With his youthful grin and friendly charm, Dr. Jason Brinton isn’t what most people would expect a world-renowned refractive surgeon to look like. In fact, he’s more likely to be confused as an intern than the Harvard grad, award-winning, internationally recognized physician that he is.
At 39, this Consumer Research Council’s “America’s Top Ophthalmologist” and International Association of Healthcare Professionals’ “Leading Physician of the World” may be young, but he’s kind of a big deal. In fact, his experience, dedication and brainr talent have led him to make his mark among the who s-who 1n his field: he has been tapped by the most prestigious physicians in ophthalmology to teach other surgeons how to successfully treat patients with a number of challenging vision problems through the use of laser technology.
In November, Brinton relocated his family – wife, Jami; daughters Kate, 6, and Alexa, 2; and sons Jackson, 7, and newborn Thomas – from the sunny skies of Orlando to
St. Louis so that he could launch his solo practice, Brinton Vision in Creve Coeur. With top-notch staff and state-of-the-art technology, he has already set the bar high, but it
isn’t just technical know-how that’s in his vision.
Brinton may be forging his way forward through innovation and education, but the driving force behind his work is something of a throwback from days gone by. Before the era of fast food and instant messaging was a time when physicians took the time to know their patients by name. Brinton seems to have channeled that era, and has made kindness and compassion the true measure of his success.
“When I walked across the graduation stage at Harvard Medical School, I was in the company of some of the most driven men and women in the world,” he explains. “Every one of my peers who was hooded and granted a diploma that day had paid a hefty personal price – from sleepless nights to weeks of intense study to putting off our social
lives – to attain that goal.
“What I know now is that what we learned in the classroom is only a small part of what it takes to be successful. Each of us has talents and passions that we were born with that we nurture and feed along the way. These are the foundation for purpose, and if we choose to be kind and use that purpose to serve others, be compassionate, and become a light in the world, that is success.”
It Starts at Home
Seemingly wise beyond his years, Brinton says genuine kindness is something he was taught at home from a young age.
“My parents always told us that kindness is a choice,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how intelligent we are, how well we dress, or how many people recognize our faces or names if we don’t make the choice to be kind and to use those gifts to better someone else’s life.”
It was this thinking that inspired him to become an ophthalmologist, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who moved his family to St. Louis after World War II to be an ophthalmologist at Barnes Hospital, then later helped to pioneer the corneal transplant procedure; his father, whose successful ophthalmology practice was an integral part of Brinton’s childhood; and three of his uncles, who are also physicians.
“I vividly remember when, at a young age, a stranger came up to me at a grocery store. He gave me a hug and told me that a procedure my father had performed had given him clear sight, and that he was grateful for it.
I realized even then how rewarding it was to have such a profound impact on someone’s life, and I wanted to make that part of my life.”
It’s that philosophy that has provided Brinton with an insatiable drive for excellence. Even though the atmosphere of his Creve Coeur office feels more like a spa than a doctor’s office, nothing is left to chance. From the hard work he put into his fellowship training, to the seven state-of-the-art diagnostic machines he uses, to the four lasers he operates in his open, comfortable Vision Correction Suite – it’s all by design.
Even his staff members are carefully chosen, not only for their skills but for their attitude about work and about life. The difference shows.
These things and more set him apart, but the reason behind them is the most important. It isn’t about the number of patients he sees so much as it’s the quality of care he can provide. It’s what drives him to strive for perfection in every aspect of his life.
“No matter how much I know or how well I am respected for my refractive surgical abilities, and as much as I am proud of my achievements, these are not the traits about me that I value most,” he says.
“The real answer to the test of life is kindness,” he adds.
“If I could teach my children one thing, it would be to develop their gifts and talents in such a way that they can serve and positively impact others’ lives. Practicing vision correction surgery provides me with opportunities to share this lesson every day, and for that, I am grateful.”