FDA-approved clinical trials. We are often more cost effective for patients as well.” And while Vold’s commitment to innovation draws patients worldwide, his dedication to the local community has made the ophthalmologist a household name. Vold Vision has served as the official eye care provider of the Arkansas Razorbacks as well as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the region’s Minor League Baseball club, for a decade. “Taking care of all these athletes and coaches is an incredible privilege,” he said. “It’s been an unreal ride.”
Vold also believes in giving back to the community his family calls home. The Vold Vision Foundation helps fund eye care services for those who might otherwise go without. The father of six also founded special needs non-profit Sarah’s Song in honor of his daughter with Down Syndrome and is developing a 35-acre retreat center in Yellville, Arkansas for team building, seminars and family workshops. “I’ve had a charmed life and it’s been really fun, but giving back is another way to care for other people and have an impact,” he said. “I want to really make a difference in people’s lives.”
On the web: https://voldvision.com