Rhodes, a member of the YO Advocacy subcommittee, described the importance of young ophthalmologists getting involved early in their careers in donating to state and federal Political Action Committees, getting involved with state medical organizations and making connections with lawmakers as a way to protect patients and the profession.
“I spoke to them about the need for involvement in the advocacy side of our profession by taking time out of clinics to build relationships with state legislators as well as U.S. Congressmen and Senators,” Rhodes said. “We need to communicate with lawmakers about our needs and wishes in this changing healthcare climate.”
She also recently stepped in to speak at the state society presidents-elect meeting in Chicago about her experience as an Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology-sponsored Advocacy Ambassador. Rhodes said she hoped to encourage the state society presidents to continue support for the Advocacy Ambassador program at the Mid-Year Forum in Washington, DC, an annual meeting in which ophthalmologists meet with legislators on Capitol Hill.
Rhodes is a member of the ALAO board of directors.
Dr. Russell Read named associate editor-in-chief for eye journal - December 12, 2012
Dr. DeCarlo receives Cox Award and appointed Scientific Program Chair - December 10, 2012
UAB Ophthalmology Assists Prevent Blindness America in Updating Sports Eye Injury Report - December 10, 2012
As better medical care and better equipment saves those who once would have died, more than 5,200 service member are living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) since Operation Iraqi Freedom began - the highest proportion in our nation's history. Read More...
Glaucoma patients often have a drainage device called a shunt surgically implanted to reduce intraocular pressure in the eye. The shunt tubes are typically covered by a patch graft to ensure the tube does not erode, which could lead to severe infections.
A commonly used material for the graft is pericardium, tissue from the sac that surrounds the heart and is routinely obtained from deceased human donors by tissue banks. The UAB team studied cornea tissue obtained from eye banks. In patients undergoing tube implantation for the first time, the cornea grafts were less likely to thin or erode over time than grafts from pericardium, leaving patients at lower risk for infection or subsequent reparative surgery.
“This is the first study to directly compare glycerol-preserved corneal tissue to another patch graft material in glaucoma shunt surgery,” says Christopher A. Girkin, M.D., chair of the UAB Department of Ophthalmology and senior author of the study. “It demonstrates that corneal tissue is more effective than pericardium in preventing tube erosion and may also delay the time to erosion. Additionally, it provides a superior cosmetic result than other available materials.”
The corneas were preserved in glycerol, which confers long shelf life at room temperature, by Global Sight Network, based in Birmingham, a service of the Alabama Eye Bank. GSN is a non-profit consortium of 33 U.S. eye banks that preserves in glycerol medically eligible corneas not meeting criteria for optical keratoplasty for distribution to qualified facilities worldwide. The UAB Department of Ophthalmology has worked with the Alabama Eye Bank over the past three years to develop and improved the use of glycerol-preserved corneas in glaucoma surgery to enhance the care of advanced glaucoma patients.
“We’re delighted about the study results, and we are excited about the impact GSN’s corneas will have on the many people suffering from glaucoma,” says Doyce Williams, GSN president and CEO.
“Some of the corneas donated to eye banks for transplant into patients with cornea disease are not optically clear enough and thus are unsuited for that task,” says Christine Curcio, Ph.D., professor of ophthalmology at UAB and director of the Global Sight Network. “However, this research indicates that they are suited for use as patch grafts for glaucoma patients, providing for very efficient utilization of this valuable tissue resource.”
Glaucoma is a complex disease in which damage to the optic nerve leads to progressive, irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the world. While increased pressure inside the eye — called intraocular pressure, or IOP — is usually present in the disease, even patients with normal range IOP can develop glaucoma.
The study was done with the assistance of the physicians of the UAB Glaucoma Service at the Callahan Eye Hospital: Girkin, Jason C. Swanner, M.D., and D. Wade Joiner, M.D., along with ophthalmology Fellow Eric Wigton, M.D. The UAB Glaucoma Service is the only group subspecialty practice in Alabama that focuses exclusively on treating patients with glaucoma and is actively involved in clinical and laboratory research to develop new treatments and management options for glaucoma patients. Joiner and Andrew Mays, M.D., became full-time members in the Department of Ophthalmology on Oct. 1.
Jennifer Scruggs, M.D. was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Ophthalmology.
Martin Cogen, M.D. was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor of Ophthalmology.
Russell Read, M.D., PhD. was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor of Ophthalmology (Tenured).
Shu – Zhen Wang, PhD. was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor of Ophthalmology (Tenured).
Girkin joined UAB in 1999.
On April 13th-15th, 2012, the Songs for Sight Youth Low Vision Support Group in conjunction with the Alabama Association for Parents of Children with Vision Impairment participated in a weekend family retreat at the Children’s Harbor Lake Martin Facility in Alexander City, Alabama. We had 143 attendees from 33 families for this very special event. Our activities at the retreat included a special hands-on activity with Apple iPads that was led by one of our featured speakers, Shane Jackson. Also on the agenda was a wonderful presentation from Dana Manasco. Dana was born with vision impairment but lost more vision as an adult. She is a woman of optimism and determination, who didn’t let blindness hold her back. She is married with 2 children and is currently a student in UAB’s program to become a certified Orientation and Mobility instructor.
On Saturday, in addition to our educational sessions, we took amazing boat rides along Lake Martin and that night we had a Wacky Tacky Party. Sunday activities included a Chapel service as well as more break out session. Participants and volunteers alike had a wonderful time and left with new knowledge and friendships.
This amazing weekend was sponsored through Songs for Sight.
Owsley Featured in PBA News, elected to board
Cynthia Owsley, PhD., Nathan E. Miles Chair of Ophthalmology, Professor, and Vice Chair for Clinical Research has been elected to the Prevent Blindness America Board of Directors
See the full story on pages 15 and 17 of PBA News HERE