Renowned eye surgeon Dr. Robert Morris and cornea transplant recipient Cameron Stovall will deliver Troy University’s annual Helen Keller Lecture at 10 a.m. on April 25.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Trojan Center Theatre on the Troy Campus.
Stovall, who was left blind in both eyes following a hunting accident, endured 13 eye surgeries, including a cornea transplant in his left eye. Since receiving the transplant, sight has returned to his left eye. In June 2017, Stovall threw out the first pitch at a Birmingham Barons baseball game at Birmingham’s Regions Field.
“This year’s event allows us to gain perspective from an individual who, unlike previous speakers, has not dealt with a disability for a lifetime but was impacted during adulthood, changing his life overnight,” said Judy Robertson, chair of the lecture committee. “A reminder that our life can change in a brief moment but that moment doesn’t define us… it’s how we respond to that change that defines makes us who we are.”
Dr. Morris, a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and founding physician of Retina Specialists of Alabama in Birmingham, is president of the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education.
A frequent innovator in vitreoretinal surgery since 1980, Dr. Morris’ advanced training and surgical skills are particularly recognized in the treatment of severe eye injuries and surgeries of the macular, the center of vision. His research, in collaboration with Dr. Ferenc Kuhn and Dr. C. Douglas Witherspoon, has focused on vitrectomy advances, innovations in surgery on the macula and eye injury.
Morris’ contributions have included the introduction of Gas Forced Liquid Infusion (GFLI, 1990) now used during most vitrectomy surgery in the United States; intentional removal of the Macular Internal Limiting Membrane (ILM, 1990); first ILM Forceps (1997); Designer ILM Maculorhexis (1997).
In 2001 and 2003 he was awarded Best of American Show by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) for educational videos of techniques for macular surgery. He is a recipient of the Senior Honor Award from both the AAO and the American Society of Retina Specialists for extensive contributions to scientific activities. Among his many exceptional contributions Dr. Morris pioneered techniques of temporary keratoprosthesis (TKP) vitrectomy to completely reconstruct injured or infected eyes. He has been consulted to treat patients who suffer severe injury to both eyes as victims of terrorist bombing incidents.
He currently serves as Chairman of the International Society of Ocular Trauma and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he actively participates in the training of ophthalmology residents. The Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Program that Dr. Morris founded trains young ophthalmologists in the advanced practice of vitreoretinal surgery upon the completion of their residency program. These high achieving vitreoretinal surgeons now practice throughout the United States, in the U.S. military and as far away as Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Helen Keller Lecture Series, which began in 1995 as the vision of Dr and Mrs. Jack Hawkins, Jr., was initiated to call attention to and raise awareness of the challenges of those with physical limitations, particularly those affecting sensory ability. Through the years, the lecture has also provided the opportunity to highlight those who have devoted their careers to meeting the needs of the sensory impaired and to celebrate the collaborative efforts and partnerships of Troy University and the agencies and individuals who serve these special individuals.
This year’s lecture is sponsored by Troy University and the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education with continued support from the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Mental Health.