For Dr. Ellen Chance Sanders, her new role as Aspen Valley Hospital’s ophthalmologist is a homecoming.
She and her family have been living in Carbondale for the past three years, but she’s been practicing farther from home in Grand Junction. When the possibility to practice at Aspen Valley Hospital opened up, it was an opportunity she couldn’t overlook.
“I am really excited to be transitioning to working at AVH for multiple reasons,” she says. “I have loved performing cutting-edge surgeries in Grand Junction for the last few years, but I am very happy to be able to bring my expertise closer to home, taking care of my friends and neighbors.”
Dr. Sanders has been on the road, so to speak, for much of her adult life. She was born and raised in North Carolina and completed medical school and her residency at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. She and her husband Dave then moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she practiced ophthalmology for a decade. After starting a family, they moved to his home state of Colorado and settled in Carbondale.
“Living in the Rocky Mountains offers a unique lifestyle that resonates with our values and interests,” she says. “This environment offers an amazing opportunity for our children to connect with nature and experience a quieter pace of life and cultivate a strong sense of community.”
Cutting-edge Care in the Roaring Fork Valley
Dr. Sanders chose ophthalmology because she was intrigued by the intricate nature of the eyes and the prospect of restoring or enhancing people’s vision.
“The ability to blend medical knowledge with surgical skills in a field that directly improves people’s quality of life is what I love most about being an ophthalmologist,” she says.
Dr. Sanders’ passion for eye and vision care is reflected in the expertise she brings to the Hospital and to her patients, especially with cataract surgery.
She will develop a state-of-the-art cataract program at the Hospital that uses cutting-edge intraocular lenses and incorporates the latest advancements in technology and surgical techniques.
Cataracts are quite common, especially as people age. They can significantly impact a patient’s vision as they grow, making overall vision cloudy and colors less vibrant. The availability of cataract surgery, along with evolving lens technology, can greatly improve patients’ quality of life by reducing their visual impairment and restoring their vision.
Aspen Valley Hospital will be one of the few medical centers in the Mountain West to offer light adjustable lenses, which allow for extremely precise customization of vision correction in the clinic following cataract surgery. Using this technology, Dr. Sanders will be able to fine-tune patients’ vision, eliminating the need for glasses after surgery.
She will also implant multifocal lenses in some patients, offering her patients the convenience of clear vision at varying distances, reducing their dependence on glasses. “By providing a comprehensive solution that caters to both distance and near vision, multifocal lenses can significantly enhance the quality of life for many patients,” she says.
And toric lenses will be available to patients who need to be treated simultaneously for cataracts and astigmatism.
In addition to offering advanced cataract care, Dr. Sanders will also provide the standard eye and vision care that most people need — including annual eye exams. She will help people manage dry eye syndrome, and diagnose and treat patients with macular degeneration or glaucoma.
“Early detection and proper treatment can make a significant difference in managing these conditions effectively,” she says.
Ophthalmology — All in the Family
Becoming a doctor has always been Dr. Sanders’ goal. She was driven by a passion for helping others and making a meaningful impact on their lives because her father is also an ophthalmologist.
“I grew up in a small town in eastern North Carolina, and witnessed the positive impact my father has on people’s lives through the care he provides,” she says. “He played a significant role in inspiring me and choosing to practice ophthalmology like he does.”
Dr. Sanders’ style as a doctor reflects her father’s, blending medical expertise with empathy. She makes it a priority to listen to each patient’s concerns and understand the emotional impact that their eye conditions have on their lives.
“I approach my role as a doctor with compassion and patient-centered demeanor,” she says. “I value and understand the significance of my patients’ vision and wellbeing, striving to provide personalized care and innovative solutions.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sanders, visit AVH’s Ophthalmology Clinic or call 970.544.1460.