News in brief

From the Center
Eye Center news badge with image of Dr. Yan in Argus II surgery

US News & World Report Rankings

Emory Eye Center again ranked among the top ophthalmology centers in this country within the prestigious U.S. News & World Report’s guide to America’s top medical institutions. This year, Emory Eye Center placed at #12, moving up from #14 last year.

The 2015-16 edition, “America’s Best Hospitals,” guide ranks the top hospitals in medical specialties. The top hospitals ranked in ophthalmology were named as among the “best for challenging cases and procedures” by at least 5 percent of ophthalmology specialists who responded to U.S. News surveys in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Those nominated by at least 3 percent but less than 5 percent of physicians are designated high-performing Best Regional Hospitals.

Press release

Streamlining residency education training at Grady

Grady Memorial Hospital, with its unique mission of providing health care to the underserved, is a rich training ground for our residents and fellows. In fact, many come to Emory just to train at this large inner-city hospital. Its trauma center and the size of the patient population give doctors greater opportunity to treat common to rare eye diseases and disorders and their complications.

Cornea specialist Yousuf Khalifa, who began as chief of service of ophthalmology at Grady's Eye Center in 2014, has instituted improvements in patient flow and space utilization, as well as sourcing new equipment. With staff input, he has created a freshly streamlined, efficient clinic. Additional ophthalmic technicians, a surgical scheduler, and a diagnostic technician have joined the staff.   Khalifa brought in a wet lab, available to residents at all times, for much-needed access to surgical technique training. Surgical and clinical volumes have increased and the quality of care is improved with decreased throughput and more timely surgical scheduling. In the first quarter of 2016, highly anticipated renovations are scheduled.

St, Josephs facade

Perimeter clinic in convenient new north metro location

On Saturday, Dec. 20, our Perimeter Clinic (featuring Emory Vision) moved from Johnson Ferry Road, where the Eye Center practiced from 2004, to the Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital area of northern metropolitan Atlanta. Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital is recognized as one of the top specialty-referral hospitals in the Southeast.  Emory Healthcare formed a joint operating company in a partnership with the St. Joseph’s Health System in early 2012 that combines the strengths of both to provide key benefits and resources to a growing and aging population.

Services: Cornea/refractive surgery: Joung (John) Kim, MD; J. Bradley Randleman, MD (res. ’99-02, cornea fellow ’04); Retina: Andrew Hendrick, MD; Ghazala O’Keefe, MD; Timothy Olsen, MD (retina fellow ’94-96); Comprehensive: Petra Jo, OD (optometry); Xiaoqin (Alexa) Lu, MD; Ann Van Wie, OD; Neuro-ophthalmology: Jason Peragallo, MD (neuro-ophthalmology fellow ’13); Pediatrics: Natalie Weil, MD (pediatric ophthalmology fellow '15).

Location: Doctors Office Building #3, Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, 5671 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30342
Appointments: 404-778-2020
Emory Vision website

Atlanta Magazine detail

Five physicians named “Top Doctors” in Atlanta magazine

In Atlanta magazine “Top Doctors” issue of January 2015, five of Emory Eye Center’s physicians were listed among the top doctors in Atlanta, a listing of 347 physicians. Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a New York-based health care research firm, compiled the list of doctors nationwide, representing leading physicians in key regions and cities in the U.S. Eye Center physicians:

Allen Beck (res. '90-93; glaucoma fellow '93-94) — Glaucoma
Valérie Biousse (res. ' 99-02) — Neuro-ophthalmology
Scott Lambert — Pediatric ophthalmology
Timothy Olsen (retina fellow ’94-96) — Retina

Nancy Newman — Neurology and neuro-ophthalmology

Press release
avrc lab tech

web site showcases Vision Research Community)

A new web site was launched on 30 January 2016 to showcase the Emory Eye Center-based Atlanta Vision Research Community (AVRC).  AVRC is a multi-institutional network of top vision research investigators in the greater Atlanta area that provides support and scientific expertise for conducting vision research for individual, collaborative and pilot NEI-funded investigators and institutions.

AVRC's core facility is located in research laboratories at Emory Eye Center on the Emory University/Emory Healthcare campus.  Highly recognized for clinical research trials and basic science research, Emory Eye Center's research scientists are making contributions to advances in medical science every day. The core facility serves as a centralized vision research resource in Atlanta where faculty from multiple academic disciplines at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Atlanta VA Medical Center undertake joint studies in vision research.

AVRC web site
telemedicine illustration

$2 million for va Telemedicine initiative

Comprehensive ophthalmologist April Maa, who serves at the VA and Grady, secured an impressive grant at the VA for eye disease telescreening. Maa points out that the overall U.S. population is aging, and many older people choose to retire in rural areas. Rural patients are at higher risk for eye disease because they are older and lack access to routine preventative eye care. They often live in medically underserved areas and cannot overcome the barriers of cost and distance to travel to find an eye provider. As a result, they may present in much later stages of disease.

To help rural veterans in the VA, Maa along with VA physicians Mary Lynch and Steven Urken, developed Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS), which provides a routine screening eye exam for veterans at their primary care clinic. TECS uses technology and puts components of a standard eye exam together in a novel way to help improve access and reach to specialty eye services for the veterans who need it most. The program has been very successful, receiving more than $2 million in funding from the VA over the last two years. The technology has improved patient access, detected asymptomatic eye disease and experienced high rates of patient satisfaction.

"TECS improves access to routine eye care services and extends the reach of eye care to the populations most at risk,” says Maa. “By partnering with our primary care colleagues and bringing eye care closer to the veteran, we hope to proactively screen them for common eye disease and prevent blindness."

13th congressional district health fair

13th Congressional District Health Fair

Emory Eye Center physicians and medical volunteers from organizations throughout Atlanta came together to provide vision screenings at U.S. Rep. David Scott’s 13th Congressional District Health Fair. The vision screening event was coordinated by the Emory School of Medicine (SOM) Ophthalmology Interest Group (OIG) fourth-year medical student leaders Jeffrey Tran and Philip Garza under the supervision of retina physician Purnima Patel (res. ’06-09) of the Emory Eye Center.

As OIG’s faculty sponsor, Patel was very involved in the extensive planning and preparation for the large-scale event.  For the first time, with her efforts, the Center initiated a collaborative venture between Atlanta organizations Prevent Blindness Georgia, Georgia Lions Lighthouse, Emory School of Medicine, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Emory Eye Center residency program assistant director and glaucoma specialist, Jeremy Jones (res. ’09-12, glaucoma fellowship ’13), residents Sahitya Reddy (PGY2) and Himanshu Banda (PGY3), joined over 30 medical students from Emory and Morehouse for the five-hour outreach.

“Patients were able to receive visual acuity testing, eye pressure checks, visual field testing, fundus examinations, and fundus photos all in one place,” says Patel. “In previous years the services were provided at different stations. By having all groups in one location, we were able to efficiently screen a high-volume of patients in a short amount of time."

Event impact:
• 191 patients completed glaucoma screening
• 80 patients failed screening and received further work-up with FDT perimetry and funduscopy and/or fundus photographs
• 28 new glaucoma suspects were identified (28 of 191 provides a positive screening rate of 14.7% for glaucoma)
• 6 cases of non-glaucoma eye disease were identified, including a case of macular degeneration and a case of severe vision loss from macular scarring

Emory Eye Center: 2 attendings, 2 residents
Emory SOM: 22 medical students
Morehouse SOM: 10 medical students
Prevent Blindness Georgia: 2 volunteers + equipment
Georgia Lions Lighthouse: 1 volunteers + equipment

Anderson Fellows — our 10th

Anderson Fellows — our 10th

For more than two decades, the Anderson Fellowship program has enabled clinicians and scientists from Korea to train at Emory Eye Center. Paul Anderson Sr. (’38C; ’40L) established the fellowship in 1987 to honor his father, Earl Wills Anderson (1901C), a medical missionary who was instrumental in helping found one of Korea’s first ophthalmology departments at Severance Hospital and the medical school now affiliated with Yonsei University in Seoul. The endowment supports approximately a year of study for one Yonsei fellow at the Eye Center every two years.

The longstanding alliance between EEC and Yonsei University has provided for the valuable exchange of skills between countries. The first Anderson Fellow, Eung Kwan Kim (affectionately known as “E.K.”), is now a world-renowned professor who specializes in cornea and refractive surgery at Yonsei. His fellowship at Emory was under the direction of the late Henry F. Edelhauser, EEC’s director of research at the time. And, the connections continue. Kim’s daughter, Woon Cho Kim, is enrolled in the School of Medicine at Emory with intentions of pursuing international medicine. She is in a surgical residency at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her brother, Kyu Seo Kim, is now a medical student at Emory.

This past year, Brad Randleman (res. ’99-02; cornea fellow ’04), Director, Cornea, External Disease, & Refractive Surgery helped train Sang Woo Kim, the 10th Anderson Fellow. Kim spent the year working with Randleman in clinics and on a variety of research projects. His research focus was on corneal biomechanics, keratoconus diagnosis and cross-linking treatment protocols.

Randleman happily reports that Kim’s work has resulted in one publication already (BMJ – “Comparison of central and peripheral corneal thickness measurements with scanning-slit, Scheimpflug and Fourier-domain ocular coherence Tomography” (Randleman, Michael J Lynn, Claudia E Perez-Straziota (res. ’09-12; cornea fellow ’13) and Heather Weissman (res. ’12-15) and Sang Woo Kim), as well as a second paper accepted in JRS, and he presented the initial findings from his other project at  ASCRS in 2015. Randleman presented two papers at AAO 2015 and ISRS with Kim as a co-author. Work with Sang as a co-author was also submitted to the ASCRS and ARVO meetings for 2016."