Biography

Dr. Omar Punjabi is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He specializes in vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates (CEENTA) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He practices at the South Park, Matthews, and Concord offices.

Dr. Punjabi was born in Mumbai, India, where he received a Gold medal and the highest honor among more than 125,000 students competing for medical school. He graduated with top honors and a full academic scholarship from King Edward Memorial Hospital, which is the top medical school in Mumbai and among the top five schools in India. He moved to the United States after medical school for further training. He spent two years as a post-doctoral research fellow involving retinal imaging at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami (the highest ranked eye hospital in the United States). Dr. Punjabi then did his internship at the University of Miami, followed by residency training at Northwestern University in Chicago where he was selected as chief resident. After residency training, he completed his two-year fellowship training in retinal diseases and vitreo-retinal surgery at the prestigious Cole Eye Institute of the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Punjabi has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and presented numerous scientific abstracts and textbook chapters. When he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, he was part of the team that was involved in the groundbreaking development of the spectral domain OCT used for retinal imaging. He was the recipient of a prestigious National Eye Institute research grant in 2006 from ARVO. He has won several academic awards and scholarships during his residency training and during medical school. He received the best resident award in all three years of residency at Northwestern for his clinical, academic, and research performances. He secured 99th percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Program (OKAP) and also in the Ophthalmology Board Examination. He also received several research awards, including the Beem-Fisher Award from the Chicago Ophthalmological Society in 2010 and the Research Award from Northwestern University in 2010. During fellowship training, he received the Best Fellow Teacher of the Year award from the Cleveland Clinic. He was also the recipient of the exclusive Heed Fellowship from the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation, which is given to only a few fellows with excellent clinical, academic and research potential.

Dr. Punjabi is a board-certified ophthalmologist and is an active member of numerous ophthalmological societies, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the Society of Heed Fellows.

His areas of interest include medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous, including retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration, retinal vascular diseases, diabetic retinopathy, ocular trauma and uveitis.

Dr. Punjabi has an active North Carolina Medical license and practices at the South Park, Matthews, and Concord offices.

During his free time, Dr. Punjabi enjoys spending time with his wife and two young kids. He is an avid sportsperson, and enjoys hiking and traveling.


Education & Fellowship

Undergraduate
D.G. Ruparel College, Mumbai, India, Gold Medal, 1999

Medical
King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India, Honors, 2005

Fellowship
Retina Research Fellowship, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 2005-07

Internship
Internal Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 2008

Residency
Ophthalmology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 2011

Fellowship
Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, 2013


Associations & Memberships

Board Certified by:
- American Board of Ophthalmology

Member of:
- American Academy of Ophthalmology, Fellow
- American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS)
- Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
- Heed Ophthalmic Foundation
- North Carolina Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons
- North Carolina Retina Club

Leadership and Committee experience:
- Committee Member, Young Physician Section (YPS), ASRS, 2017-18
- DRCR Panelist/ Speaker at YPS luncheon at ASRS in San Francisco, 2016
- Panelist at DRCR Annual Meeting in Orlando, 2017
- Chief Resident, Northwestern University, 2010-11
- Administrative Chief Fellow, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 2012-13

Teaching Experience:
- Instructor, Veteran’s Administration (VA) Optometry Residents, July 2015-Present
- Involved in Ophthalmology Resident and medical student education at the Cleveland Clinic and Metrohealth Hospital, 2012-13; Best Fellow Teacher of the Year, 2013
- Northwestern University, Chicago, IL: Involved in Medical Student education, 2008-2011


Featured Procedures

Vitrectomy Surgery for Vitreo-Retinal Diseases: This is an outpatient surgical procedure commonly performed for management of multiple retinal diseases, including retinal detachment, diabetic retinal disease, bleeding in the eye, macular holes, epiretinal membranes, and other conditions. I enjoy providing sight-saving surgery to my patients, and with today's technological advances most cases are quick, highly successful and need no stitches, leading to a quick recovery and excellent outcomes.

Retinal Lasers and Intravitreal pharmacotherapy for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy: These are in-office, minimally-invasive procedures that have dramatically improved the prognosis of these common blinding eye diseases. Most patients have a significant improvement in vision, which was not possible just a few years ago.


Awards

2017: DRCR Site Research Award- Highest Recruiter, Protocol V, Orlando, FL
2016: Vitals Patients' Choice Award
2016: DRCR Site of the Year Retina Research Award, Tampa, FL
2013: Best Fellow Teacher of the year, Cleveland Clinic
2012: Heed Fellow
2011: Chief Resident in Ophthalmology, Northwestern University
2011: Academic Achievement Award, Northwestern University
2010: Academic Achievement Award, Northwestern University
2010: Best Resident Research Paper, Northwestern University
2010: Beem-Fisher Award for Best Research Paper, Chicago, IL
2010: Heed-Foundation Resident Retreat
2009: Academic Achievement Award, Northwestern University
2006: National Eye Institute Travel Grant Award, ARVO


Community Involvement

Dr. Punjabi joined Charlotte Today to discuss floaters and flashes.

Dr. Punjabi discusses diabetic retinopathy on Charlotte Today.

The Retina Times magazine interviewed Dr. Punjabi as one of four young physician leaders discussing his research with the prestigious Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. You can read more about it here.


Testimonials

When I first came to Dr. Punjabi I couldn’t read the license plate on the car in front of me with that eye. Right now it’s cleared up so I can see almost as well as before I had the eye occlusion, so we’ll see how things look the next time I get an X-Ray.     - Eric B.
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I’ve never had vision in my right eye, and one Sunday recently I experienced something I had never experienced in my left eye. I was seeing some flashes of light and some black spots, so the next day I called CEENTA, and that day I saw Dr. Spicola and Dr. Punjabi.     - Sonya M.
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Research

Authored over 30 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.

Presented research at national and international scientific meetings such as AAO, ARVO and ASRS.

Participating in and enrolling patients in clinical trials involving diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusions.


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