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Kirby Puckett Education Center at Phillips Eye Institute
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Established in 2008, in partnership with Tonya, Catherine and Kirby Puckett, Jr. and with support from the Pfizer Ophthalmics division, the Kirby Puckett Education Center at Phillips Eye Institute provides our community with resources and tools to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness through education and early detection.
Honoring Kirby Puckett
Who can forget the image of Kirby Puckett announcing the end of his baseball career after his sudden diagnosis of glaucoma? He had no indication that he was becoming partially blind – forcing, at age 35, an abrupt and premature end to his Hall of Fame career.
Puckett had no idea he had a family history of glaucoma. If he had, he could have watched for warning signs and been screened for it.
Before his death, Puckett was an advocate for preventive eye health awareness, commenting, “This disease catches you without warning…I am going to work to educate those at risk because early detection and treatment is the key.”
With that in mind, Tonya, Catherine and Kirby, Jr. established the Center as a lasting legacy to his commitment to educating others about screening and treatment of glaucoma.
Besides being dedicated to eye health, Phillips Eye Institute's unique geographic location makes it an ideal location for supporting the work of the Kirby Puckett Education Center. Phillips Eye Institute is located in the center of one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the state. In particular, this neighborhood reflects a significant African American population, an important target audience in the fight against glaucoma.
In addition to the Puckett family’s contribution and the contribution of Pfizer Ophthalmics, the Kirby Puckett Education Center relies on donations from the community in order to fully realize the goal of offering free community screenings and support groups for those suffering from glaucoma. Our community partners will help strengthen and grow the Center well into the future.