Two of the best-known Quad-City physicians — Dr. Amir and Dr. Lisa Arbisser — have announced plans to retire.
“Life is turning to a new season for us,” says Dr. Lisa. "It’s time we take a slower look at things.” They will be in their clinics during October and December, and after that, she says, “things will be different, but still busy in our own ways.”
The two ophthalmologists — in practice for 30 years — are physicians, philanthropists and educators. Dr. Lisa figures that she has performed 25,000 to 30,000 cataract surgeries. Their eight clinics have served three generations of patients.
It has been busy, hustling, often-hectic decades of running from one clinic room and corridor to another for the Arbissers, but the two say they have been blessed and have loved every moment of it. “All the sight we have saved is our treasure,” she says.
“Omigosh, but by now we have four children and two grandchildren,” Dr. Lisa says. “We need more time to spend with them.”
Dr. Lisa is 60. Her husband is 65. While her time has been involved in anterior segment surgery (cataracts and other eye concerns), Dr. Amir’s specialty is pediatric sight.
Their practice has always been together, beginning with tiny offices in Muscatine that have expanded to Eye Surgeons Associates with 22 doctors and 180 employees.
Speaking via cellphone on Wednesday while they were driving to their country weekend place near Pawling, N.Y., Dr. Amir reminisced about their meager beginnings.
“I started with a single examining room in another doctor’s office," he said. “When a woman got stuck in my examining chair, I decided more equipment was needed. I expanded.” Dr. Lisa, who had been a friend when they were at Princeton University, joined the fledgling Muscatine practice.
It has been a busy professional lifestyle for the two, who are not only physicians but also savvy business people. Their current venture is a network of mini-suites in airports at Atlanta, Philadelphia and Dallas. Next is Chicago.
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“We’ve always been busy at something in our 30 years of marriage,” he says.
The Arbissers believe in giving back to their community in diverse ways. Ten years ago, they treated 5,000 of her former cataract patients to a free performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“I wanted them to see all the magic and wonders that they were missing when they had cataracts,” Dr. Lisa says.
What of their clinics after their retirement?
“There are 12 owners now, all professionals who will carry on perfectly,” Dr. Amir says.
The Arbissers will continue to call Davenport “home,” but after December, they plan on some time at their unusual beachside home on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla.