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UMMC bids adieu to celebrated ophthalmologist

Published on Monday, April 24, 2017

Published on April 24, 2017

UMMC leadership extends its sympathy to the family of a longtime ophthalmology professor who was a renowned eye surgeon in the Jackson metropolitan area.

Connie McCaa, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Connie McCaa, professor of ophthalmology who had been associated with the Medical Center for more than 40 years, died Wednesday, April 19, of complications from heart surgery. She was 79.

McCaa saw patients at UMMC's Grants Ferry Clinic until her recent heart surgery. A kidney transplant recipient in 2013, she had returned to teach and work at UMMC in 2014 after several years in private practice.

"The Ophthalmology Department, UMMC, the state of Mississippi and the national ophthalmology community as a whole have lost a great leader, physician, scientist, teacher and friend," said Dr. Kimberly W. Crowder, professor and chair of ophthalmology. "Dr. McCaa will be dearly missed. She touched lives by restoring vision to countless patients over several decades, practicing as a cornea specialist.

"She taught scores of ophthalmology residents who carry on her legacy through their practice of ophthalmology today."     

A native of West, McCaa received both her doctorate in biochemistry and her M.D. from UMMC. She completed a residency in ophthalmology at the LSU Eye Center in New Orleans before returning to UMMC for much of her career. She became an associate professor of physiology and biophysics in 1970 and a professor of biochemistry in 1973.

Crowder said McCaa was a tireless advocate for her patients.

"She defended her patients by spending hours at the State Capitol and with the American Academy of Ophthalmology pushing for patient safety issues through her advocacy efforts," Crowder said. "Dr. McCaa published papers, gave lectures, performed surgeries, was chief of staff at UMMC, (served as) president of the Mississippi Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Association, won national awards and served in countless leadership roles - but was always humble, and always made time for you and made you feel valued, whether you were her patient, student, resident or colleague.

"Her selflessness of her time to our Medical Center, the state of Mississippi and her professions - both biochemistry and ophthalmology - is unmeasurable." 

A Best Doctors in America selection for 12 consecutive years, McCaa will be inducted into the UMMC Hall of Fame on Thursday, Aug. 10. 

Funeral services were April 24 at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison with burial at Parkway Memorial Cemetery in Ridgeland. In lieu of flowers, the family asks financial donations be made to the Mississippi Lions Eye Bank or the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency.

Click here for a full obituary as it appeared in The Clarion Ledger.