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Legacy Devers Eye Institute corneal services director receives international honor

February 01, 2022

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Future Vision Foundation honors Dr. Mark Terry for his breakthroughs in vision research to restore vision or prevent vision loss.

Dr. Terry

Dr. Mark Terry has been conducting pioneering corneal research for more than 40 years. Hailed by peers as a major researcher, Dr. Terry has lectured internationally and has published many papers on corneal transplantation, corneal physiology and other related subjects for decades. He has also directed corneal services at Legacy Devers Eye Institute since 1990.

In a career already full of honors, Dr. Terry received one more — this one perhaps the most meaningful because it celebrates his entire career. Recently, Dr. Terry was one of three researchers presented with a Future Vision Foundation Award for his groundbreaking accomplishments. Future Vision highlights the work of medical innovators devoted to research that will restore vision or prevent vision loss. Dr. Terry was recognized for a lifetime of innovative approaches to eye disease and his critical discoveries in eye care.

To capture Dr. Terry’s unique work and his close bond with patients, Future Vision funded a documentary-style film about his research. The video included a successful corneal transplant called endothelial keratoplasty (EK), which was first developed at Devers. In the video, Dr. Terry restores the full vision of a two-year-old boy, his youngest patient for such a procedure.

"The young patient had corneas so swollen and blistering that he'd never seen his mother's face clearly," says Dr. Terry. "This was the first time I performed EK for someone in this age group, and we were successful. We removed the eye shield within a few days, and he looked at his mother, and he started smiling."

EK surgery is a major shift from traditional corneal surgery, which often creates full-thickness incisions in the clear cornea. These incisions aren’t stable, and that means it often takes years for a patient's vision to truly stabilize. Endothelial keratoplasty, however, involves tunneling to the diseased layer of the cornea, and replaces only the diseased layer while leaving healthy areas intact. Usually, EK surgery enables a patient’s vision to stabilize within two weeks.

Creating innovative approaches to eye care is, of course, nothing new for Dr. Terry. It’s been his life’s work. In 2000, for example, he launched a new era of modern corneal transplantation through a groundbreaking clinical series in the United States, called DLEK. Dr. Terry also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the Paton Award from the Eye Bank Association of America. He has been a member with thesis of the prestigious and exclusive American Ophthalmological Society since 2007 and is a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Oregon Health & Science University.

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