THROUGH YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGY, THESE DOCTORS PROVIDE THEIR PATIENTS WITH THE GOLD STANDARD IN EYE CARE
BY JON DOMENICK • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
Whether he’s treating patients in the gleaming environs at one of his three New Jersey office locations or in clinics in Central America, Ralph G. Del Negro, D.O., approaches each individual as “more than just a pair of eyes.” That custom approach to care is shared by his partner, Carl J. Senft, M.D., and by the rest of the practice staff. “We know how precious eyesight is, and our entire team is dedicated to helping patients see their best,” said Del Negro, president and managing partner of Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates. “Everyone realizes that every patient deserves to be treated with empathy and respect. ”
State of the art technology is an important component of both routine and specialized care here techniques like computerized refraction systems, visual field analyzers, slit lamp photos, and Spectra list (a diagnostic imaging platform), as well as such procedures like laser cataract surgery with presbyopia correcting intraocular lenses and Advanced Technology intraocular lens implants. Evolving technology, the doctors said, also means surgeries that once required hospitalization can now be handled safely and conveniently, and with greater comfort, in a surgery center.
Del Negro, who began the practice in 1992, developed an instant interest in ophthalmology upon being introduced to it in medical school. He received his degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine, then completed a residency in ophthalmology at Ohio University, followed by fellowship training in glaucoma at the University of Louisville.
Del Negro also takes his practice on the road, quite literally, in the form of journeys to underdeveloped countries in Central America which have limited or no access to healthcare as a member of the Volunteer Health Program, a nonprofit organization that provides surgeries to people who live in underserved rural areas.
“It was important to my wife, Robyn, also a physician, and myself to give back,” he said. “We are only there for a week each year, but it’s been a privilege to participate in this amazing program with our four children. Everything is set up by the organization, and everyone helps each other. It’s humbling to see how little some people in other parts of the world have. The lack of healthcare is astounding people waiting to have cataracts removed or living with untreated glaucoma or other treatable eye diseases that can cause blindness.”
A native of Essex County, Del Negro discovered the shore with his family during summers spent in Long Branch. His parents moved to Monmouth County while he was in medical school. He moved there in 1992 (“I followed my mother,” he said with a smile) prior to opening his practice.
“I think New Jersey is underrated, especially in Monmouth County, where we have the ability to be near the ocean and still get to the city,” said Del Negro. “I find the people friendly and really can’t think of other places that have the quality of life we have here.”
A mutual friend and mentor introduced Senft to Del Negro 17 years ago. Senft, who’s a cornea specialist, spends four days a week in the office, with one day reserved for surgical procedures. After graduating from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, he was accepted to the Louisiana State University Eye Center as a cornea fellow under Dr. Herbert Kaufmann, a pioneer in the field. His studies there convinced him that a career in ophthalmology was a good fit. He now specializes in laser cataract surgery, corneal surgery, external eye diseases, and refractive surgery. Many of his patients are at or approaching their golden years
“I love this field,” he enthused.
“When I was in medical school, it was uncommon to operate on patients over age 90. Now I have 95 year old patients who drive cars. Ophthalmology is vibrant it’s fun to be part of a field where advancements are happening all the time.” And there are benefits beyond improved vision, he said, pointing out that older patients who receive cataract surgery have been shown to have fewer car accidents and an overall improved quality of life.
Senft hails from Morris County, and when he was young, his family spent summers in Lavallette. He and his wife have two young children, and the family enjoys skiing and beach activities (Senft is a surfer). “I love the geography of Monmouth County,” he said. “There’s such an interesting, heterogeneous group of people here.”
In addition to Del Negro and Senft, the team includes Dr. Marina Glatman, M.D., a board certified eye physician and surgeon with a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal and macular disease. Three optometrists, Tina V. Shah, Lisa Martin Wiedeman, and Patricia E. Carniglia, perform comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, and manage ocular diseases. They also provide emergency eye care and co manage surgical patients.
The doctors agree that being able to perform “sight restoring procedures” knowing they’re supported by both the latest technology and a crack staff is a great feeling, and they stay current with the latest developments by keeping up with professional literature and by attending national meetings. They also lecture through Hackensack Meridian Health at local senior centers and adult communities, educating consumers about symptoms, early detection, and treatment options for various eye diseases.
“We have the unique privilege to be able to change people’s lives with the surgeries we do,” Del Negro said. “Our patients are very grateful, which makes it more than rewarding.”
Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates
100 Drum Point Road, Brick / 732.920.0099
1809 Corlies Avenue, Neptune / 732.774.5566152
Broad Street, Red Bank / 732.747.7725 / dseye.com