UTHSC’s Hamilton Eye Institute Hosts Three Pioneers of Cataract Surgery at Annual Distinguished Visiting Professorship Lecture

Honan ReducedMazzocco ReducedDr. Richard P. Kratz ReducedDr. Honan, Dr. Mazzocco and Dr. Kratz

The Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will salute three visiting distinguished ophthalmologists on Nov. 21 for their work, which has helped to revolutionize modern cataract surgery in America and beyond.

Paul Honan, MD, Thomas R. Mazzocco, MD, and Richard P. Kratz, MD, will be the guest speakers at the 12th Sir Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professorship for Creativity and Innovation in Medicine and Ophthalmology Lecture at HEI. A reception will be held at 6 p.m., followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. in Freeman Auditorium on the third floor of the 930 Madison Building.

“All of them have contributed to modern cataract surgery in various ways, with inventions or teaching or doing techniques that have made the surgery safer,” said Jerre Freeman, MD, clinical professor of Ophthalmology at HEI. “They’re good friends, and we honor them for their contributions.”

Dr. Honan developed an instrument that lowers the pressure in the eye before surgery, making the procedure safer. Dr. Mazzocco designed the foldable intraocular lens for use in cataract surgery. Dr. Kratz pioneered a way to keep the surgical activity in the posterior chamber of the eye, improving the results. Dr. Honan lives in Indiana. Drs. Kratz and Mazzocco are from California. All three continue to collaborate, teach and contribute to their field.

The lecture was established to honor Sir Harold Ridley, an English surgeon who implanted the first intraocular lens in 1950, beginning the revolution that became modern cataract surgery, one of the most-performed surgical procedures today.

“Modern cataract surgery was a hard-fought battle,” Dr. Freeman said. “It was not accepted (in the early years). We thought it would be a good idea to honor these people who persevered.”

Founded in 2004, Hamilton Eye Institute consistently ranks among the top 10 providers of ophthalmic clinical care across the country. Its mission is to prevent blindness through patient care, research and education. As a premier eye center providing an advanced level of vision care, the institute’s team manages more than 40,000 outpatient visits annually. Now under its new chairman, James C. Fleming, MD, FACS, the institute continues to attract patients from throughout the region and the world. HEI is the only university eye center providing an advanced level of vision care within a 150-mile radius of Memphis.