2023 Top Doctors: Debora Garcia- Zalisnak, M.D. & Omar Syed, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 1, 2023
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Debora Garcia-Zalisnak, M.D.


Med School/Year Graduated: University of Puerto Rico, 2012

Years in Practice: 7

What are the most common issues you treat?

Dry eye, cataracts and glaucoma. I’m a fellowship-trained cornea specialist, so I like treating general ophthalmology diseases with an emphasis on the anterior segment of the eye.

It must be incredibly gratifying to help restore one of the five primary senses. 

Very much so! I chose ophthalmology because it’s a field in medicine where patients can see an improvement in their condition quickly after receiving treatment. One of the best parts of my job is witnessing a patient who has undergone cataract surgery take off their eye shield and realize they can see things they haven’t been able to for years.

You’re from Puerto Rico! Any good Puerto Rican restaurants in the Valley?

I would say Phoenix Coquí and Puerto Rico Latin Bar & Grill are my favorites. If you go, I recommend trying an alcapurria or the pastelón.

You and your husband (Omar Syed, right) like being outdoors. Favorite adventure spots?

When we first got here, we really took advantage of some of the great outdoor opportunities that Arizona has to offer. We did a rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon and regularly hiked Camelback [Mountain] and Piestewa Peak. Our favorite, though, has been Havasupai Falls, which absolutely lives up to the hype.  

Omar Syed, M.D.

Pain Medicine

Med School/Year Graduated: Eastern Virginia Medical School, 2012

Years in Practice: 5

Pain management and ophthalmology don’t seem closely related. How did you two meet?

Both anesthesiology and ophthalmology require a preliminary year where you serve as an internal medicine resident for 12 months. We were in the same program and met on the first day of orientation. 10 years, two residencies, two fellowships, two kids and two clinics later, here we are.

Your initial training was in anesthesia. Did you need additional training for pain management?

Yes… after completing my preliminary year in internal medicine and three years of anesthesiology residency, I did a fellowship in interventional pain management in Boston.

What does your clinical work look like?

During clinic visits, I work with the patients to come up with solutions for their pain using the multi-modal approach to pain management. As part of this approach, we perform specific procedures such as epidural steroid injections to treat sciatica, kyphoplasties for vertebral compression fractures and spinal cord stimulation for complex regional pain syndrome, or even as a new treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

We’ve been on a bit of an HBO kick lately, having watched House of the Dragon, The White Lotus and Succession.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

A travel and food show host or something in sports. I hear the Arizona Cardinals have a job opening.