News Releases

Dec. 17, 2015
Media contact: Joy Bell, 404-778-3711, jbell@emory.edu

Eldon Geisert, PhD and donor Jim Lewis
Donor Jim Lewis listens as researcher Eldon Geisert explains the complicated nature of glaucoma.

Emory Eye Center receives gift for glaucoma research from Douglas County resident Lewis

(ATLANTA) Douglas County resident Jim Lewis, former attorney and judge, has recently helped fund medical research in three departments at Emory University’s School of Medicine. Those departments include ophthalmology (Emory Eye Center); cancer (Winship Cancer Institute); and Alzheimer’s disease (Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center). Lewis’ planned gifts of $100,000 will go to each of the three entities, with the cancer research funding to be divided equally between colon and lung cancers.

An ophthalmology patient himself at Emory Eye Center, Lewis became more involved with healthcare when his parents were patients before their passing in 2013 and 2014. His father was a glaucoma and cancer patient, and his mother received both cancer and Alzheimer’s treatment.

Lewis’ experiences over the past few years have informed how he thinks about the world, and, as he says, “I see the world differently now, and I want to give back. We need to push along our medical research—for Alzheimer’s disease, for glaucoma and for cancer. We can do better. I’ve been familiar with all three of these. My father had glaucoma, both my parents had cancer and my mother had dementia with Alzheimer’s tendencies. So, it is personal.”

“The Emory Eye Center has many caring physicians who are focused on providing the very best in patient care,” says Timothy W. Olsen, MD, director of Emory Eye Center. “We are very honored to have the support of such a highly respected individual like Jim Lewis at the Emory Eye Center. We greatly appreciate his generosity toward our mission to help people see . . . as well as they can see.”

Lewis hopes that his gifts to Emory will inspire others who are touched by these diseases to contribute as well. On a recent trip to the Eye Center’s research labs, Lewis listened as researcher Eldon Geisert explained the complicated nature of glaucoma, which he is currently studying. It is a hard disease to understand. Only about 6% of the primary open angle glaucoma cases have a specific genetic cause. “That leaves a large area to be explored in future studies and trials,” notes Geisert.

Lewis is all too eager to be a part of that mission for future study. His contributions to multiple departments within Emory’s School of Medicine will be used for years to come. It is personal for Lewis, and in time, his heartfelt donation will pave the way for new knowledge and treatment.

To learn more about making a planned gift to the Emory Eye Center, please call Kate Myers, director of development, at 404-778-4121.

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