Eye doctor sees needs and responds

TRAVERSE CITY – Tim Hanley is a man of vision. Not only is he an ophthalmologist dedicated to providing excellent and innovative medical care to his patients at the Cedar Run Eye Center in Traverse City, he has seen needs within the community and has stepped forward to lend a hand.

Hanley is a long-time volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. He says that he has been involved intermittently for the past 10 years, but in 2003 he helped spearhead a building project called Physicians for Habitat. Doctors raised the funds to build a house for the family selected by the program and Hanley says they did quite a bit of the work, as well. This year, Physicians for Habitat will be building another home.

“Many of the doctors that participated in 2003 are excited to participate again,” Hanley said. “Many attended the dedication ceremony for the last house and it inspired them.”

With roughly 400 doctors at Munson alone, Hanley is confident that Physicians for Habitat can not only raise the necessary money, but the group will provide the primary labor force, too. Hanley points out that a physician doesn’t have to be associated with Munson to participate, all are welcome to join.

As if volunteering with Habitat weren’t enough, Hanley also participates in Mission Cataract USA. This organization, founded in California, provides cataract surgery for those that can’t afford it.

Hanley says that many people don’t have insurance to cover the surgery and people with cataracts cannot see, which has many life altering implications. Hanley sets aside one day to screen patients and provide the surgery.

Since he became involved, Hanley has performed roughly 50 cataract surgeries completely free for those that needed it.

An Eye Care Fund has been set up through the Grand Traverse Area Community Foundation and Hanley encourages the patients that can to donate to this fund. The money helps defray some of the costs involved in providing the free surgery and will hopefully allow Hanley to perform even more cataract surgeries for those in need.

The quest to provide the most innovative care to his patients led Hanley to open the Surgery Center adjacent to his office in 1997. It has allowed him to offer ambulatory eye surgery and to bring new techniques to his patients which most often simplifies the procedure for them.

Other physicians are allowed to use the Surgery Center if they choose to, making it not only convenient to Hanley’s patients but to the patients of his colleagues in Traverse City as well.

Hanley is a surgeon, a healer, a builder and also a patron of the arts. The Cedar Run Eye Center sponsors the Traverse City Orchestra’s Saturday program for young children called “Family Saturday.”

Hanley says the program gives children the chance to learn about the various instruments and music. And most exciting of all, the children get to take the stage with the orchestra.

It seems that no matter what hat he’s wearing at the moment, a surgery cap or a hard hat, Tim Hanley is a man who has impacted his local community by his willingness to always lend a hand. BN