OUR DOCTORS

Jaime Santamaria II, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.I.C.S.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology
Columbia University, New York
Member of the Wills Eye Surgical Network
Recognized in New Jersey Monthly
“Top Doctors in NJ 2001” and Castle Connolly Guide
“How to Find the Best Doctors in New York Metro Area”

 

Dr. Santamaria has performed over 21,000 cataract operations. In 1969, he earned his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics at The Cooper Union School of Engineering and Science and his M.D. in 1973 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) of Columbia University in New York. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, where he also serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology (Columbia University). He is the co-inventor of the Phaco-Gard™ blade (patented), which facilitated sutureless cataract surgery. His preferred method currently is topical clear cornea.

 

Dr. Santamaria has been performing refractive surgery since 1985. He is a corneal specialist and has served at the Cornea Clinic of the Harkness Eye Institute for the past 20 years. At Harkness he was also a Fellow in Corneal Immunology Research. He not only performs LASIK for correction of myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia, but also performs other more complex corneal procedures such as corneal transplants. He actively uses the crystalens® accommodating, Restor® multifocal and Toric intraocular lenses. Dr. Santamaria is the author of numerous peer review scientific papers—several in the field of the safety of refractive procedures.

 

Dr. Santamaria is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is on the surgical staff of the Wills Eye Network Surgical Center, The Surgery Center of Central New Jersey. He is also certified by the American Board of Eye Surgery.

Kenneth N. Darvin, M.D.

Director of Retina Service
Attending at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center
New Brunswick, NJ

 

Dr. Darvin is a graduate of the City University of New York. He earned his M.D. at the State University of New York at Downstate. He served not only a full residency in ophthalmology, but also a fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at the same institution. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and has personally performed over 5,000 laser procedures and LUCENTIS™ injections. He is an expert in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration and provides comprehensive eye care, including the treatment of glaucoma.

 

Dr. Darvin also offers free, informative lectures as a community service to educate people about macular degeneration and the effect of diabetes on their eyes.

Laila Machado-Colicchio, O.D.

27OM 00023500, 27OA 00538400

 

Dr. Colicchio has been a valuable member of the team at Santamaria Eye Center for over 12 years. She is a graduate of Kean University of New Jersey with graduate studies at Rutgers University. She earned her O.D. at State University of New York College of Optometry. She is a member of the American Optometric Association and New Jersey Optometric Association. She is a licensed therapeutic optometrist who performs comprehensive eye care, with experience in difficult contact lens fittings, including those for keratoconus.

Dr. Colicchio also inserts punctal plugs for dry eye syndrome. She is fluent in Spanish and regularly participates in volunteer programs to provide eye care for economically disadvantaged children.

Rajen Desai, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Rajen Desai MD FACS is a board certified cataract and glaucoma surgeon with the Santamaria Eye Center.

 

Dr. Desai graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from Stanford University, followed by a M.D. from Stanford Medical School, with an extra year of training in clinical research. He served as 2nd Lieutenant and pilot in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol in Texas, followed by residency, chief residency, and glaucoma fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago.

 

With over 20 years of experience in vision research, Dr. Desai has produced over 50 peer-reviewed publications and presentations across the country. In 2007, he served as Study Co-Chair for Genentech on an FDA clinical trial to introduce a new medication to reduce scarring after eye surgery.

 

Dr. Desai brings the latest advances of vision research to the operating room, including laser-assisted cataract surgery, and advanced intraocular lens implants that treat astigmatism for both distance and near vision.

 

For his consistently high surgical success rate, industry leaders often select Dr. Desai to be their first surgeon in New Jersey to introduce the least invasive and latest upgrades of surgical devices, including:

 

  • First surgeon in New Jersey to implant the iStent Inject, a 0.3mm titanium device used to treat open angle glaucoma
  • First surgeon in New Jersey to utilize the upgraded inserter to implant the Xen stent, a 6mm gel device used to treat glaucoma when medications are ineffective or have intolerable side effects
  • First surgeon in New Jersey to implant the Ahmed ClearPath, a glaucoma tube shunt with less risk of double vision and greater pressure reduction
  • First surgeon in the country to be certified on the Micropulse Transscleral Laser Therapy GEN2 Probe, a glaucoma device that avoids surgical incisions

 

These devices reduce the eye pressure in a much safer and controlled manner than other procedures performed elsewhere in the state.

 

Having operated on thousands of patients, Dr. Desai has been regularly trusted by other physicians, optometrists, and nurses to perform cataract and glaucoma surgery on their and their own parents’ eyes. Other New Jersey cataract surgeons have chosen Dr. Desai to train them one-to-one in the operating room during cataract surgery.

 

Passionate about producing excellent surgical outcomes, and teaching others, Dr. Desai received the “Patient’s Choice Award” and the “2011 Best Teacher of Medical Students Award.” In 2012, Dr. Desai achieved the single highest glaucoma score in the country on the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Program. In 2013, he earned the Society of Heed Fellows Award, one of only 5 honorees chosen across the nation. In 2018, he earned the “America’s Top Ophthalmologist” award.

 

Dr. Desai is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the American Glaucoma Society, the Society of Heed Fellows, and the American College of Surgeons.

 

When not in the office or operating room, Dr. Desai enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters, and photography.

Frank Parisi, M.D.

Dr. Frank Parisi has been a practicing ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist for nearly 25 years. He worked in Bergen County, New Jersey for several years before joining the Santamaria Eye Center in June of 2019.

 

He is a Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Manhattan College with a degree in Biochemistry.  He received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1992 and graduated with a distinction in Ophthalmology research.

 

Dr. Parisi completed his ophthalmology residency at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in New York in 1996. He then completed a fellowship in glaucoma at the prestigious Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

 

He is a lector at his parish church and a longstanding member of the Knights of Columbus. He is married and the proud father of triplet daughters.

Taylor Kupferberg, O.D.

Dr. Taylor Kupferberg received her Bachelor of Arts degree in genetics from Rutgers University in three years’ time, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Pursuant to her passion for eyecare, she then attended the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry for her optometric training. While there, she was inducted as a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society.

 

Dr. Kupferberg’s clinical experience has made her well versed in all aspects of patient care. Her time at the Meredith W. Morgan University Eye Center at Berkeley was largely focused on comprehensive and contact lens examinations. While at Omni Eye Services of New Jersey and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, she was able to work closely alongside ophthalmologists and various subspecialists, providing her with great knowledge in ocular disease, perioperative care, and urgent care. Dr. Kupferberg strives to treat all of her patients with the highest level of compassion.

 

A New Jersey native, Dr. Kupferberg enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, baking, traveling, and catching a show on Broadway.

Sunya Ali, O.D.

Dr. Ali received her undergraduate degree from New York University, majoring in biological studies and minoring in studio art. She completed her optometry degree at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.

 

Dr. Ali is trained in prescribing contact lenses, managing dry eye and the post-operative care of LASIK and cataract surgeries, and the medical management of other ocular diseases from Pottstown Eye Doctor, Princeton Eyecare Associates, and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. She was awarded clinical honors in her clinical externships and is excited to be joining the rest of the team at Santamaria Eye Center.

 

She is a member of the American Optometric Association and the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians.

 

In her free time, Dr. Ali enjoys being immersed in a good book or a fun art project.

Colleen Sica, O.D.

Dr. Colleen Sica is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She received her Optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 2000 and went on to complete a residency at the New Jersey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

 

Before joining the Santamaria Eye Center in December 2018, Dr. Sica operated a private practice in Edison, New Jersey. She provides comprehensive eye care with particular interest in contact lens fitting and prism. Dr. Sica enjoys building relationships with her patients and aims to provide friendly and compassionate care to all of her patients.

 

She is a member of the American Optometric Association and the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians.

 

Outside of the office, Dr. Sica likes spending time with her husband and her two children. If they are not at a baseball game, they can usually be found at the beach, on the boat, or cruising the world.