Memphis, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – Physicians at the Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will donate their services to restore sight to approximately two dozen individuals during the fifth-annual Ivan Marais Cataract-A-Thon Saturday, June 4.

The all-day outreach, beginning at roughly 8 a.m. at HEI, offers free cataract surgeries to individuals who otherwise could not afford the procedure. Since the first Cataract-A-Thon in 2017, more than 130 individuals have had their sight restored during the event. Hamilton Eye Institute is located at 930 Madison Ave., on UTHSC’s Memphis campus.

This year, up to 24 individuals will receive screening, surgery, and follow-up care from the Cataract-a-Thon. Support for the event comes from the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, Alcon, Methodist Healthcare-Solus Management Services, UTHSC Anesthesia, LifeLinc Anesthesia, Dutch Ophthalmic, Medline, Duncan Eye, and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

The HEI Lions Club hosts an annual 5K run to help fund outreach, including the Cataract-A-Thon. The Lions Club also assists in identifying individuals from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri in need of the cataract surgery. Those receiving the surgery were examined at an earlier date before being scheduled for the Cataract-a-Thon.

Brian Fowler, MD, vice chair of education and residency program director in the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC/HEI, and Emily Taylor Graves, MD, an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon from Duncan Eye, PLLC, developed and coordinate the event. Andrew Johnson, MD, a current PGY-4 ophthalmology resident at UTHSC/HEI, is directing this year’s event.  

The Cataract-a-Thon honors ophthalmologist and cataract surgery innovator Ivan Marais, MD, who died in 2017. Dr. Marais was a longtime ophthalmology instructor at HEI.

As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/uthsc, on Twitter: twitter.com/uthsc and on Instagram: instagram.com/uthsc