Physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Jerre Freeman, is Founder of Memphis Eye and Cataract Associates (MECA), former Chairman of EagleVision, and Founder of the World Cataract Foundation.
A pioneer in the areas of cataract surgery, lens implant surgery, and laser vision correction surgery, Dr. Freeman is the designer of several lens implants and the Punctum Plug, a non-surgical insert to help correct dry eyes.
Memphis Eye and Cataract Associates was formed in 1968 when Dr. Freeman began his private practice in Memphis. Dr. Thomas Gettelfinger joined him in 1976. The practice is currently housed in a two-story freestanding outpatient surgical center in east Memphis. MECA was the first of its kind in Tennessee and the second one east of the Mississippi River.
Freeman has an appetite for overcoming challenges, and the World Cataract Foundation grew from a challenge for production of an inexpensive, high quality product suitable for global use as a cure for cataract blindness. Freeman developed a lens that could be used universally. Taking it a step further, he developed a means to provide the surgery for free. The World Cataract Foundation has sent teams to 25 countries. For over 40 years, the Foundation has made trips to Ometepec, Mexico. On average each year, approximately 1800 people are screened in Ometepec and over 500 surgeries are performed. “These countries are not easy to get to,” explains Freeman, “If they were, we wouldn’t need to be there.”
Freeman holds a total of 18 patents. He is Founder and past Chairman of EagleVision, a company created to develop his patented ideas into products. EagleVision began when Dr. Freeman came up with the idea of the Punctum Plug. Knowing the product was unavailable in the marketplace, Freeman used his own capital to start the company manufacture the plug. Two other innovations attributed to him are the use of intraocular epinephrine and the pulser in phacoemulsification of cataract. These two innovations alone are used worldwide every day.
Dr. Freeman has been awarded with a number of recognition awards including: the National Medal of Honor for Humanitarian Services from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Dedication to Service Award from the Bluff City Medical Society, the Global Citizens Award from the World Affairs Council, Outstanding Alumnus from the University of Memphis, Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and the Dean Campbell Award for Service over Self from the Germantown Rotary Club.
Ophthalmic practice-Laser and Surgery Center
“‘“Entrepreneurship starts with individual vision, creativity and a tolerance for risk taking which, when combined with research, hard work, and perseverance, can result in a valuable new technique, product or service. This process, when successful, creates jobs, a higher standard of living, and wealth which at best can provide the economic foundation for the great civilizing interests of the arts, education, healthcare, environment, and community. In a creative medical practice, this process works itself out in teamwork dedicated to bringing the best in medicine to patients with caring, efficiency and joy. It is no accident that many medical innovations and products grow out of such practices.””
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