The Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Eye Institute, a multi-specialty ophthalmology practice providing comprehensive care for patients throughout the Piedmont Triad, western North Carolina and surrounding regions, has outgrown its current space. Our goal is to establish a new world-class clinical, surgical and educational Eye Institute for our region.
The new Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Eye Institute is a bold and important step in serving our growing community need and widening the array of services that we offer to those needing expert eye care in our region. Our patients will benefit from a new and larger space to guarantee the best possible patient experience with a growing team of providers, and the location will ensure that our entire community benefits from more accessible eye care – including traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
The new Eye Institute will accommodate:
- Clinic/exam services – adults and pediatrics
- Operating rooms and support spaces
- Diagnostic and testing, including imaging, laser suites and support spaces
- Optometry exam areas and optical shop
- Spaces for research, education and collaboration opportunities
On any given day, our Eye Center hosts about twice as many patients as it was designed to accommodate. In 2018 there were some 75,000 patient visits in our Janeway Tower location, which was designed for 35,000 annual visits. Because excellent vision and outcomes are critical to patients' quality of life, many have tolerated these conditions in order to be treated by our outstanding faculty and team.
While improving the patient experience, we also must prepare for an anticipated increase in the demand for care:
- Pediatrics: Need for early identification and treatment of eye disease.
- Aging: With our aging population, it is estimated that macular degeneration cases will reach 288 million by 2040.
- Diabetes: Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and diabetic blindness is on the rise.
- Other eye diseases: Incidence of cataracts, glaucoma and other vision-threatening eye diseases are rapidly increasing in our country.
A new Eye Institute will allow us to meet the increasing demand for well-trained professionals needed to provide top-quality care for our growing population of patients. Over the past decade, we have:
- Doubled the size of our residency program to four residents per year.
- Started fellowship programs in cornea, retina, and oculoplastics.
- Continued to teach medical students — those who will become ophthalmologists and those who will pursue primary care and other disciplines but who will benefit from a basic knowledge of eye disorders.
With a great and growing need for ophthalmic technicians who perform initial patient evaluations, we are partnering with the state community college system to design a certification and education program to include hands-on learning in our Eye Institute. To accommodate our current and future needs, our new Eye Institute will include a large teaching space, small education rooms and a surgical wet lab to enhance training opportunities.
Our Eye Center has worked with the National Eye Institute and with the pharmaceutical industry on clinical trials that are advancing new treatments and cures for common eye diseases, particularly diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. We are committed to investigating and developing promising new techniques as we continue our fight against blinding ocular diseases that affect everyone, from children to adults to senior patients. A new Eye Institute will make this - and more - possible.