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The greatest joy we have is when a patient is satisfied with their entire experience at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates. We’re happy to begin sharing patient testimonials from current patients, so you can see the real difference that is being made in the lives of people in our community through our caring staff and doctors. We’re excited to share James Gallo’s experience with you.

James Gallo has been a patient of Dr. McHale’s for a number of years. He has glaucoma and had been treating it with medication. He also had macular degeneration that was being treated with injections from another physician. James had a number of surgeries to help his macular degeneration and about a year ago, because of those surgeries, his cataract advanced. It advanced so quick and became very think that almost overnight he noticed a difference in his vision. “Before I went blind in my right eye, I could see there was a dullness. It was like looking through a fish tank with really dirty water in it,” said James. Until this point, James was able to go about his daily life, drive to work, help around the house, and spend time with his family. But the sudden decline of his cataract changed everything. His wife Mary adds, “Exactly one year ago…he was in the kitchen saying ‘I can’t see, I can’t see’. It was scary.” James went blind in his right eye and from that point on, their lives weren’t the same.

“For a year, we tried to adjust to his vision. With only one good eye, everything in our lives was affected,” said Mary. “His self-esteem was down because he lost his independence. He would get tired just trying to watch tv and he couldn’t drive anymore. As time went on, it caused a strain for both of us.”

And that’s when James discussed his vision with Dr. McHale and the decision was made that it was time for cataract surgery.

“I read that cataract surgery is the most successful surgery there is and I wasn’t really nervous. It wasn’t intimidating and I knew I was in good hands,” said James. Though his doctors prepared him to not expect much, what he received was truly a miracle.

Almost exactly one year from when his cataract made his eye blind, James Gallo had his cataract surgery. That was one month ago and today he had a follow-up appointment with Dr. McHale.

Today, James has near perfect vision. And in his right eye, his vision is better than before his cataract. “I was surprised at how quick the procedure was. And the recovery time was quick, too. I was back to living my normal life in no time,” James commented. Jame’s wife, Mary, trusted had faith in the work of the doctors. She commented, “It’s amazing the difference his cataract surgery made. In just one year’s time, he went from going blind in one eye and losing his independence to regaining his sight and his self-esteem, and helping around the house again!” James and Mary are beaming as they discuss the trials of the past year and the great victory of James regaining his vision. “One of our favorite things to do on the weekend is to go to the movies and for a whole year we couldn’t go,” said Mary. “But last week, we finally went to the movies. For the first time in a whole year. We were so excited. I took a photo of him in the driver seat and sent it to our kids with a text that said ‘Can I get a hallelujah? Can I get an amen? We’re going to the movies!” James is grateful for the work of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates for saving his vision and giving him his life back. We’re all happy for him and his wife and grateful that they trusted our doctors and staff with something so important.

Dr. McHale and James Gallo

Dr. McHale and James Gallo

Thank you, James and Mary!


Last month we shared with you The Beginning: Part I. It was the story of how Dr. Richard Orlando decided to specialize in Ophthalmology. If you didn’t read that one, you can catch up here. The long-awaited Part II is finally here – How Columbus Ophthalmology Associates came to be. Enjoy Dr. Orlando’s story of how Columbus Ophthalmology Associates got started!

Dr. Bob Murphy ( far right), head team physician at OSU for over 30 years. This is from 1978 and we are checking an assistant coaches ankle.

Dr. Bob Murphy ( far right), head team physician at OSU for over 30 years. This is from 1978 and we are checking an assistant coaches ankle.

“The first time I ever visited Dublin, Ohio was when I was in medical school back in the winter of 1977. After years of playing basketball, I wanted to continue to stay in the game and began to referee middle school and high school games. One of my first assignments was a game in Dublin at the 1909 Building on Bridge Street. I recall driving there from campus and thinking “wow, this is way out in the country” and as I crossed the bridge past the Historic area and pulled into the parking lot, it reminded me of Mayberry. Two lane roads, no street lights, one traffic signal and a school that had a basketball court that doubled as the stage!!! I recall making sure I would not fall off into the audience and prayed no one would get hurt doing the same. That spring one of my classmates told me they were looking for weekend caddies at Muirfield Village Golf Club so again I made the long drive up Riverside Drive, across that same bridge and up a two lane road to the course. There were some new houses being built along the fairways there but for the most part there was not much around. Someone told me the zoo was nearby but all I wanted to do was meet Jack Nicklaus, my golf hero. I caddied there off and on the rest of medical school and did get to see Jack every now and then when he was in town to fix something on the course and prepare for the Memorial Tournament. My hope was that someday I would get to play there. I never imagined that within five years I would establish a medical practice there, build a home and become a member at Muirfield Village and be part of the medical staff for the tournament!!

The Original Dublin, OH building

The Original Dublin, OH building

The road to Dublin was paved by a chance meeting the very first weekend I was on call as an intern at Riverside Methodist Hospital. It was July 4th weekend and a time with minimal hospital staffing. Since I was just out of medical school, I was pretty green at managing critically ill patients. Around 10 pm that night I got a call from the Emergency Department to come and admit a patient in acute kidney failure. After doing all the appropriate blood tests and starting IV’s, I was called to the phone to talk to the patients primary care physician, Dr. Ken Carpenter. We had never met but he explained the situation and that this patient was a farmer that had been a long time patient of his from Dublin. He wanted me to do some special tests and get the patient into the ICU where he would meet me around midnight. I thought, ‘what doctor is coming in at that time when there are plenty of physicians here to help stabilize his patients?’ Well, around 12:30 am, the curtain around the patient’s bed was pulled away and in steps a man that looks like he had just come from the disco. Braided pony tail, funky glasses, full beard, polyester flowered shirt unbuttoned with a gold chain adorned with a dollar gold piece, bell bottoms and leather boots. I recall thinking ‘who is this guy?’  He introduced himself as Dr. Carpenter and he talked to the patient for a long time telling him I was a great young doctor and would take excellent care of him. Then we went into the consultation room where he told me to make sure I stayed with him all night and call him in the morning. I did all he asked and we got the patient through his illness and from that point on Ken Carpenter would call me to go see his patients and he often would come in and meet them and explain their illness, how they were to be treated and what his expectations were of me. After a few months, he asked me what specialty I was going into and when I said ophthalmology he told me that he would check in on me from time to time and wanted me to come out to Dublin because he was going to open a multi-specialty clinic where he needed an eye surgeon. Over the next few years, he would have me come up to his office which was in an old house in the Historic District and we would talk about his plans. One spring day, we drove over to Frantz Road, which at the time was two lanes of country fields. He showed me the plot of land he had purchased where he was going to open The Dublin Medical Mall and it would have a pharmacy, lab, urgent care center, his family practice as well as specialists, including myself. He was also recruiting an OB GYN practice, allergists, dermatology, ENT and urology so that his patients would not have to drive miles to see their sub-specialist. His vision was remarkable as I had no idea how such a facility would work in the middle of nowhere.

Dr. Carpenter (L) at the Columbus Ophthalmology Associates 20 Year Anniversary Party

Dr. Carpenter (L) at the Columbus Ophthalmology Associates 20 Year Anniversary Party

In 1983, I completed my training and worked part-time in a downtown practice while Dr. Carpenter completed my office space and opened the Dublin Medical Mall. Our original office had two exam rooms, a waiting room with about ten chairs and a single staff member that answered the phones, checked patients in and out, filed insurance claims and got all the charts ready. On our first day, we saw two patients and that first week we were happy to have a total of twelve new patients. Dr. Carpenter reminded me that I should always be available as he had a large practice and the urgent care center would help grow my patient base over time. There were days I would sit for hours between exams. Slowly but surely he would bring over and introduce me to one of his long time patients that needed an exam or had an eye infection or that wanted cataract surgery. I was open the two Saturday mornings he was and those became very busy days for me. My wife would often work those days to cover the front office and on days we could not find a babysitter, patients had the added benefit of our infant daughter Kristen being behind the desk!! Dr. Carpenter always reminded me that Dublin was going to be a very large suburb and, indeed, his instincts were correct. We now have a full-service hospital and a medical school in our city but I am happy to have been a part of the very first full-service medical center in our great community. He passed away five years ago but his former patients, staff, and long-time Dublin residents still fondly recall his unique and caring relationship with them as well as his importance to the growth of our city. In 1999, we had outgrown our original office and moved to the Bradenton Building but if not for that chance meeting in the ER 20 years prior, Columbus Ophthalmology Associates may have never been founded.  Now, I hardly ever leave the city as we have wonderful parks, restaurants, medical care, shopping districts and the club where I caddied nearly 40 years ago. It has been quite a road to where we are now and I am so appreciative of the support of this wonderful community!”

Bradenton Avenue Building being built in 1999

Bradenton Avenue Building being built in 1999


We would like to welcome Dr. Kelli Mulhern to Columbus Ophthalmology Associates!
If you’ve been to one of our offices in the past couple of months, you may have noticed a new face wearing a white lab coat. Dr. Kelli Mulhern started with Columbus Ophthalmology Associates at the East office and as of this month is serving our Dublin patients full-time. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, cheering on her boys at their sporting events, working out and practicing yoga. You can read more about her professional accomplishments below.


If you see Dr. Mulhern, be sure to say hi. She’s eager to get to know our patients!

More about Dr. Mulhern -

Dr. Kelli Mulhern was raised in Lancaster, Ohio where she graduated from Lancaster High School, Cum Laude.

Receiving a Full Tuition scholarship to play Tennis at Wright State University, she moved to Dayton, Ohio.

She finished her undergraduate studies at Ohio University receiving a Bachelor of Science degree, Cum Laude, in Biology with a minor in Psychology.

Continuing her Education further, she received her Doctorate in Optometry from The Ohio State University in 1999.

Dr. Mulhern has 18+ years of experience in Optometry which includes not only Private Practice, Commercial practice, but Ophthalmological practices as well.

Dr. Mulhern joined Columbus Ophthalmology in February 2018.

She provides full scope Optometry including Comprehensive Eye Health Examinations for Glasses and Contact Lenses, Management of systemic and ocular disease, as well as Pre- and Post-operative surgical care.

Board Certification

1999- The Ohio State Board of Optometry; 1999- The National Board and Association of Optometry; 1999- Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease; 2017- Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice for The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Welcome Dr. Mulhern!

Once upon a time… circa 1980, there was a man named Richard Orlando. He wanted to become a sport medicine doctor. But one day, a specific life incident altered the course of his life and ultimately led to the beginning of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates.

Now, the real story is a little more involved. But as we celebrate our 35th year serving patients, we are looking back to the beginning of how we gained our roots in Dublin, Ohio and have grown to have so many wonderful professionals working to help Central Ohio have their best vision.

But for now, lets get back to the story… from Dr. Orlando himself…

“First of all, I will tell you I came to Columbus in 1976 to attend medical school at The Ohio State University after graduation from Gannon College in Erie Pa. I was a basketball player at Gannon and originally intended to become an orthopedic and sports medicine surgeon. My medical interview was in January 1976 and was my first time on campus in the medical center. The day of my interview I was at breakfast and sitting across from me was the legendary Ohio State Football coach Woody Hayes. I went over to introduce myself and told him I was hoping to go to medical  school at Ohio State and one day be part of the medical staff. He sat me down and asked me about my academic background, my collegiate career and why I wanted to attend Ohio State. We talked about an hour and not once was it about football but instead he told me what a great institution Ohio State was, how hard I would have to work and the benefits of being among some of the best doctors in the world. He told me about the history of the Ohio State Medical Center, how he would visit patients over there and about the two great orthopedic surgeons that were on his medical staff taking care of the players. He offered to introduce me to Dr. Bob Murphy, the head team physician once I was on campus so I could spend time with him and get some insight to sports medicine. I left that breakfast in awe and my interview went very well as I was accepted that weekend to attend medical school at Ohio State.

Because of my undergraduate training as a chemistry and biology major, I was able to complete my first two years of medical school in 15 months and was on track to enter an orthopedic/sports medicine residency after graduating in three years. During the 1978 season, I became a student extern with the football team and athletic department. I spent time in the locker room and on the sidelines at games, worked in the sports medicine clinic during the day and that entire senior year worked covering various sports like hockey, gymnastics, wrestling and volleyball along with various team physicians.


I was prepared to become one of them after medical school until I suffered a sudden loss of vision in my left eye. It happened after a strenuous work out lifting weights one afternoon and I immediately went to the team doctor who was next door at the time and he sent me to the Department of Ophthalmology at Ohio State to see Dr. William Havener, the chairman. He told me I had a condition known as Valsalva Retinopathy and it would clear up in about a month. I was fascinated by the various tests and screenings he did and the way he talked to me about my condition.

I followed up with him for the next month or two and we talked about my future and what I wanted to do. I became very curious and interested in the eye and he offered me a chance to spend a month on his service so I could see first hand the various surgical techniques he performed and the wide variety of pathology that his department took care of. This experience changed my life as I began to understand how devastating losing your vision could be and while I had not permanent damage, that one month of not having central vision pointed me in a different direction. I changed my focus from sports medicine and orthopedics and was able to be accepted into the residency program at Ohio State under Dr. Havener. He became my mentor and influenced the way I care for patients, prepare for surgery and the influence he had not just on my life, but each and every student he came in contact with was profound. The Department of Ophthalmology at Ohio State is now named the Havener Eye Institute and his legacy of outstanding clinical care continues in the many students and residents he trained.”

So as you see, an eye injury sparked fascination which lead to our founder, Dr. Orlando choosing Ophthalmology over sports medicine. Follow along with our next blog to learn how we ended up planting roots in the city of Dublin!

For thousands of years, people have been expressing themselves through art. Although the forms may be different, it serves as a reminder of our ability as human beings to create an infinite amount of possibilities. Art is a creative outlet and is so powerful it can be used as a form of therapy which allows people the freedom of self-expression. Today is National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, which is near and dear to our hearts. In and around both of our offices hang masterpiece works of art from our Dr. Orlando. He’s been painting beautiful scenes for years and we love showing off his artwork in our offices to our patients.

Dr. Orlando attended Gannon University as an undergraduate and is now a member of their Board of Trustees. One of Gannon’s key parts of their mission statement is to prepare students to become global citizens through programs grounded in the liberal arts and sciences. Though he was a chemistry major, he was required to take classes in drawing, music, drama, and other creative and artistic programs; this is where he first learned to appreciate the freedom of expression that comes from painting.

With Gannon University being located on the shores of Lake Erie, and many of his painting classes located on the Presque Island Peninsula, he and his classmates were able to experience and appreciate how colors and light are influenced by nature. “Being outdoors in such a setting also helps to increase our creative problem solving, something that is imperative for a physician and scientists, so painting has helped me in my professional career,” said Dr. Orlando.

His work has varied over the years and he uses a variety of mediums from the bright, textured features of acrylic paint to the more ethereal serenity of water colors. Dr. Orlando is sure to carry a sketch pad and camera with him when he travels. “You never know when you will come across a unique landscape or sunset,” he says. “Those photos and drawings are scattered around my art studio, which I built many years ago in our home with wonderful light from the western sky. There are literally hundreds of these just waiting to be put on canvas or paper and I usually have a dozen or so in various stages of completion.” Alongside his photography and painting, Dr. Orlando also completes a calendar every year for charity and this year’s theme is The Sun and The Sea, which features 12 water color abstract designs that are based on sunsets along the New England and Florida coasts. Dr. Orlando comments, “I have always found the colors just before and for thirty minutes after sunset to be the most glorious and a time to just reflect and look inward.” He adds, “Painting is a very life affirming passion and I enjoy sharing my creations with my patients in our office as well as the many friends and clients that have donated to the various charities I have completed work for. It has become a way for me to share this gift that I have continued to nurture since my days on the Gannon campus. I hope you enjoy them.”

Aspen Sunset

Aspen Sunset by Dr. Richard Orlando


Cape Elizabet

Cape Elizabeth by Dr. Richard Orlando


Maybe you have it or perhaps a loved one has been affected by it. Perhaps you’ve only heard of it by name but don’t understand what it really is. We’re talking about glaucoma. And it’s important for adults of all ages to understand what it is, how you can detect if you have it, and what your treatment options are. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month and we’re here to help educate you about this eye disease.

Glaucoma is a disease that causes progressive damage to the eye’s optic nerve. Typically, fluid builds up  in the front of the eye which causes the damage to the optic nerve.


The most common type of Glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, which has no symptoms. People with open-angle glaucoma experience gradual increases in their intraocular pressure that does not immediately affect their vision.

One way to know if you have glaucoma is to have an annual comprehensive exam. During a comprehensive eye exam, your doctor will check your eye pressure as well as dilate your eyes. This will allow them to more clearly examine your retina and optic nerve for any damage. Glaucoma cannot be cured, but if it is diagnosed early and immediately treated, your chances of delaying or stopping its progression greatly increases. We recommend having a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year, but speak with your ophthalmologist to ensure your frequency is fit for your personal eye health and condition.

Some other considerations:

People who are most likely at high risk for glaucoma include those with diabetes, with a family history of glaucoma, or African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanic/Latino people over the ago of 60.

If you begin to have blurry vision, don’t wait. Call us today! Your vision may depend on it.

For more information, watch the video below:

January. It’s the beginning of a new year but it’s so much more. New Year’s resolutions, dieting, exercising, better habits, and overall health and wellness goals. It truly is a unique time. A time to reset yourself, your goals and expectations, and set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling year ahead. In all of your planning, don’t forget your eye health!

We’re here to help you through these chilly months so your eyes can serve you through all of your tasks and daily rituals. Here are our January Eye Care Tips. Stay warm and keep your eyes protected!

January Eye Care Tips - JPEG for web

We hope you and your family have a happy and prosperous 2018!

The Giving Tree

coavision coavision

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat others. At Columbus Ophthalmology Associates, we are fortunate to work in an environment where our doctors put the care of our patients as their top priority. That simple, but most important, action trickles down to each of our staff members. We are a family at COA and we always work with one purpose & one vision: to provide the highest quality care for all of our patients. This holiday season, through the hustle and bustle of deadlines, shopping, gifting, and holiday celebrations, we still like to take moments to breathe in and remember what matters most. Our gratitude is overflowing! We also work for a company that believes in giving back to our community. Out of the gratitude for all we have and for another wonderful year, we are ending 2017 giving back to those in central Ohio. For a number of years, during the month of December, we give back to different initiatives in central Ohio for the holiday season. This year, we have chosen Megan’s Mission as one of those initiatives. Megan was a Dublin graduate who was an aspiring NICU nurse attending college. Sadly, last year Megan was involved in a plane crash around Lake Erie where there were no survivors. Megan’s Mission provides new or knitted blankets to Nationwide Children’s Hospital NICU; her family began Megan’s Mission to keep her dream alive.  We also want to do our part to make sure as many children in our community, no matter their economic status, have a Christmas. In both of our offices, we have a Giving Tree with “ornaments” on them. Each ornament has one gift item for a child written on it. Our staff get to chose which “ornament” they would like to get for the children in our community. We truly love expressing our gratitude in this way during the holiday season. And we couldn’t do it without the doctors and staff who operate their days out of gratitude for all they have with the desire to make sure others can have as well. You won’t see our Giving Trees in the waiting rooms in our offices but know we are doing our part to make sure other families in the central Ohio area have a wonderful holiday season!


The Giving Tree

diabetes-eye-disease-monthDid you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and very rarely has early warning signs? With November being Diabetic Eye Disease Month, we wanted to give our patients some insight on diabetic eye disease.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. By 2030, it is estimated that 11 million people will have diabetic retinopathy. Patients’ understanding of the many factors that influence control as well as knowledge of long term complications is vital to reducing the side effects from what can be devastating to vision. Education is vital. The first thing to understand is that insulin, which is created by the pancreas, is what controls the blood sugar in our bodies. An average blood sugar should be under 100 and when it consistently is above that range, it is due to cells in the pancreas losing their ability to produce insulin. Physicians can treat this with oral medications, especially in adult onset diabetes, or injections of insulin which is most often necessary when diabetes occurs in children. The goal is to keep the blood sugars at a safe level in order to prevent damage to the delicate blood vessels in the body.

Diabetes affects the eye by causing leakage of the vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that receives the visual image and creates the “picture”. These vessels provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the retina and if they start to leak fluid and blood, those cells become damaged. This is called diabetic retinopathy and leads to loss of vision that can be permanent. Treatment includes laser to help seal the leaking vessels and, in severe cases, surgery called vitrectomy where the blood has to be removed from the back of the eye. It is smart to schedule a yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam as that will increase the likeliness of early detection. Even after a diabetic diagnosis, a yearly eye exam is part of the comprehensive management of the disease to ensure any changes are detected early. Diabetic patients are prone to developing cataracts at an earlier age so these yearly exams are extremely important to maintaining good health.

The most important thing a patient can do to help control their blood sugar is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the biggest changes a patient can make is to stop smoking as smoking can accelerate damage to the blood vessels. Most hospitals, community centers, and other agencies offer diabetic classes where patients can learn how to eat and cook foods that are low in simple sugars and carbohydrates while being high in protein. In addition, these classes can provide information on exercises such as walking and biking to help burn off calories and reduce body fat which further helps control blood sugar. Education and “being part of the process” are vital to avoiding complications with diabetes.

Now is the time to speak with your ophthalmologist about your eye health if you have questions about diabetic retinopathy. Early detection is the best way to potentially save your vision if it is jeopardized by diabetes. Nearly 95% of diabetic eye treatment is successful in preventing blindness if detected early. What are you waiting for? Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you in your journey of having the best vision for life. Click here for more information on Diabetic Eye Disease.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…the end of the year! Where did 2017 go? We’re beginning our preparation for end-of year holidays and scheduling LOTS of eye exams prior to December 31st! November is the beginning of so many fun activities to do with your families and friends, holiday celebrations, outdoor excursions, and creative indoor festivities. We’re here to bring your November Eye Care Tips top of mind so you can continue to have healthy eyes, no matter the season! As as a reminder, don’t forget to constantly wash your hands. While that is good advice throughout the year, it is especially important right now as we’re in the middle of flu season. Soap and water is your best bet against the spread of bacteria and viruses. You can also carry a small container of hand sanitizer with you for times when you can’t use soap and water. Take advantage of the sanitizing wipes that stores offer and always wipe down your cart. You never know who has touched it or what germs they may have had. Take care of your body and protect it and you will spend more time enjoying the holiday season and less under the weather!


November Eye Care Tips

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