Alric Blake, MD is a board certified ophthalmologist. He earned his medical degree from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Dr. Blake completed his internship in internal medicine at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. He also completed a residency in ophthalmology at New York Medical College and Metropolitan Hospital. Dr. Blake also completed a fellowship in glaucoma at State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn.
Stephen Cross, MD, is a fellowship-trained cornea specialist. He earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and completed his internship at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, and INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. After completing his residency at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, he completed a fellowship at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which ranked third nationwide for ophthalmology by US News & World Report Best Hospitals in 2015-16. There he received further subspecialty training in cornea, anterior segment and external disease.
Dr. Cross' clinical and research interests include Fuchs dystrophy, modern endothelial keratoplasty technique, ocular surface disease management and medical economics.
Bethany Markowitz, MD, is a board certified ophthalmologist. She earned her medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and completed her internship and residency at Palmetto Health/University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Her interests include cataract extraction with premium intraocular lens (IOL) implantation, medical and laser treatment of glaucoma and surgical management of ocular surface disease. Dr. Markowitz also serves as the director of the ophthalmology residency program at Palmetto Health/University of South Carolina School of Medicine and has a passion for the education of residents and medical students.
Wilson McWilliams, MD, is a board certified ophthalmologist and earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He completed his internship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He then completed a fellowship at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which ranked third nationwide for ophthalmology by US News & World Report Best Hospitals in 2015-16, and attended Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for further subspecialty training in pediatric ophthalmology.
Dr. McWilliams specializes in many childhood eye problems including: strabismus (eye misalignment), amblyopia (lazy eye), esotropia (squinting), nasolacrimal disorders (tearing) and poor vision.
Rakesh M. Patel, MD, is an ASOPRS oculofacial and plastic reconstructive surgeon with Palmetto Health-USC Ophthalmology and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.
Dr. Patel completed his bachelor's degree at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He completed his internship at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and his ophthalmology residency at Montefiore Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
Dr. Patel further subspecialized by completing a two-year fellowship in oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary in Chicago. He is one of 600 surgeons worldwide to have completed an American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS)-approved fellowship.
Dr. Patel specializes in cosmetic, functional, and reconstructive procedures of the eyelid, tear duct and orbit. His clinical and research interests include thyroid eye disease, ptosis, lacrimal surgery, orbital tumors, eyelid reconstruction and orbital blowout fractures.
Dr. Patel provides nonsurgical cosmetic services such as Botox and facial fillers (Juvederm, Restylane), as well as surgical cosmetic procedures including upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasties and midface lifts. His surgical philosophy is to always achieve a natural-appearing result.
Dr. Patel has also coauthored several journal articles and book chapters in the field of oculoplastics.
Alexander Pogrebniak, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. He earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor and completed his internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Michigan Medical Center and Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor.
Dr. Pogrebniak completed two fellowships at the Indiana University Medical Center and Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, in pediatric ophthalmology and ocular motility.
Mark Robinson, MD, is a board certified ophthalmologist. He earned his medical degree from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, completed his internship at the University of Virginia School of Medicine Roanoke-Salem in Salem and his residency in ophthalmology at Georgetown and Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. He completed his neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Dean McGee Eye Institute/University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.
Dr. Robinson practices ophthalmology and his clinical interests include medical management of glaucoma, ophthalmic public health issues, optic neuropathies, visual field defects, diplopia and idiopathic intracranial hypertension. He enjoys teaching the art of ophthalmology to residents and medical students.
Tara Engstrom, OD, earned her Doctorate of Optometry from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, and completed her residency at the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
Lisa Niven, OD, earned her Doctorate of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry, Memphis, Tennessee, and completed her internship at the Naval Weapons Station Charleston.
Our compassionate, caring physicians at Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Ophthalmology diagnose and treat a full range of eye-related diseases and conditions. Serving Columbia, Lexington and the greater Midlands region of South Carolina, we specialize in both pediatric and adult care.
Conditions we treat include:
Diabetic eye disease
Our practice specializes in:
Ophthalmic plastic surgery
We are proud to be part of Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, which includes caring, compassionate health care professionals who are highly trained to meet your medical needs in Columbia, Lexington and across the greater Midlands region of South Carolina.
Providing excellent medical care in comfortable office environments, our network team of physicians, advanced care providers, nurses and staff is prepared to answer any questions you have. We provide comprehensive medical care for short-term needs like annual physicals as well as ongoing management of chronic diseases. Prevention is a big part of your overall care plan. Should additional, focused medical treatment ever be needed, our doctors will refer you to a specialist and stay involved in your care. Only at Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group will you find the extensive level of expertise available from a wide variety of specialists.
Palmetto Health-USC Ophthalmology's three locations include:
To make an appointment at Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group Ophthalmology, call 803-434-2020 (Richland campus) or 803-907-2020 (Parkridge campus). Please remember:
Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete a few forms
Bring insurance card and photo ID (such as a driver's license)
Bring all medications you are currently taking
If you must cancel your appointment, please notify us 24 hours in advance
Save time. Print and bring the completed forms below to your scheduled appointment.
Authorization for Release of Information
Manage your health care with MyHealth-Physician, our online patient portal. Sign up during your next office visit. Learn more about MyHealth here.
Our practice has a physician on call each night and weekends to assure your care is in the best of hands.
Fees and insurance
Patients are responsible for understanding insurance coverage benefits. Please verify that we are listed as approved providers prior to scheduling your appointment with us.
We accept most insurance plans
Payment is due at time of service
We accept cash, checks, debit and credit cards
For fees or billing questions, call 803-296-7306