The Hamilton Eye Institute at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Ophthalmology provides comprehensive eye exams and specialty eye care for Memphis and the Mid-South. It also attracts patients from throughout the nation and world. Hamilton Eye Institute is nationally renowned among the top 10 ophthalmology institutes in the country for its expertise in treating complex eye conditions. For more than a decade, members of our faculty have been listed among Best Doctors in America® for the quality of care they provide to patients.
The Hamilton Eye Institute has built a reputation for continually advancing the field of ophthalmic medicine, from preventive vision care to advanced treatment of complex eye disease or trauma. Our ophthalmology specialty clinics feature state-of-the-art examination equipment that allows our specialists to accurately diagnose issues and develop treatment plans tailored to each patient.
Our renowned physicians provide comprehensive vision care, from annual checkups to advanced treatment of complex eye disease and trauma. Our services include:
- Comprehensive Ophthalmology
- Pediatric Ophthalmology
- Cataract Surgery
- Cornea and Refractive Surgery
- LASIK Surgery
- Low Vision Services
- Retinal Degeneration and Ophthalmic Genetics
- Neuro- Ophthalmology
- Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Oncology
- Ocular Immunology and Uveitis
Regular eye exams are important at any age. Some eye conditions develop slowly, and early detection is essential in preventing vision loss. The comprehensive ophthalmologists at Hamilton Eye Institute specialize in complete eye care, from treating basic eye conditions to complex cases.
To schedule an appointment, please call (901) 448-6650.
The Pediatric Center at Hamilton Eye Institute offers a wide range of eye care services to children of all ages. Our specialists offer comprehensive eye care, from routine examinations to treatment for basic and advanced eye conditions, such as infant and childhood cataracts, pediatric strabismus (crossed eyes), and eye cancer.
Our partnership with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital allows our pediatric ophthalmologists to collaborate with different specialists offering access to advanced treatments and cutting-edge research.
Glaucoma is a condition in which high pressure in the eye leads to progressive damage of the optic nerve. In most cases, there are no symptoms or warning signs associated with glaucoma, and oftentimes it is hereditary. The best way to save vision is in early detection through regular eye exams.
Our fellowship-trained glaucoma specialists at Hamilton Eye Institute screen for and diagnose glaucoma, offering patients access to state-of-the-art technology and the most advanced treatment options.
Low Vision Services
Low vision — having less than 20/60 acuity or the loss of peripheral or central vision — can make carrying out everyday tasks increasingly difficult. The Lions Low Vision Service at Hamilton Eye Institute helps improve the lives of people with low vision by equipping patients with the tools they need to perform routine tasks with confidence.
Diagnostic exams and training are covered by most insurance plans. The Lions Low Vision Service program also includes in-home visits with medical personnel.
Neuro-ophthalmology is a subspecialty within ophthalmology that combines ophthalmology with neurology to treat vision problems related to neurological conditions. Some common diseases include:
- Diseases of the optic nerve (optic neuritis, ischemic optic neuropathy, optic nerve swelling, optic nerve tumors)
- Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
- Pupil abnormalities
- Double vision, eye movement abnormalities (strabismus)
- Unexplained vision loss and visual disturbances
- Visual field loss, defects
- Eyelid abnormalities (blepharospasm, drooping eyelids)
- Thyroid eye disease
- Visual changes related to head injury
- Neurological diseases with associated visual disturbances (stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, other neurodegenerative diseases)
The neuro-ophthalmologists at Hamilton Eye Institute perform thorough examinations that utilize our institute’s advanced diagnostic imaging and testing technology. We have the only surgical neuro-ophthalmology practice in the greater Memphis region, offering clinical and surgical expertise in both adult and pediatric neuro-ophthalmology.
Retinal Degeneration and Ophthalmology Oncology
The retina is located inside the eye and contains specialized cells called photoreceptors that detect light and send signals to the brain, which are then interpreted as vision. The retina is highly complex, and there are many disease processes that can affect its function.
The retina relies on an intricate network of blood vessels for nourishment; therefore, any disease that damages the blood vessels, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes, can also damage vision. In some advanced cases, hypertension and diabetes can cause decreased blood flow to the retina, resulting in permanent vision loss.
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to prevent irreversible vision loss. For those patients with hypertension and diabetes, it is imperative to get an annual dilated eye exam to asses for damage and determine the proper course of treatment.
Hypertension and diabetes, however, are just two of the many diseases that can cause damage to the retina. For example, macular degeneration is a commonly encountered disease, in which the macula — the center portion of the retina responsible for fine-detail vision — is damaged, resulting in increased difficulty with everyday activities such as reading and recognizing faces.
The specialists at Hamilton Eye Institute are trained in detecting and treating the full spectrum of retinal diseases and can offer the most advanced treatment options to prevent and treat loss of vision.
Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Oncology
The oculofacial plastic, orbital and reconstructive surgery services at Hamilton Eye Institute specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the eyelids, eyebrow, orbit (eye socket), tear duct and mid-face. Our oculoplastic specialists work with various medical specialties, including ENT, plastic surgery, oral maxillofacial surgery, and neurosurgery to provide advanced state-of-the-art care.
Surgical procedures to treat these diseases are performed onsite at the Hamilton Eye Institute Surgery Center, providing our surgeons with the most advanced equipment and technology available. Our doctors also provide in-hospital surgical and medical care at multiple locations in the Memphis area, including Methodist University and Germantown Hospitals, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Baptist Hospital–Memphis, and the Regional Medical Center.
We provide treatment options for Oculoplastic conditions to include:
- Eyelid malpositions
- Ptosis (drooping eyelids)
- Ectropion (eyelid turning outward)
- Entropion (eyelid turning inward)
- Trichiasis (excess and misdirected eyelashes)
- Eyelid and facial skin cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Sebaceous cell carcinoma
- Orbital disease (tumors, inflammation, bulging eyes)
- Thyroid eye disease (Graves disease)
- Tear duct disorders
- Trauma to the eye and/or face including facial fractures
- Congenital oculoplastic disease
- Cosmetic surgery
- Eyelid lift
- Eyebrow lift
- Lower eyelid sculpting
- Midface lift
- Botox (more information)
- Fillers (Juvéderm®, Restylane®)
The ocular oncology service at Hamilton Eye Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both eye and orbital cancers. We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging technology and technical expertise to accurately diagnose diseases and chart the proper course of treatment.
Our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Methodist University Hospital, and The West Cancer Clinic gives our specialists access to multidisciplinary cancer treatment, composed of pediatric oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and other surgical subspecialties, such as ENT, Neurosurgery, and Facial Plastics. Together, we work to provide the most comprehensive cancer treatment plan for our patients while minimizing potential side effects. These collaborative efforts also produce innovative research designed to enhance patient care.
Additionally, we are able to assist patients in locating housing during treatment through the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.
Diseases managed by our ocular oncology service include:
- Intraocular tumors
- Uveal melanoma (choroidal, iris, ciliary body)
- Suspicious nevus
- Metastasis from non-ocular cancers such as lung and breast
- Vascular tumors
- Ocular surface (conjunctival) tumors
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Eyelid tumors
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Sebaceous cell carcinoma
- Orbital tumors such as
- Vascular tumors (hemangiomas and lymphangiomas)
- Lacrimal gland tumors
- Optic nerve tumors
- Metastasis to the eye and periocular area
A cataract is a painless discoloration or cloudiness that forms in the lens of the eye. The lenses of our eye help to focus light. Over time, cataracts make it more and more difficult to see clearly, causing blurry vision that affects normal activities such as reading and driving.
Symptoms of cataracts include cloudy or blurred vision, faded colors, glares, halos and poor night vision.
Cataract treatment involves surgery. Modern cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries performed worldwide, and can be performed in an outpatient setting. The Hamilton Eye Institute Surgery Center is home to the most advanced microsurgical equipment, allowing our surgeons to perform precision cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear artificial lens that will return the patient to clear vision. We also offer artificial lenses that correct nearsightedness, far sightedness, and astigmatism, making it possible for improved vision without the dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
Cornea and Refractive Surgery
The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that focuses light and acts as a protective barrier. There are multiple diseases, including dry eyes, keratoconus, and corneal dystrophies, that can affect the cornea and lead to vision loss. The latter would include Fuchs’ Dystrophy, infections, scars and various injuries.
Hamilton Eye Institute specialists participate in ongoing research and education to stay at the forefront of management for these conditions, and recent advances in the treatment of corneal diseases make it much easier to prevent and restore vision. These treatments include:
- Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)
- Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK)
- Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP)
- Corneal Collagen Crosslinking
- Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK)
- Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK)
Improve Your Vision. Enhance Your Life.
The UT Laser Vision Center is dedicated to vision correction through LASIK Surgery. Led by Dr. Aaron Waite, the Center is a dedicated practice within Hamilton Eye Institute designed and equipped specifically for this popular treatment option. The UT Laser Vision Center is a state of the art vision correction center, which offers independence from glasses and contact lenses.
LASIK is one of the safest procedures performed in the world. LASIK has been refined over the last two decades since its FDA approval. The most recent FDA studies showed 96-99 percent of LASIK patients achieved 20/20 vision and 100 percent could see at least 20/25 without glasses or contact lenses after the procedure. Using contact lenses over years has an increased risk of corneal infection compared to LASIK.
Does LASIK wear off?
No. The cornea is remarkably stable after being reshaped by LASIK. The eye does continue to age after LASIK resulting in changes in the lens. This can result in a change in vision and the need for reading glasses. In rare cases when there is a small amount of residual refractive error after LASIK, a brief enhancement can be performed to achieve excellent focus.
Can LASIK treat astigmatism?
Yes, LASIK is an effective treatment for astigmatism.
Is the procedure comfortable?
Yes. The procedure is quick and painless although some patients may feel light pressure.
How Affordable is LASIK?
LASIK is less expensive than using and replacing glasses and contact lenses for years. Most patients save thousands of dollars on glasses and contact lens costs over time by having their vision corrected.
Are financing options available?
Yes, please inquire.
FSA/HSA funds accepted.
Dr. Aaron Waite
Dr. Waite is the Director of the Refractive Surgery program at the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute.
Dr. Waite is fellowship trained and specializes in vision correction including near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia (the need for reading glasses). When asked about
the merits of vision correction Dr. Waite responded, “The difference vision correction can make in your life is remarkable. It increases the quality of life and often can be safer than contact lenses. The current technology is simply amazing and has been refined for decades. It is not a treatment; it is a cure.”
- Refractive Lens Exchange
UT Laser Vision Center
930 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor
Memphis, TN 38103