Erich B. Groos, Jr., MD

Founding Partner of Cornea Consultants of Nashville
Medical Director of the Eye Surgery Center of Nashville
Associate Medical Director for Sierra Donor Services Eye Bank

What made you want to become an eye surgeon?
My grandmother went blind from macular degeneration almost 20 years before she died. That and failing hearing made her final years difficult for her. My father is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, whose practice combined procedural and medical care. One of the only other specialties that combines the 2 is ophthalmology. That combination and the nagging memory of my grandmother’s loss of independence, coupled with the technological aspects of eye surgery really intrigued me. The ability to care for people in the office and also surgically manage their problems was and is a unique combination that made the decision an easy one.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I think the best part is seeing people become emotional over what they have gotten back, or even better, that they have gotten better than they can remember as far as their vision is concerned. The debilitation of vision loss is balanced Only by the unbridled joy of those whose vision has been restored. To be able to play even a small part in that story is magical and never gets old.

What is your favorite surgery to perform?
In the broadest sense my favorite surgeries are ones that involve the gift of donor tissue to a recipient to bring about the return of vision. More specifically, my favorite surgery to perform is penetrating keratoplasty because it tests my skill as a surgeon more than anything else that I do. The skill of preparing the donor, removing the recipient’s diseased cornea and suturing to maximize vision are some of the most challenging tasks that I encounter.

What made you want to start a practice in TN?
My wife and I are both Nashville natives and have extensive family in the area. Although we have both been seduced by the other places that we have lived, I think we always knew that we would return home.

What is your favorite holiday, and why?
I enjoy Christmas because of the spirit of giving and the time spent with family. Juggling two extended families might seem like a chore, but it provides so much happiness and tradition for both of us.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
For my entire life, my family has spent at least part of summer escaping the heat of Tennessee to northern Michigan. We have a family cottage on Glen Lake near Traverse City. The sunsets over the lake are neck-and-neck with the crystal clear water of the lake itself, like the Caribbean. That place is part of my DNA.