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CHICAGO – J. Terry Ernest, M.D./Ph.D., 78, of Chicago, the Cynthia Chow Professor Emeritus and former Chairman of Ophthalmology at The University of Chicago, died Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, in Chicago, after a long illness.
He was born in 1935 in Sycamore.
An authority on the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration, Dr. Ernest was a University of Chicago faculty member from 1966 through 1977, returning in 1981 and becoming Chairman of Ophthalmology & Visual Science in 1985. He served as department chairman until 2004.
He received many awards for research on eye disease and lectured across the country on the eye and its diseases. In 1997, Ernest led a team that performed the first fetal tissue transplant as an experimental treatment for age-related macular degeneration. Eye surgeons and journalists around the world followed this study carefully, and in the fall of that same year, Time magazine designated Ernest a "Hero of Medicine" for his pioneering efforts to find a better therapy for this common eye disease.
Dr. Ernest earned a Bachelor of Arts at Northwestern University (1957) and then earned his M.D. (1961) and Ph.D. (1967) in visual science from The University of Chicago. Dr. Ernest was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Medical Corps stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
He is survived by his daughter, Sarah Ernest McMahon; and granddaughters, Sadie, Malley and Kimberly.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimberly.
Services are being planned and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Dec. 31, 2013
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