This award recognizes Dr. Farris for his reputation as a superb educator and highly compassionate neuro-ophthalmologist. He has served on the full-time University of Oklahoma and Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) faculty for 33 years.
Dr. Farris was nominated by the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology for his charitable eye care both in the United States and internationally. Dr. Farris has been very active in caring for the underprivileged and underserved in the Oklahoma City area, but his greatest impact relates to his and DMEI’s initiatives in global eye care.
Over 20 years ago, Dr. Farris was invited to join a group of medical missionaries in the Sichuan Province in China. Dr. As the only ophthalmologist in this group, he was profoundly impressed by the incredible need for eye care, specifically combating cataract blindness. At least once a year since then, he has returned to Chengdu, bringing him an increasingly expanding group of residents, fellows and attending ophthalmologists from around the country. Together they have provided medical and surgical care to hundreds of patients through both West China University and the Sichuan Province People’s Hospital. Dr. Farris organizes an annual scientific symposium attended by hundreds of Chinese ophthalmologists and has worked tirelessly to help Chinese educators reorganize their ophthalmology training from the observership/apprentice model to a more structured model of graded autonomy, coupled with strong didactics and a systematic approach to patient diagnosis and management.
Beginning in 2011, Dr. Farris developed a similar relationship with the Kingdom of Swaziland (now Eswatini) in southeastern Africa, working with the nation’s only ophthalmologist to develop and enhance a system of care not only for ophthalmic disease, but also for HIV-related complications. He has hosted annual trips for DMEI faculty, residents and alumni to work with Dr. Jonathan Pons in Eswatini. Dr. Farris, along with his team perform up to 1,000 cataract surgeries a year.
Dr. Farris has had significant impact through his own personal work but the impact he has had through his training of residents and instilling the call for humanitarian service is immeasurable.
Dr. Farris is currently professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, where he graduated from medical school and completed his ophthalmology residency. He also completed a neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at the University of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.