Briggs Gift Allows Eye Institute to Begin Diabetic Retinopathy Program

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Thanks to a three-year $150,000 grant from the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, UTHSC’s Hamilton Eye Institute can develop a program to help patients who suffer from diabetic retinopathy.

Thanks to a three-year $150,000 grant from the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) Hamilton Eye Institute can develop a program to help patients who suffer from diabetic retinopathy. The gift was contributed in honor of Herbert Rhea for his longtime interest and role in the Foundation.

“This generous donation will allow us to facilitate a community awareness program about diabetic retinopathy, conduct screenings, and provide education to patients diagnosed with this potentially blinding disease. The Mid-South has the highest prevalence of diabetic eye disease in the U.S.A., thus our mission to identify and treat those at risk for diabetic blindness is particularly crucial,” said Barrett G. Haik, MD, FACS, Hamilton Professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC.

“We are honored to have the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation as our partner in providing the highest quality eye care to families in our region,” noted Dr. Haik, “and the gift has special significance to us because it is in honor of Mr. Rhea, who epitomizes the finest in community leadership.” Last year alone, the Hamilton Eye Institute, named one of the top ten ophthalmologic departments for patient care in the country two years consecutively, provided care to over 20,000 regional patients.