Dr. Alex V. Levin is 2008 I. Lee Arnold, MD Distinguished Visiting Professor at 12th Annual Clinical Update for the Comprehensive Ophthalmologist

Saturday, December 6, 2008 -- The Hamilton Eye Institute was honored to welcome two outstanding ophthalmology professors to speak at this year's Clinical Update meeting. Each of them shared very engaging presentations and participated in lively discussions with our faculty, making this year's update a great success.

This year's I. Lee Arnold, MD Distinguished Visiting Professor was Alex V. Levin, MD, MHSc, FAAP, FAAO, FRCSC, a Professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Genetics, and Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto. He is a funded investigator with interests in child abuse and ophthalmic genetics, and he has authored over one hundred peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. A dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, he has trained over 65 clinical fellows in pediataric ophthalmology and ophthalmic genetics. At the meeting, he spoke on the topics of ocular genetics and pediatric retinal haemorrhage and its connections with child abuse investigation.

Our other invited speaker, G. Baker Hubbard, III, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Emory University, has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. His research interests include retinal vascular disease as well as ocular oncology, and he is an investigator for the ongoing Children's Oncology Group retinoblastoma studies. Dr. Hubbard is a committed educator, currently serving as Director of the Vitreoretinal Fellowship at Emory. At the meeting, Dr. Hubbard spoke about pediatric retina and new research in the area of diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. F. Hampton Roy Introduces New Tool for Differential Diagnosis

Visiting Professor Dr. F. Hampton Roy with HEI Director Dr. Barrett G. Haik

Monday, October 20, 2008 -- This week, the Hamilton Eye Institute enjoyed a visit from F. Hampton Roy, MD, FACS from Little Rock, AR. Dr. Roy introduced our physicians, fellows, and residents to the Medflow DDS database web site, an extensive online tool for medical use. The Medflow DDS site provides a new, convenient, and comprehensive method for physicians to explore options for differential diagnosis. During his lecture, Dr. Roy demonstrated how to use the database; with it, one can enter a symptom in a search box and receive a list of possible causes along with links to abstracts and other resources. Dr. Roy is an accomplished ophthalmologist and prolific writer. Full-text versions of two of his books are available on our web site, thanks to his generous permission.

Hamilton Eye Institute welcomes Christopher T. Westfall, MD, FACS, the 11th William N. Williford, MD Distinguished Visiting Professor

Christopher T. Westfall, MD, FACS, the 11th William N. Williford, MD Distinguished Visiting Professor, discusses orbital fractures with residents and faculty

Friday, September 26, 2008 -- This morning, residents and faculty of the Hamilton Eye Institute enjoyed an engaging presentation from Dr. Christopher T. Westfall from the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. Westfall presented a variety of orbital fracture and other eye injury cases, which prompted an interactive discussion with the residents as they worked together to determine the best methods of identifying and treating these injuries. Faculty members were also on hand to share insights and ideas with Dr. Westfall, whose presentation was enjoyable and highly educational for everyone in attendance.

Children's Vision Rehabilitation Project: Outstanding Seminar Heightens Interest in Low Vision Rehabilitation

Photo highlights from the Low Vision Rehabilitation seminar

Friday, August 15, 2008 -- Terry Schwartz, MD, and Rebecca Coakley, MEd, of the West Virginia University Eye Institute visited the Hamilton Eye Institute today to present "Children's Vision Rehabilitation Project: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Low Vision Rehabilitation in Children." Physicians, therapists, students, and even some parents and teachers of children with low vision were in attendance for this lively and enlightening discussion.

The morning began with a warm welcome and introduction by Dr. Thomas O'Donnell and Orli Weisser-Pike, Director and Assistant Director of Low Vision Services at HEI, respectively. Then, Dr. Schwartz and Ms. Coakley shared their perspectives with an overview of the Children's Vision Rehabilitation Project followed by low vision case studies and a discussion of the tools available for diagnosing low vision in children.

Next, all attendees were invited to participate in a fascinating hands-on demonstration of the many technological, optical, and non-optical tools available for low vision rehabilitation. The presentation was very engaging and shared many useful insights for a better understanding of low vision diagnosis and rehabilitation in children.

Eye Institute is Completed

August 4, 2008: new signage is unveiled at a ceremony celebrating HEI's completion

Monday, August 5, the Hamilton Eye Institute celebrated its official completion and unveiled new signage on the building at 930 Madison Avenue. The Commercial Appeal covered the story in their Business section. (Click the link and scroll to bottom.)
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Four Articles in Recent Memphis Medical News

In July, the Hamilton Eye Institute was the focus of four articles in the Memphis Medical News. These stories discuss the exciting development of our telemedicine program, the success of the new surgical center, and Dr. Barrett Haik's recent honor as recipient of the 2nd Freeman Vision Award, while a "Physician Spotlight" article also highlights the work of HEI glaucoma specialist Dr. Sarwat Salim.
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Giving Thanks for Donor Generosity

In a recent issue of Achievement, a special edition of Alumnus magazine, much gratitude was expressed toward the donors who make possible the life-changing, sight-saving work we do here at the Hamilton Eye Institute.
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Landmark Vietnam Teleconference

The Hamilton Eye Institute in collaboration with St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital recently held its first telesurgical conference with a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The article appears on page 7 of the recent UT Record newsletter.
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Occupational Therapy for Low Vision at HEI

The Hamilton Eye Institute has added Occupational Therapy to its interdisciplinary approach to treating patients. Director of Low Vision Services, Dr. Thomas O'Donnell, and occupational therapist Orli Weisser-Pike are treating patients and training residents and students about this growing area of practice.
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Recent news from St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

The winter 2007 issueLink to Acrobat file features an article on a promising new treatment for childhood eye cancer, while the spring 2007 issueLink to Acrobat file tells the story of one family's battle against inherited retinoblastoma.

You may also listen to a recent "St. Jude Medical Minute" (MP3), in which the chair of our institute, Dr. Barrett Haik, remarks on our outreach efforts in cooperation with St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital to save children's sight in Panama.

UT Hamilton Eye Institute and St. Jude ALSAC representatives Provide new RetCam™ System to Honduras Pediatric Care Center

Dr. Barrett Haik, Dr. Judith Wilimas, Mr. George Velez, Ms. Blanca Phillips, and other international outreach representatives from St. Jude ALSAC traveled to Honduras February 17-21 to install a RetCam™, a retinal diagnostic system that is the standard of care for imaging pediatric retinoblastoma (eye cancer). It is also used extensively in the evaluation of retinopathy of prematurity, a potentially blinding disease that is increasing due to the growing number of surviving preterm infants, and in diagnosing shaken baby syndrome, congenital glaucoma, and most other pediatric eye diseases.

The visiting physicians also trained local Honduras doctors--who are experienced in the treatment of retinoblastoma using laser and cryotherapy--how to use the new equipment as well as the Orbisexternal link and Cure4Kidsexternal link web sites, which will be used for consults.

The goals of this project are to improve the survival rate of children with retinoblastoma in Central America and save the sight of these children by improving the infrastructure for therapy, providing necessary equipment and consultative support, and training physicians. It will also help save families of afflicted children the cost of having to travel to Guatemala for treatment.

View photos from the outreach visit

Hamilton Eye Institute Doctors Among Best in America

Memphis, Tennessee (January 27, 2006) - The 2006 listing of the Best Doctors in America® was released this month, and among the UT physicians on the list were several Hamilton Eye Institute faculty. Drs. Barrett G. Haik, Peter A. Netland, James C. Fleming, Natalie C. Kerr, Edward Chaum, and Matthew Wilson were among those honored.

The Best Doctors in America® database is widely regarded as a high-quality reference guide to the medical profession. The list is based on an exhaustive survey in which more than 35,000 doctors are asked to rate the clinical abilities of their peers. Participants are asked, "If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, to whom would you refer them?"

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Retinoblastoma targeted therapy featured on Memphis Fox 13 News

On December 5, 2006, Fox affiliate WHBQ-TV in Memphis featured this "Health Matters" segment during their 9:00 P.M. news broadcast. The feature focused on the great promise shown by new targeted therapies in treating retinoblastoma to destroy cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue.
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International Symposium aboard ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital

On January 13, 2006, an international teleconference symposium was held aboard the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, with live, two-way video links to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the UT Hamilton Eye Institute, and outreach treatment sites in Guatemala and Honduras. Fox 13 News covered the story.

Marlo Thomas Discusses Retinoblastoma on the Today Show

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2004, Marlo Thomas, National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, appeared on the Today Show to spotlight Zachary Noblett and his family. Zachary has retinoblastoma, a form of cancer causing potentially life-threatening and blinding tumors in the eyes. Without treatment, Zachary and others like him could lose their sight and even their lives. But doctors at UT and St. Jude are working to prevent that. Watch this video to view the Today Show story and learn more about this disease and its treatment.

Retinoblastoma Treatment at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital

On February 3, 2004, WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis ran this story on the treatment of retinoblastoma at St. Jude and UT.
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Hamilton Eye Institute Quickly Gaining Global Reputation

The Commercial Appeal, January 4, 2007Link to Acrobat file

Orbit Center offers expanded patient services for complex eye diseases

by Dr. James C. Fleming, Dr. Barrett G. Haik, and Dr. Gregory S. Carroll

Patients with complex eye diseases should benefit most from a multispecialty treatment program recently launched by UT Medical Group's Department of Ophthalmology and UT Bowld Hospital. The center is made possible through a multiyear grant by the UT Medical Group Development Fund and matching funds from UT Bowld. The Orbit, Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Oncology Center, which is based at UT Bowld, provides surgical and medical management to patients suffering from ophthalmic cancers, inflammatory conditions, and the sequelae of facial and ophthalmic trauma.

"A lot of pieces of this have been available to people in the past few years, but it hasn't been put together until now," says James Christian (Chris) Fleming, M.D., the center's Director and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.

A graduate of UT Memphis, Dr. Fleming is a specialist in the diagnosis and management of orbital disease and trauma with extensive subspecialty training in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

"Dr. Fleming is an internationally recognized authority in the field and a master clinician and surgeon," says Ophthalmology Department Chairman and Professor Barrett G. Haik, M.D. "We are extremely fortunate to have him directing this unique and critically important center for the care of patients with life and vision-threatening disorders. We are also grateful to Dr. Jeffrey Woodside of UT Bowld Hospital and Mr. Steve Burkett of UT Medical Group, Inc. for their support and encouragement during the formation of this center," he says.

Dr. Fleming says the center will unite the skills and resources of various medical specialties, such as head and neck surgery and neurology, into a single, coordinated team of experts. Although these resources already exist individually within the university system, he says the center will offer patients a more easily accessible framework that will facilitate physician-to-physician consultation and comprehensive treatment. At the same time, he hopes the multispecialty effort will raise the care to a new level, lending greater support to the university's research and education objectives.

Prior to his appointment as Director of the center, Dr. Fleming maintained an ophthalmologic practice in Memphis for more than 15 years. Since 1987, he has been the Chief of Service, Trauma and Emergency Ophthalmology, for the UT Memphis Department of Ophthalmology. He is the 1996-97 President of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology and is past President of both the Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society and the Memphis Eye Society.

In addition to Dr. Fleming, patient care services at the center will be provided by Drs. Haik and Gregory S. Carroll. For more information, call 448-6650.

This article is reprinted with permission from UT Bowld Hospital's BOWLD STAFF Newsletter.

Le Bonheur, UT Developing Pediatric Retinal Laboratory

With the financial backing of the Mid-South Lions Club, the University of Tennessee, Memphis Department of Ophthalmology and Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center are collaborating to create a retinal electrophysiology center for the Mid-South. UT Memphis recruited ophthalmologist Alessandro Iannaccone, M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania to help create the lab and to become director of the Center for Visual Electrophysiology.

The Lions Club donated more than $42,000 to the project, says Lions Executive Director Brad Baker.

Since arriving in Memphis in November, Iannaccone, who is a member of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision, has been working on plans for the center.

"Electrophysiology is actually one of the best ways to assess damage," says Iannaccone, adding that electrophysiology can detect subtle dysfunction that occurs before anatomical dysfunction becomes noticeable.

Ophthalmologist Barrett Haik, M.D., chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UT Memphis, says the Mid-South has a definite need for this type of center, as the closest currently is located in St. Louis. The goal of the new electrophysiology center is to find defects early enough when they are reversible to alter treatments to protect a child's vision, says Haik.

Iannaccone says that the field of hereditary eye diseases probably will benefit the most from electrophysiology assessment of visual function. Hereditary eye diseases are often separated into two main categories: those that affect the optic nerve and those that affect the retina, such as retinitis pigmentosa, which is an X chromosome-linked genetic disease.

"There are children born with hereditary defects that will cause them to lose vision over a significant period of time," Haik says. "Being able to identify those children and properly prepare them for the future is very important, as well as to counsel them in terms of their risks of passing on diseases to the next generation and to monitor any new treatments that may be beneficial in halting these conditions."

Haik says that some drugs used for treatment of cancer have side effects that can compromise vision in some children, and electrophysiology can help predict this occurrence. Then doctors can alter the treatment that a child is receiving.

"That's exactly what we're hoping to do," Haik says. "We see patients who are going to receive certain types of radiation or chemotherapy for tumors that are in the eye and also for tumors that are around the eye. We'll be monitoring their retinal function before and after radiation and chemotherapy.

"It may be that we can't alter the treatment, because we have to protect the child's life first. On the other hand, we may find strategies that allow us to give medicine that can block that damage inside the eye itself" he says.

"You've got to make sure that there's a reasonable outcome that justifies" exposing a child to radiation, Haik says.

Working with children often poses problems for doctors hoping to obtain verbal responses from their patients. One of the most important reasons for developing a visual electrophysiology center for children is the fact that electrophysiology assessments do not require verbal cooperation on the part of the child.

"Most of the children we deal with are preverbal," says Haik. Electrophysiology assessments, unlike visual fields and eye charts, do not require a child to give an answer back to the doctor.

"It a very objective test that tells you what's functioning or what isn't, and the child doesn't have to tell you a word," Haik says.

Because a typical exam includes a test that requires putting an electrode on the eye, small children may not want to undergo testing. "We are going to have the potential also to do exams under anesthesia, so that is always an option" for a child who is unwilling or unable to cooperate or is anxious," says Iannaccone.

The center is under construction on the ground floor of Le Bonheur near the emergency department entrance on Adams. It will contain an office, a testing room, a waiting room and a recovery room. The center also will have a special adaptation room, which children will enter before undergoing testing.

"You want their retina to adapt a stable condition, and darkness is the most stable," Iannaccone says. Adaptation typically takes about 30 minutes.

"We have special electrodes that we use to record a signal," says Iannaccone. He says that one way is to use flashes of light, and the responses are monitored by the electrodes to be displayed on a computer screen.

"Electrophysiology itself isn't the end to everything, but it's a very important tool," Haik says. "It will guide either treatment of further molecular genetic testing that we're working on, and hopefully various treatments in the future, such as gene therapy."

This article originally appeared in the August 8, 1997 issue of Health Care News. It is reprinted with permission.

Fleming elected president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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