Cincinnati Eye Institute: Restoring Sight Changes Lives

Cincinnati Eye Institute: Restoring Sight Changes Lives

Cincinnati Eye Institute has been serving the Cincinnati community for over 70 years. They provide compassionate care for a diverse group of patients, from routine eye exams to treating complex eye diseases. CEI remains a top provider in part because of its dedicated team of specialists, including Dr. Amar Shah, Dr. Megan Tuohy, and Dr. Derek Heimlich. 

Dr. Amar Shah 

A native Ohioan, Amar Shah, M.D., attended college and medical school at the University of Akron and Northeast Ohio Medical University. After doing his residency training at the University of Cincinnati, Shah completed a fellowship in refractive surgery at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Palm Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Michelle, were eager to return to the Buckeye state. When he was hired at CEI, he felt right at home. 

A corneal specialist, Shah’s two areas of interest include refractive surgery and dry eye. In the past, when people suffered from dry eye, they would get over-the-counter drops or use warm compresses on the eye, and that would be the extent of their treatment. These days, however, a lot of newer technologies can address issues associated with dry eye. 

“Now we have newer prescription medicines and in-office procedures we can offer, depending on the underlying ideology as well as the severity of dry eye in the patient,” Shah says. He has noticed that the condition seems to be more prevalent these days since people are spending more time in front of screens. 

Shah was initially drawn to the field of ophthalmology because vision so greatly affects people’s quality of life. He liked the idea of having such an impact on patients’ daily functions and the way they enjoy life. 

“Somebody with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or any number of other health conditions may not immediately notice, but if someone has impaired vision, they’re motivated to fix it,” Shah says. “Being able to restore someone’s vision is really gratifying.” 

Dr. Megan Tuohy 

Megan Tuohy, M.D., grew up in Indianapolis, completed medical school at Indiana University, and then went to the University of Michigan for her ophthalmology residency and fellowship. While in medical school, Tuohy completed a summer research program where she was paired with an ophthalmologist. It was a field that suited her goals of both getting to operate on patients and developing long-term relationships with patients and their families. In addition, ophthalmology would enable her to see a broad range of patients through all stages of life. 

She and her husband, Ian, knew they wanted to stay in the Midwest, and Cincinnati seemed like a great fit. 

“I wanted to join a practice that had an academic focus, and I was impressed with CEI,” says Tuohy, a corneal specialist. “I feel very lucky to have gotten a position here.” 

Tuohy and her husband learned that she was pregnant at the peak of the first COVID-19 wave. She delivered their son, Ethan, during the height of the second wave. Once she gave birth, it wasn’t the typical meet-and-greet where scores of visitors dropped by to coo over the newborn. 

“I felt like we were hiding our baby,” Tuohy says. “It was like, ‘If you want to drive by, we’ll show him to you through the window!’” 

Tuohy feels thankful that better days are ahead. “As the population in our country ages, more people will benefit from cataract surgery. Hopefully, as we continue to advance in our surgical techniques, we can provide great visual outcomes for all of our fellow citizens who need eye care.” 

Dr. Derek Heimlich 

While studying at the Ohio State University, Derek Heimlich, O.D., had plans to become an eye doctor but says he had a quarter- life crisis upon graduation. 

“I took a career rumspringa [a Pennsylvania Dutch word that means “running around”] to test out some other paths,” Heimlich says. Those paths included working as a packaging engineer, a researcher, and a substitute teacher. Ultimately, however, all forks in the path pointed back to a life of optometry. Heimlich returned to school to pursue his original dream. 

Heimlich had worn glasses since he was eight years old and got his first pair of contact lenses when he was 10. As a child, his routine visits with his optometrist made an impression on him. 

Heimlich was interested primarily in studying disease, so he did a disease residency at CEI. He was thrilled when he was invited to stay on. 

“This institution is synonymous with quality,” Heimlich says. 

At CEI, he sees all types of disease and afflictions of the eye. His favorite patient population to work with are those suffering from glaucoma because he likes being their cheerleader. 

“Glaucoma is a chronic illness with no cure,” Heimlich says. “There is only stalling progression, so people can get dejected and feel unmotivated. That often leads to poor compliance with using medication.” 

Heimlich emphasizes the importance of staying on top of the disease with drops. “I tell them that I know they don’t see a difference, but if it progresses to a point where they do see the effects of the disease, then it has gotten to a really severe state that we’re trying to avoid.”

Are you struggling with your vision or have other problems with your eyes? Cincinnati Eye Institute can help. To make an appointment, visit

Venue Cincinnati