Innovations: Letter from Leadership

Dear friends and colleagues,

Ophthalmology as a discipline is experiencing explosive innovation on many fronts, and OHSU Casey Eye Institute is at the forefront of some of the most exciting developments.

As a leader in informatics, advanced imaging and gene therapy, we’re recognizing that we can assemble these amazing advancements to change the future of vision health in our state and beyond.

From right to left Drs. Chiang, Wilson and Lauer
We are proud to be a world-renowned academic eye center working to eliminate preventable blindness through research, education, innovative and community service. Left to right: Dr. Michael Chiang, Dr. David Wilson, Dr. Andreas Lauer of OHSU Casey Eye Institute.

Vision for change

We have reached an intriguing historical intersection in ophthalmology where two influential factors, breakthrough technology and evolving health care economics, offer the opportunity for a philosophical shift in delivery of care from solely the individual to a population-based approach. Following this concept, what if we start judging our success based on the eye health of a population rather than tallying individual outcomes as a measure? For example, determining the percentage of the population that becomes legally blind from macular degeneration. OHSU Casey Eye Institute is prepared for this moment of opportunity due to forward-thinking investment in technology and talent coupled with a clear mission to serve the people of Oregon as our state’s only academic health center. We’ve begun taking some steps in this direction that have the potential to evolve into a comprehensive approach measurable on a statewide basis:

  • We’ve partnered with about 70 organizations geographically distributed throughout our state for clinical outreach and screenings.
  • We are training community providers, technicians and even volunteers to perform screenings in community locations, such as our volunteer delivered screenings for about 8,000 preschool children each year.
  • We’ve begun some programs delivered via telemedicine or the internet, such as diagnosing retinopathy of prematurity in neonatal units.

A critical goal is to increase access to eye health care. In our personal practices, there are numerous instances of irreversible vision loss that are a result of not having timely access to care. Though these programs are a start, we can also visualize an opportunity to shift to greater preventive care if we can screen target populations and identify issues before they become symptomatic. For example, one day we may have technicians based at local pharmacies or community centers who can use optical coherence tomography for screenings and send results to a central reading center at OHSU Casey Eye Institute to identify at-risk people for referral. With a strong tradition of teamwork, diversity and interdisciplinary care, OHSU Casey Eye Institute is a natural environment for innovation. We are proud to share with you some highlights of the promising work that is transforming how we provide care to people affected by various eye diseases.

Sincerely,

David. J. Wilson, M.D.
Professor and Paul H. Casey Chair,
Department of Ophthalmology Director, Casey Eye Institute

Andreas Lauer, M.D.
Professor and Thiele-Petti Chair,
Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology

Michael F. Chiang, M.D.
Knowles Professor,
Department of Ophthalmology
Associate Director, Casey Eye Institute