History of Eye Injury
Research at Birmingham
Robert Morris is a
vitreoretinal surgeon whose practice, Retina Specialist of Alabama,
LLC, is located in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A. He is a member of the teaching
faculty in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department
of Ophthalmology, and a clinical vision researcher for the Helen
Keller Foundation for Research and Education.
research has been the primary academic interest of Dr. Morris over the last two decades. During the 1980's he founded
the United States Eye Injury Registry (USEIR), now the largest data
base in eye injury worldwide - guiding improved prevention and treatment
strategies. With colleagues Dr. C. Douglas Witherspoon and Dr. Robert Phillips, they pioneered use
of the artificial cornea (temporary keratoprosthesis, TKP) for total
reconstruction of the severely injured eye. Morris and Witherspoon
were the first physicians to report that even no light perception
(NLP) was not a complete barrier to the return of useful vision
in recently injured eyes - and that even NLP eyes should usually
be explored for possible reconstruction. Their report of bilateral
eye injury victims showed a threefold increase of salvage of useful
vision in at least one eye, to nearly 60%, as compared to reports
of less than 20% salvage in the early 1970's.
1990's he was joined by Dr. Ferenc Kuhn,
a Hungarian vitreoretinal surgeon who became the world's first full-time
M.D. researcher in eye injury. This partnership accelerated progress,
leading to establishment of the first common language for eye trauma
- the Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology (BETT) in 1994. Supported
by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
with Dr. Kuhn as the principal investigator, they developed an ocular
trauma score (OTS) to guide counseling and to aid prognosis and
treatment by predicting outcomes based on initial eye injury factors.
He also published major works on the epidemiology and socioeconomic
aspects of eye injury, and counseling of the trauma victim.
Morris serves as president of the Helen Keller Foundation for Research
and Education and is president of the International Society for
Ocular Trauma. Dr. Kuhn is director of research for
USEIR, and is a prolific author and speaker on ocular trauma topics
in scientific forums worldwide.
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rev Nov 2008