PITTSBURG — A 10 minute procedure can change a person’s life.

That’s what Dr. Gregory Quinlan at Quinlan Eye Surgery & Laser Center is hoping to tell the Pittsburg community. Quinlan opened an office area at 1606 N Broadway Street in 2005 and started the surgery center next store at the end of last year.

“It’s really been a dream of mine to offer here,” he said.

Quinlan said a 10 minute procedure for cataract can be life changing. The surgery center also offers a procedure to treat glaucoma, which takes about 20 minutes.

“The technology is incredible,” he said.

The opthamologist opened a Fort Scott location with a surgery center in 2001. Until the Pittsburg location expanded to offer the surgery center, Quinlan said, patients would be sent to Fort Scott for operations.

“There is a vast need,” Quinlan said. “In Pittsburg, there is no one in the community doing cataract surgery, but me.”

Quinlan said the retirement of opthamologist Dr. Roger Schlemmer propelled the decision to move into Pittsburg and fill a void.

The Independence, Kansas, native built both Pittsburg locations in 2005. The building now housing the surgery center was once a spa before Quinlan began the process of expanding his footprint in Pittsburg. He said it took about two years to shepherd the center through the bureaucratic process and be open and operating in December 2015.

“One of the things we try to do here is make it personal,” Quinlan said. “The same staff they see in the office they will see in surgery.”

He estimated equipment for the surgery center was in the $300,000 range and the center required hiring one additional employee — surgery center Director Kate Dent.

“Eventually everyone will have cataracts” but not all will seek medical care, she said.

About half of their patients are referred and the other half call in. For appointments call the eye center at (620) 232-3937.

Quinlan grew up in Independence and received his bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University before going on to medical school in Kansas City. He joined the Air Force in the early 1980s prior to starting a practice in Carthage, Missouri, for a year. From Carthage, he went to Dodge City for six years before calling Southeast Kansas home.

“The most amazing thing is that in 10 minutes you can give a patient back their vision,” Quinlan said.

— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at mstavola@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.