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Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Ophthalmology serves patients of all ages at our three locations. Services range from general eye exams to the treatment of complex vision disorders.

Our department is among the first in the country to offer implantable telescope technology — the surgery involves implantation of a miniature telescope for patients with advanced irreversible age-related macular degeneration to improve their distance vision.

We also offer care in the following specialty areas:

Comprehensive Ophthalmology

Our comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation and treatment services include:

  • Comprehensive eye exam including prescription for glasses and/or referrals for contact lens
  • Cataract evaluation and surgery
  • Urgent eye care
  • Screening for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration
  • Management of dry eyes

Referrals are provided for advanced eye care such as cataract surgery, glaucoma, retina, oculoplastics, contact lenses, pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus, uveitis and neuro-ophthalmology.

Faculty specialists: William H. Benson, M.D., and Dennis Pratt, M.D.

Cataract Surgery

We provide comprehensive eye care and surgical care for individuals requiring cataract extraction. A cataract is a clouding of the eyes natural lens that worsens over time causing blurry vision. Cataracts are the primary cause of vision loss among adults and are often times associated with normal aging. When a cataract is mature or significantly advanced, it may become difficult to read and perform normal tasks.

A person who develops a cataract in one eye will often develop a cataract in the other eye. After surgical intervention and the placement of an intraocular lens, patients can achieve significant visual improvement.

Faculty specialist: William H. Benson, M.D., Christopher T. Leffler, M.D. and Dennis Pratt, M.D.

Oculoplastic and Reconstructive Surgery

We offer medical and surgical treatment for trauma and various disorders of the eyelids, lacrimal drainage system and orbits.

Faculty specialist: Nikisha Q. Richards, M.D.

Cornea and Diseases of the Anterior Segment

We treat disorders of the cornea as well as the external segment of the eye. Our excellent medical and surgical treatment includes corneal transplantation and cataract surgery. Commonly treated eye conditions include:

  • Corneal trauma, scarring, ulcer, infection and edema
  • Keratoconus
  • Fuchs’ Dystrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Pterygium

Faculty specialist: William H. Benson, M.D.


We are dedicated to delivering advanced treatment to people suffering from glaucoma, which consists of a group of disorders that affect pressure within the eye and cause damage to the optic nerve. Common glaucoma disorders include:

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Angle-closure glaucoma
  • Neovascular glaucoma
  • Congenital glaucoma
  • Uveitic glaucoma

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. There is no current treatment for vision loss, but regular visits to your ophthalmologist can control the condition and prevent further vision loss.

Glaucoma specialists use a variety of diagnostic services and provide treatment options to prevent further damage based on the diagnosed glaucoma type. Options may include eye drops, laser treatment and surgery.

Faculty specialist: Surbhi Bansal, M.D.

Retina and Vitreous Diseases

Our retina service is committed to providing comprehensive management of both medical and surgical diseases that affects the retina and vitreous, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal detachments
  • Macular holes
  • Macular edema
  • Penetrating ocular trauma
  • Retinal occlusions
  • Uveitis
  • Endophthalmitis
  • AIDS-related retinitis
  • Proliferative vitreoretinopathy
  • Retinal vascular diseases
  • Vitreous hemorrhage

Our retina specialists use the most advanced tools in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, including:

  • A- and B-scan ultrasonography
  • High resolution digital fluorescein and ICG angiography
  • Fundus photography
  • Spectral domain optical coherence tomography
  • Fundus autoflourescence

Faculty specialist: Vikram S. Brar, M.D.Jessica D. Randolph, M.D.

Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus

Our pediatric ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye conditions which affect children. We treat strabismus (eye misalignment) in both adults and children. It is important to have potential problems checked early to help children achieve the best possible lifelong vision. We evaluate children with all types of eye problems and commonly treat conditions including:

  • Refractive errors
  • Strabismus, which involves misalignment such as crossed eyes and can produce double vision
  • Amblyopia, known colloquially as “lazy eye"
  • Cataracts present at birth or after injuries
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Eyelid problems such as droopiness or swelling (chalazia or styes)
  • Abnormal tearing

Faculty specialists: Christopher T. Leffler, M.D., Evan Silverstein, M.D. and Natario L. Couser, M.D.


We provide consultation and referral care for patients with vision disorders related to the nervous system, including:

  • Conditions of the optic nerve and visual pathways
  • Papilledema
  • Visual field defects
  • Transient visual loss
  • Diplopia
  • Ocular motor disturbances
  • Pupil abnormalities
  • Eyelid ptosis

Special services include automated perimetry for visual fields, optical coherence tomography, fundus photography, critical flicker fusion frequency, visual evoked potentials and electroretinograms.

Faculty specialists: Warren L. Felton III, M.D. and Scott Haines, M.D.

Optometric Services

We provide primary eye care and evaluation of the visual system including refractive, contact lens and ocular health examinations. Our optometrists are specialists in contact lens management and fit contacts for both cosmetic and medically necessary purposes.

We provide health examinations of the internal and external structure of the eyes to help diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders. Our services include:

  • Primary care exams for refractive conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia
  • Ocular health exams for systemic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory conditions
  • Base exams for chronic problems including dry eye, conjunctivitis and headache-related eye problems
  • Contact lens exams including cosmetic fittings (spherical, toric, mono-vision and multifocal) and medically necessary fittings (keratoconus, aphakia, corneal transplant, post-refractive surgery, corneal scars and anisometropia)

Faculty Specialists:  Lenna Walker, O.D.


"They have state-of-the-art equipment and very experienced support staff who explain things in understandable terms. – Linda Meloy, patient




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