A comprehensive pediatric eye care center is continuing to take shape on Baptist Memorial Health Care
's East Memphis campus, and in late January the center will move from the Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women
to the the hospital's new Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children's Hospital, which is currently under construction. The eye care center is being funded by a $550,000 grant from the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation, and the grant will allow for the hiring of one new position sometime in the near future.
"We have a particularly strong eye medical community in Memphis, but I always felt we could do more in the area of pediatric eye diseases," says Dr. Jorge I. Calzada of the Baptist Pediatric Eye Center. Calzada is a partner at the Charles Retina Institute
private practice and a professor at the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute
Baptist touts the center as the only place in Memphis that offers all ages, including pediatric patients and neonates, the full continuum of eye care, eliminating the previous need for families and patients to travel several hours for specialized pediatric eye care. Hospital officials believe the closest comparable care is found in Little Rock or Tupelo, Miss.
"Parents of children with serious eye problems are willing to travel anywhere," explains Calzada. "We've seen a real need for our services in the communities surrounding Memphis and up 700 miles away."
The integrated facility will provide care for the 5,000-plus babies born at the hospital each year and will be a regional resource for patients from around the Mid-South. The center will treat retinopathy--the number one cause of vision loss in childhood--and other eye issues that can lead to vision impairment.
Patients are treated with state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostics, including retinal geography, retinal electrophysiology and optimal coherence topography.
Calzada expects to hire at least one more surgeon in the coming months.