Dr. Robert Vestal
Dr. Robert Vestal is the newest member of the MECA team. He operates as a comprehensive ophthalmologist, utilizing up-to-date treatment modalities for refractive needs, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease. A long-time Memphian, Dr. Vestal grew up in East Memphis and has loved Memphis since childhood. He attended college at Washington and Lee University in Virginia before returning to complete medical school and residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is always looking for opportunities to serve the local community through his professional skills and personal interests. Outside of ophthalmology, Dr. Vestal enjoys playing the piano, all lake sports, and unhurried meals with family and friends. ‘ Dr. Vestal will begin seeing patients at MECA the week of August 22, 2022.
James F.D. Freeman, MD
Dr. James Freeman, oldest son of Dr. Jerre Freeman, specializes in cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, corneal transplants and laser vision surgery. He graduated from Vanderbilt University where he was active in the band, chairing the tuba section and playing several other instruments including Dixieland Jazz on the piano. He earned his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and served his Residency at the Louisiana State University Medical Center Ophthalmology Program at Shreveport, Louisiana. He completed a Corneal Fellowship under Richard Keates at the Beckman Laser Institute while attending University of California, Irvine.
During his Fellowship at Beckman, he served as a clinical investigator for FDA clinical trials of the Chiron Technolas Laser and participated in advanced research of the latest laser refractive surgical techniques.
Dr. Freeman is a gifted surgeon and teacher. He is currently a clinical instructor at University of Tennessee College of Medicine, where he is a recipient of the Philip M. Lewis Award for Excellence. In addition, he has made repeated trips to China, the Dominican Republic and Mexico to conduct research and train local doctors in the use of the latest laser techniques for refractive surgery. Dr. Freeman has authored several articles for medical journals, as well as, the chapter on retrobulbar anesthesia for Ophthalmology Clinics in North America. He has received the Outstanding Staff Award twice – once while in Irvine, California and secondly since living in Memphis, Tennessee. A member of the Memphis Eye Society, Dr. Freeman is also on the board of the National Board of Eye Surgery, Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is certified in LASIK by the American Board of Eye Surgery (ABES).
John M. Freeman, MD
Dr. John Freeman, youngest son of Dr. Jerre Minor Freeman, specializes in cataract surgery, cornea disease and laser vision surgery.
Prior to receiving his medical degree, Dr. Freeman received his B.A. in English from Davidson College in North Carolina. Dr. Freeman earned his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He served his Residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and completed a Cornea/External Disease and Refractive Fellowship, under Dr. Edward J. Holland, at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His Fellowship included training in ocular surface reconstruction and advanced anterior segment surgery.
Dr. Freeman is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has presented posters at several national medical meetings. He was resident representative to the Board of Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology, class representative to Aid to Impaired Medical Students Council during medical school, as well as being a participate in the Medical Student Mentoring Program.
Not only is Dr. Freeman an accomplished ophthalmologist, he’s also a private pilot and enjoys computers, digital photography, playing the guitar and gardening.
W. David Irvine, MD
Dr David Irvine is a retina specialist, the treatment and surgical intervention of retinal disease.
Dr. Irvine graduated from the University of Tennessee and received his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee. He completed his internship at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
He did his residency at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Ophthalmology at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. He also completed his fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Vitreoretinal Surgery at the University of Miami. While attending Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, he was Chief Resident/Clinical Instructor for one year.
Dr. Irvine is Board Certified with the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is a member of the American Medical Association, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Tennessee Association of Ophthalmology and the Memphis Eye Society.
While in college, Dr. Irvine received Alpha Omega Alpha. He has published many papers and produced many presentations on the eye.
Michael Wertheimer, MD
Michael Wertheimer practices comprehensive ophthalmology, with an emphasis in chronic disease and medical retina. Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma are particular areas of interest.
Dr. Wertheimer moved from his family’s home of Birmingham, Alabama to Boulder, Colorado to earn his B.A. in kinesiology from the University of Colorado. After spending time working in an operating room then as an ophthalmic technician in Atlanta, he earned his medical degree from the University of South Alabama in 2006. He then continued his training at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, completing an intern year in medicine and three years of ophthalmology residency. The last year was served as chief resident. The summer of 2010 brought his family back to the Memphis area.
Dr. Wertheimer is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, a member of Memphis Eye Society and the American Medical Association. He prides himself in a personal touch to medical care, working to confirm his patients are educated on their conditions and involved in their treatment decisions.
Hal B. Wright, MD Emeritus
Dr. Wright serves MECA in the field of Comprehensive Ophthalmology, including diagnosis and treatment of most eye diseases as well as refractive and optical evaluation and treatments. He has a special emphasis on refractive laser treatments and therapeutic laser treatments for glaucoma and diabetic retinal disease.
Dr. Wright double majored as an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi, and then earned his medical degree at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson. He also served his residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where he was the chief resident his final year. He performed post-graduate work in ocular pathology and intraocular lens research at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.
Dr. Wright is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology, the Tennessee Medical Society and the Memphis Medical Society.
Jerre Minor Freeman, MD Emeritus
Dr. Jerre Minor Freeman, a lifelong Memphian, has been in private practice since 1968, specializing in cataract surgery, intraocular lens implant surgery, laser vision correction surgery and other surgical procedures. He holds over 20 patents for lens implants and surgical instruments and is the designer of the Punctum Plug, a surgical insert to help correct dry eyes.
Before receiving his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Dr. Freeman received engineering training from Auburn University and served as a pilot with the U.S. Navy. He had two Fellowships, including the Heed Fellowship, at Harvard Medical School and trained in intraocular lens implantation in the Netherlands. A clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Dr. Freeman has served on the boards of numerous medical and eye organizations and journals. He is a past president of the Memphis Medical Society and a past president of the American Board of Eye Surgery (ABES). Dr. Freeman is also Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
For almost 25 years, Dr. Freeman has served as chairman of the World Cataract Foundation, a non-profit organization which has developed inexpensive intraocular lenses for use in the third world countries. He still travels extensively to teach surgical techniques in many countries including China, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Holland, England and Russia.
Dr. Freeman is internationally known as a speaker, author, inventor and surgeon.
Thomas C. Gettelfinger, MD Emeritus
Dr. Thomas C. Gettelfinger specializes in cataract surgery, intraocular lens implant surgery, corneal surgery and other surgical procedures. He is described as an ‘artist’ by his peers because of the exquisite nature of his surgeries.
An honors graduate from University of Notre Dame, Dr. Gettelfinger received his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School in 1966. He served his Internship and Residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle and completed his Fellowship in Ocular Motility with Dr. Eugene Helveston at Indiana University Medical School.
He has served as a national committee member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and has received a National Honor Award. He is the founder of the Tennessee Ophthalmic Personnel Society, an organization active in training ophthalmic assistants, and has served as president of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. He is also Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Gettelfinger is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee, in Memphis, and has been active in teaching and training in Ophthalmology programs in third world countries, including Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Zaire, China and Brazil. For more than a decade, he has been active in international charitable work with Orbis International, an airborne surgical eye hospital that travels to developing countries. He was an early recipient of the Good Samaritan Award presented by The Memphis Health Care News/Church Health Center.
Dr. Gettelfinger is an avid art collector and photographer.