Getting Down to Business: Columbia Eye Clinic

Sitting down with Derek L. Barker, M.D.

(803) 779-3070



What is the mission of your business?

With a team of 14 American Board of Ophthalmology certified physicians and more than 100 expertly trained ophthalmic staff in three locations, Columbia Eye Clinic is equipped to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat virtually any eye condition. Each doctor and member of our staff puts patient care first, and a physician is on-call 24 hours a day for our patients. We also have full-service Optical Departments at each location, so prescriptions for glasses or contacts can be filled conveniently using the latest in lens technology by our licensed opticians.


What differentiates you from other specialists in your field?

I specialize in helping diabetics manage eye problems that can lead to blindness. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood lipids can cause permanent damage like diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.


What is something people would be surprised to learn about ophthalmology?

Many people with diabetes develop an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar levels cause blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (called the retina) to swell, leak, and even close, stopping blood from passing through. If the disease progresses, abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina and can cause scar tissue. The condition begins with blurry vision and can lead to dark floaters and eventual loss of central and peripheral (side) vision.


What is one of the practice’s greatest challenges?

Getting patients to be proactive. It is important that patients with these conditions maintain good diabetic control and work closely with an ophthalmologist to monitor their eye health. The sooner eye problems are detected and treated, the better your long-term vision outcomes.

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