Hamilton Eye Institute Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Ridley Award

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On March 31 at 7 p.m., the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute will host the 10th Annual Sir Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professorship for Creativity and Innovation in Medicine and Ophthalmology.

On March 31 at 7 p.m., the University of Tennessee Hamilton Eye Institute will host the 10th Annual Sir Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professorship for Creativity and Innovation in Medicine and Ophthalmology. Each year, the event features a prominent expert in ophthalmology who delivers a keynote lecture and is awarded the Ridley Medal, a solid silver medallion, for demonstrating the ideals inscribed: creativity, innovation, perseverance and productivity. Created by Jerre Freeman, MD, professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), the event celebrates the careers of clinicians who have led innovations in ophthalmology. In honor of this year’s 10th anniversary, Dr. Freeman has been selected to present the lecture and receive the medal. The event will be held in the Freeman Auditorium at UT Hamilton Eye Institute, 930 Madison Avenue, third floor.

Trained at the UT College of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Freeman has demonstrated expertise as an ophthalmologist, academician, teacher, inventor and inspired leader. He is the founder of the World Cataract Foundation and has participated in more than 100 surgical teaching or operating trips in nearly 30 countries. Dr. Freeman holds approximately 20 patents and is co-inventor of 12 patented devices. His teaching effort in exchange programs of the World Cataract Foundation and the UT Department of Ophthalmology has influenced three generations of ophthalmologists in our nation and abroad, especially in China. Dr. Freeman’s warm and engaging personality and passion for improving techniques to help the blind to see have inspired numerous physicians and other clinicians to care for their fellow man around the world.

Dr. Freeman named the professorship and award in honor of Harold Ridley, MD, FRCS, FRS. While working with United Kingdom Royal Air Force casualties during World War II, Dr. Ridley noticed that whenever splinters of plastic or glass from aircraft cockpit canopies became lodged in the eyes of wounded pilots, they did not trigger rejection. This led him to propose the use of artificial lenses in the eye to correct cases of cataracts. On November 29, 1949, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, England, Dr. Ridley completed the first implant of an artificial lens in an eye. It was in 1950, however, that he left the first artificial lens permanently in place in an eye. Dr. Ridley retired from hospital service in 1971 and received numerous awards over the next 29 years. In February 2000, Dr. Ridley was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Harold Ridley resided in the United Kingdom until his death on May 25, 2001.

The Ridley Medal is three inches in diameter and has an antique, hand-polished finish to enhance the portrait of Sir Harold Ridley on its face. Previous Sir Harold Ridley Distinguished Visiting Professors have included: Spencer P. Thornton, MD, FACS, professor of Ophthalmology, UT Health Science Center; David J. Apple, MD, professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology, and retired chairman of Storm Eye Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston; Charles D. Kelman, MD, professor of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College, and attending surgeon, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, New York, N.Y.; Manus C. Kraff, MD, professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, Northwestern University, founder and president, Kraff Eye Institute, Chicago, Ill.; Randall J. Olson, MD, CEO of the John A. Moran Eye Center, presidential professor, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City; Robert C. Stegmann, MD, professor and chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Medical University of South Africa; Daniele Aron-Rosa, MD, honorary professor, University Paris VII, and chair of Ophthalmology, Hospital Robert Debre and Foundation Rothschild, Paris, France; Claes H. Dohlman, MD, professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Mass.; and D. Jackson Coleman, MD, John Milton McLean Professor of Ophthalmology and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Ophthalmology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, N.Y.

Founded in 2004, Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) consistently ranks among the top 10 providers of ophthalmic clinical care cross 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. HEI is the only university eye center providing an advanced level of vision care within a 200-mile radius of Memphis.

For more information about the Ridley event, visit the UT Hamilton Eye Institute Web site at http://www.eye.uthsc.edu or call 901-448-5883.