The mission of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is to improve eye care in Nebraska through premier educational programs, innovative research, high quality patient care and outreach to underserved populations.

Clinical

The health care professionals in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science are involved in the health care of over 20,000 patients annually. Most of these patients are from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa; however, some travel from distant states as well as internationally.

The department provides a variety of specialized services to suit the specific needs of the individual patient. For example, some patients are seen in consultation at the request of their primary health care provider or private ophthalmologist. They are then returned to their referring doctor for follow up. Some patients may be seen only to obtain a second opinion. Other patients use our clinic for their complete and on-going eye care needs. In this case one of our staff physicians becomes identified as their private eye care provider.

Thousands of patients every year are evaluated and treated in our sub-specialty clinics, which offer special services for patients with specific problems. These clinics include:

Glaucoma

A prevalent disease in the United States and a leading cause of blindness in the world. It results in irreversible damage to the nerves of the eye responsible for transmitting the visual images to the brain. This damage occurs in association with abnormal pressures within the eye.

Cornea and External Disease

A sub-specialty concerned with diseases and disorders of the cornea as well as the superficial layers lining the front of the eyeball and back surfaces of the eyelids. This includes both infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Retina and Vitreous

This primarily involves the management of diseases, which affect the important visual structures located in the back area of the eye. These common, serious abnormalities include diabetic eye disease and the various forms of macular degeneration. It also includes the management of eye complications seen in children with low birth weight (prematurely).

Oculoplastics

A surgical sub-specialty for the management of functional and cosmetic problems of the eyelids and orbit (eye socket). This includes excision and other treatments for cancers and other tumors affecting these areas.

Uveitis

This is a sub-specialty dealing with a variety of serious inflammatory disorders that occur inside the eye. In some cases these same inflammations may be part of a general illness and involve other organs of the body.

Neuro-Ophthalmology

This is a sub-specialty concerned with diseases of the optic nerve and the visual pathways in the brain as well as the nerves that control movement of the eye and eyelids.

Comprehensive Ophthalmology

This concerns the diagnosis and treatment of common eye problems such as prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses. It also includes specific procedures such as cataract surgery and various refractive surgery techniques.

Low Vision

This is a self contained site clinic, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of the visually impaired. Specially-trained providers evaluate and train patients to use special devices which maximize their visual potential.

Research

As a result of a generous grant from University of Nebraska alumnus Dr. Stanley Truhlsen, the department obtained a floor in the new Durham Research Facility. During the summer of 2004, all of the department's research laboratories, previously scattered about the campus, were moved to this central facility.

Teaching

The department currently has six residents in training, each for a three-year period. In addition, there are two fellowship programs. In glaucoma a one year fellowship and a two year fellowship in retinal diseases. All medical students receive a series of didactic lectures from our faculty during their second year. During their third and fourth years, students have the opportunity to spend an elective period at one of our training sites. These sites include the University Eye Clinic, the Omaha VAMC Eye Clinic and the private offices of our volunteer faculty members, Dr. Richard Legge and Dr. Robert and Sebastian Troia.

Read about the history of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

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