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Alumni Profile: James Tweeten, MD, Close Ties After Residency

James Tweeten, MD
James Tweeten, MD, has performed over 20,000 cataract surgeries for his patients at the Intermountain Eye Center in Boise, Idaho.

A Boise, Idaho-based ophthalmologist who has practiced for 33 years, James Tweeten, MD, credits immersive resident training and inspiring John A. Moran Eye Center founders for a fulfilling career.

What drew you to ophthalmology?

In medical school when I saw my first cataract surgery, I knew that ophthalmology was the field I wanted to pursue. The ophthalmologist performing the procedure was so enthusiastic. I hadn’t met anyone that excited about their profession before and that really drew me in. I think that’s a pretty common theme in ophthalmology: we love what we do.

Why did you choose the Moran Eye Center for your residency?

I was sold on Moran’s residency program after a two-week externship at Moran during my fourth year of medical school. Everyone was so kind to me, and I could tell how tight-knit and passionate their team was. Though Moran was a smaller program at the time of my residency, from 1986-1989, they had the greatest surgery volume out of any residency program I was looking at. I knew I needed to be at Moran after that experience.

Who or what was your greatest influence during your residency?

Many of my teachers had a great influence on me. Drs. Alan Crandall, Randall Olson, and Mano Swartz were especially powerful mentors. I was able to operate frequently with Dr. Crandall and Dr. Olson attended my first cataract surgery. I also did a post-graduate medical retina fellowship with Dr. Swartz so they all had a profound impact on me. As far as I’m concerned, all of my success in cataract surgery is based on the initial training I received from them.

Later on, I was invited to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Preferred Practice Patterns board by Dr. Olson. It’s been such a pleasure working with him all these years. I continued on the board and published the Cataract in the Adult Eye PPP release in 2021 with my fellow committee members.

I get emotional thinking about the program and Dr. Olson because I still feel so connected to my experience there after all these years. I’m so grateful for what the residency program provided; it was the best educational experience I’ve had.