Site for sore eyes

Southern Eye Center coming to Laurel

By Mark Thornton

People who travel down West 10th Street in Laurel this month will see dirt work and construction beginning on a big project. In January, passersby will see a sprawling new building there. And after that, people who walk out of that building will be seeing everything clearer.

It’s the new site of Southern Eye Center, which is where people will go to get better sight. It is scheduled to open early next year with six fellowship-trained surgeons on staff. A groundbreaking ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m. May 19. The 10,759-square-foot facility will have a full surgical suite and will do all procedures in Laurel.Laurel Coming Soon Southern Eye Center

“Patients don’t have to go to Hattiesburg,” said Southern Eye spokeswoman Candace Hutto. “Everything will be done in-house.”

That means Jones County patients who usually go to Hattiesburg for procedures can stay here, plus the Laurel facility should pick up some patients who were going through Jones County to get to Hattiesburg, said Ross Tucker, who is executive director of the Jones County Economic Development Authority.

“This will just help add to the health-care community in Jones County,” he said.

Surgeons Cameron Griffith, Kiper Nelson, Jaime Jimenez, Abumere Akinwale, Stan Saulny and Joseph Childs have specialties that include working with retinal disorders, diabetic disease, glaucoma, cataracts, LASIK surgery, cosmetic procedures and Lifestyle Lenses. All are fellowship-trained in their area of expertise, which means they have an extra year or two of training, and they combine that knowledge with compassionate care, Hutto said.

“We’re blessed to have doctors with big-city training and hometown care,” she said.

The number of employees who will be working at the new Laurel facility isn’t known yet, but approximately 100 work at the Hattiesburg office.

Southern Eye Center was founded in 1977 by Dr. Lynn McMahan, who retired in December after a distinguished career. During his nearly 40 years of practicing, he lectured on four continents, published more than 60 national articles. He received numerous accolades, including recognition from the governor and state House of Representatives for his organization Gift of Sight, which provides free eye care to the underprivileged.

His colleagues have credited him with leaving a legacy of excellence and compassionate care.

“I was privileged to be part of a team that achieved successes that we can all be proud of,” McMahan said.

[h/t Laurel Leader-Call]