Dr. Terry has been the Director of Corneal Services at the Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon since 1990. He is also a Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at Oregon Health Sciences University. He received his undergraduate degree at Yale, his medical degree from St. Louis University and his residency in Ophthalmology in San Francisco. He completed his Corneal Fellowship in 1985 at the University of Oklahoma. Since that time Dr. Terry has limited his referral practice to the subspecialty of Cornea, Anterior Segment, and Refractive Surgery. He has been the Medical Director of the Lions Eye Bank of Oregon and the Scientific Director of the Lions VisionGift Research Laboratory since 1990.
Dr. Terry has lectured extensively internationally* and widely published his research work in the areas of corneal transplantation, corneal physiology, refractive surgery, dry eye and endophthalmitis. In 2000, after a year of laboratory development, he began the first U.S. clinical series of Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK) that he named DLEK. Over the past 15 years, he has pioneered the further development of EK with over 100 publications on DLEK, DSEK, DSAEK and now DMEK. He is the president of the international Endothelial Keratoplasty Group (EKG), which he founded in 2002, and this group continues international collaboration in the development of EK.
Dr. Terry has presented invited lectures in the following countries:
Country (number of trips)
Japan (X4), England (X4), Italy (X5), Spain (X4), Greece, India, China (X3), Brazil (X4), Peru, Cuba, Columbia, Mexico(X4), Canada (X5), Dubai (UAE), Egypt (X2), South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Poland (X2), Kuwait, Iran, Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan
I grew up in San Francisco, the fourth child of eight of a pediatrician father and an angel mother. San Francisco in the 60’s was a lot like Portland is now, a small enough town that you actually could run into people you knew downtown and feel safe alone, even in your pre-teen years. I wasn’t quite old enough to be a real “hippie” in the 60’s, but I do feel some familiarity of that time when I visit Eugene, Oregon even today.
Nearly all of my five sisters and two brothers went to either Santa Clara University or to U.C. Berkeley, but after I graduated from a Jesuit high school (St. Ignatius), rather than stay in California, I wanted to break away from California and experience the intrigue of the East Coast, so I chose to go to Yale. Actually, I mainly went to Yale because they recruited me to play Division 1 Basketball, and even though they don’t give athletic scholarship money in the Ivy League, basketball was my life back then, and Yale seemed a good match. I worked weekends, summers and Christmas vacations driving a delivery truck to pay the tuition and board at college that wasn’t covered by bank loans. My intercollegiate basketball career ended my Junior year at Yale when I met a girl that required more time and energy than basketball, but the relationship at the time seemed more rewarding than a well-executed jump shot. She was the first love of my life and she went on years later to marry my roommate and best friend at Yale, Carl Camrus, who became a very famous glaucoma specialist, inventing the drug latanoprost and creating an entire new area of glaucoma therapy. Carl died a few years ago and I miss him terribly.
I attended my father’s alma mater, St Louis University School of Medicine, and wanted to become a cardiac surgeon or an OB/GYN before I did my rotation in Ophthalmology. From that moment on, all I wanted was to be an eye surgeon. There was a slight delay in my plans for residency because, in order to pay for Medical School, I had to get a military scholarship, and for me, that meant joining the Navy. So after medical school, I did a Navy Surgical Internship at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Oakland, California.
The Navy then required me to spend a year as a general doctor with the U.S. Marine Corp in Japan and the Far East before I could enter my Ophthalmology residency training back again in Oakland. After my residency, I did a civilian fellowship in Cornea and External Disease at the University of Oklahoma for a year, then back to the Navy for two final years of service, doing a couple hundred corneal transplants and related subspecialty work at academic programs on the West Coast. After the Navy obligation, I got my first real job at the U of Oklahoma as the young associate of my fellowship mentor, Jim Rowsey. I was going to stay in Oklahoma for my career until my plans were turned upside-down.
I met a girl. Her name was Cindy and she was from this place called Portland, Oregon that wasn’t even on my radar screen. She was the most interesting, intelligent and loving person I had ever met, and she still holds that distinction today. After I asked her to marry me for the third time, she actually said yes. I moved her to Oklahoma with me and after two years I learned an important lesson in life: if you marry a girl from Portland, you eventually will live in Portland. In 1987 I had given some lectures at Devers Thorny Issues conference, and in 1990, they were looking for a cornea surgeon and so called me in Oklahoma to see if I was interested. I interviewed with Dick Chenowith and Mike VanBuskirk; Cindy and I stayed at Cindy’s mom’s house, and after lobbying from all sides, I found myself at Devers Eye Institute four months later. Best career decision I ever made. One final personal note: I never thought that love could be as strong as what I have for Cindy, but in September of 1998, twin miracles occurred named Charlie and Nicholas…but discussion on this topic would take another ten pages at least.
Current Professional Circumstances
Since 1990 I’ve been the Director of Cornea Services at Devers and the Medical and Scientific Director of Lions VisionGift (formerly known as: Lions Eye Bank of Oregon). Over the years, our Cornea service has done more corneal transplants than any other department in the Northwest. With the help of the Lions Eye Bank grants and Devers Foundation research grants, we developed modern corneal transplantation in the late 1990’s and performed the first modern transplant of endothelial keratoplasty (EK) in the United States in March of 2000, the second such type of case in the world. We currently have the largest and longest-running prospective series in the world of EK, and it has yielded over 100 scientific papers – so far.
Today, about 25% of our transplant patients fly into PDX to have their surgery with our team here at Devers and the EK we developed became the new standard throughout the world for the surgical treatment of corneal edema. We are also leading co-investigators in the NIH-sponsored, national CPTS study of corneal transplantation, and have multiple other medical research projects funded by industry currently ongoing in our practice.
My other best career decision was to have Dr. Mike Straiko join our Cornea Team. Mike has brought important new research programs such as corneal crosslinking to our service and has continued to advance corneal transplantation with his innovations in DMEK surgery. The future is very bright as our service continues to expand and innovate with Mike’s vision and commitment.
I’ve been at Devers Eye Institute for now nearly twenty-four years, and despite the occasional hassles (i.e. EPIC EMR), this place has never been better. It is the great people at Devers that make this a very special place to practice medicine.
Cycling, skiing, weight lifting, writing, and traveling with Cindy and the boys.