UAB Medicine News


Expanding Access to Vision Care

The growth in the number of aging patients from the Baby Boomer generation, coupled with a loss of Boomer-age providers, places a responsibility on hospitals to stay abreast of the newest advances in technology. This influx of new patients coming into the health care system now also includes some who did not have access to medical insurance in the past.

Hospitals must begin preparing for this fast-approaching era of increased patient volume. People are managing more and more chronic conditions, utilizing more health care services in the process. Meeting health care needs – both now and in the future – requires more resources, new approaches to delivery of care, and a greater focus on research and prevention.

“The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital has a rich heritage of serving the people of Alabama and the southeast,” says Brian Spraberry, president and CEO of UAB Callahan Eye Hospital and Clinics. “The eye hospital has been a part of our community for more than 50 years and I am always pleased to hear the wonderful stories about how patients’ eyesight was saved by one of our incredible surgeons. Not only does Callahan house one of only two level one ocular trauma centers in the nation, but we have just completed expanding our operating capacity to 16 operating rooms from nine, making us one of the largest eye facilities in the US. We are truly fortunate to have the highest level of care available here, close to home at UAB.”

At Callahan Eye Hospital, we are prepared to meet these needs by expanding both our operating room capacity and our number of clinic locations. The health care system may be larger and more complex, but we are looking for ways to streamline the process for patients and health care professionals. These important expansion projects are in response to the growth of the health care system and the needs of the community.


The number and use of operating rooms often are important factors in maintaining patient services within a hospital. As the need for health care continues to rise, so does the increase in surgical cases. Callahan Eye Hospital was built over 50 years ago, and medicine has evolved greatly since that time. Surgeries now are more complex and utilize the newest technologies and more equipment. With this expansion comes more efficient operating room workflow for doctors, nurses, staff, and patients through increasing capacity.

“As our population ages, people are staying in optimal health for a longer amount of time,” says Michael Callahan, MD, board president of the International Retinal Research Foundation and an ophthalmologist in private practice at Callahan Eye Hospital. “We want to make sure our patients are able to keep their independence, and access to vision care is the first step toward this quality-of-life care. Through service and operating room expansion, we are positioning ourselves to take care of our community.”


Providing access to vision care across the region will continue to be a priority for Callahan Eye Hospital as the demand for such services increases. We recognize that patients may have difficulty coming to our downtown location for appointments or surgical services. This is why we operate many clinic locations across central Alabama, giving patients convenient, timely access to UAB ophthalmologists, advanced technology, and groundbreaking research – no matter where they live. The hospital opened a new clinic on Cahaba River Road in the Altadena community in fall 2016. Our newest clinic location is opening soon in the Pell City community and will offer comprehensive adult ophthalmology and optometry services.

“By increasing our number of our clinic locations, we are expanding our platform to deliver care to patients across Alabama,” says Christopher A. Girkin, MD, Chair of the Eyesight Foundation of Alabama and the Department of Ophthalmology. “To address the needs of a rapidly growing population we must be able to offer integrated care including telemedicine, imaging, diagnostics, and therapeutics.”

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