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

May 05, 2023
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.