Welcome from the Department Chair
The previous two years were certainly challenging as we contended with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our team at the Jones Eye Institute rose to the challenge and advanced our academic mission of clinical care, research, and education.
Regarding research, our faculty and residents have performed cutting-edge investigations in all areas of ophthalmology. Their research findings have been presented at international meetings and reported in peer-reviewed journals. We are particularly proud of our Leland and Betty Tollett Ocular Genetics Center. The center, directed by Sami Uwaydat, M.D., is one of the few in the country in which an ophthalmologist, geneticist and genetic counselor work together to evaluate and perform specialized testing on patients with genetic diseases. This has resulted in groundbreaking research that now enables us to diagnose and characterize rare genetic diseases. In addition, we are now entering the modern era of genetic therapy in which normal genetic material is injected into the eye to replace the function of abnormal genes and therefore improve vision. We are now able to treat conditions that previously resulted in blindness.
Regarding education, we continue to train residents and medical students who will be the physician leaders of the future. Many of our students will subsequently provide expert ophthalmologic care throughout the state of Arkansas and surrounding areas. We are particularly proud of the Walker Eye Surgical Simulation and Education Center. Surgical simulation is the wave of the future. In years past, residents have had their first experience with surgery on patients under the supervision of an attending surgeon. Practice was limited to pig eyes, but that did not accurately model surgery on a human patient. We now have an advanced simulation center, directed by Ahmed Sallam, M.D., that provides an accurate computer-generated model of ocular surgery. This enables residents to practice on a computer prior to performing surgery on human patients. In addition, seasoned eye surgeons are able to improve their skills on new procedures. This has resulted in success rates of ocular surgery performed by our residents equal to that of experienced physicians. We are continually developing models to simulate different ophthalmologic surgical procedures. Jones Eye Institute is one of the leading centers in the country that provides this state-of-the-art simulation.
These are just some of the many excellent achievements of our team during the previous year. We continue to pursue excellence in our academic mission despite the challenges of a pandemic. It is truly an honor to be a part of the Jones Eye Institute team. I look forward to our many future achievements in patient care, research, and education, all of which will result in improving vision, both locally as well as internationally.
Paul H. Phillips, M.D.
Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology
Director, Jones Eye Institute
Professor, Neuro-Ophthalmology, Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus
Stella Boyle Smith/Gissur Petursson, M.D., Chair