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Free Services Worth $75,000 Provided at Third-Annual Ivan Marais Cataract-A-Thon

Twenty-four patients were helped at the third-annual Ivan Marais Cataract-A-Thon Saturday at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. (Photo by Scott Shelhamer)

The third-annual Ivan Marais Cataract-A-Thon at the Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center gave 24 patients the gift of sight Saturday.

This year’s efforts were led by Kourtney Houser, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Hamilton Eye Institute, and Emily Taylor Graves, MD, of Duncan Eye, PLLC.

Patients from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and surrounding areas received screening, comprehensive eye exams, surgeries, and follow-up care, with nursing and anesthesiology support. Participating groups included HEI, Methodist Healthcare-Solus Management Services, Memphis Surgery Center, Medical Anesthesia Group, East Memphis Anesthesia Services, and American Anesthesia of Tennessee. Senior HEI residents assisted in surgery. The amount of services provided totaled $75,000.

Patients were identified through the HEI clinics, the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, and Church Health.

Held at HEI, the Cataract-a-Thon honors ophthalmologist and cataract surgery innovator Ivan Marais, MD, who died in 2017. Originally from South Africa, Dr. Marais was an ophthalmology instructor at UTHSC and HEI, where he trained many residents in cataract surgery.

“We are thrilled to continue this great event in honor of Dr. Ivan Marais,” said Brian Fowler, MD, ophthalmic surgeon and vice chair of Clinical Operations at HEI, who envisioned the event. “To be able to give back and provide our patients their sight is the ultimate gift. This could not have been done without the tremendous leadership of Drs. Graves and Houser. They are most appreciated.”