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TOP DOCS of 2021


NKCF Update readers submitted stories about their doctor as part of our annual celebration honoring eye doctors.  NKCF selects one optometrist and ophthalmologist to represent the entire group of nominees.  Introducing the Top Docs of 2021:

Dr. Tiffany Gates OD treats her patients at Visionary Eye Care in Broomfield, Colorado, where she co-owns a two-doctor office opened in late 2019.  Dr. Gates graduated from Southern California College of Optometry in 2014 and spent an additional year gaining advanced training in cornea and contact lens.  Dr. Gates has earned the rank of Fellow in both the American Academy of Optometry and Scleral Lens Education Society, two of optometry’s highest achievements.  

Patient Alisa Goldschmid nominated her, “Dr. Gates takes the time and truly understands the challenges of keratoconus.  I was amazed that she ordered new scleral lenses for me that were perfect the first time – no reorders or refitting necessary.  I feel very confident in the level of care I get with her.”  

When she learned she was selected as NKCF Top Doc, Dr. Gates responded, “I feel honored to work with patients who trust me to help manage their keratoconus.  I strive every day to help my patients see better and to be a caring presence when there is worry.  Luckily, we have come so far in understanding how to stabilize and restore vision in patients with KC, the future is bright!”

Nearly thirty years ago, Dr. David Hardten MD, along with two other ophthalmologists founded Minnesota Eye Consultants, now one of the country’s leading ophthalmology practices and the largest eye specialty group in Minnesota with 28 doctors working in five different cities.  In addition to his research and patient care responsibilities, Dr. Hardten shares his expertise with the next generation of eye doctors as an adjunct faculty member at both the University of Minnesota Department of Ophthalmology and the Illinois College of Optometry.  

His patient, Amy Jackson, recognized his reputation in her nomination, “Dr. Hardten is highly regarded in the region as one of the best corneal specialists – yet he is very personable.  He makes sure that I leave with no questions.  He knows the right level to speak – not talking way over my head, yet by no means condescending.  I know I am in good hands.”

Dr. Hardten summarizes his abiding interest in the specialty, “I enjoy working with these patients because there is so much we can now do for them.  Keratoconus is a condition that affects patients at very productive stages in their life and the management strategies we have for them including crosslinking, contact lenses, transplants and Intacs can have a tremendous impact for their function in life.”

Two dedicated doctors at different stages in their careers.  National Keratoconus Foundation is pleased to recognize Dr. Tiffany Gates OD and Dr. David Hardten MD as the Top Docs of 2021.

Mary Prudden, NKCF Executive Director, awarding Top Doc Dr. Hardten

In addition to these Top Docs, 45 other doctors from 26 states were nominated by their patients.   Some of the doctors are members of private practices that specialize in the care of individuals with keratoconus, others are renowned university faculty members, and others are primary care eye doctors who display benevolence toward their patients. An overarching quality noted in the nominations was the ability to listen to their patients and unfaltering determination to save and restore vision.  We salute these the Top Doc nominees for 2021.

To see a full list of all the doctors nominated this year, CLICK HERE