Oculofacial surgeon Dr. Matheson A. Harris restores patients’ vision, confidence at Zion Eye Institute

Stock photo | Photo by peakSTOCK/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Eyes are often referred to as windows to the soul. Indeed, they shape not only how someone sees the world but also how the world sees them. 

Oculofacial and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Matheson A. Harris, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

At Zion Eye Institute, Dr. Matheson A. Harris has spent the past 10 years helping patients restore their vision and renew their confidence. Harris is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in functional and cosmetic oculoplastic and facial surgery. 

Harris grew up in Parowan and attended both Dixie State University and Southern Utah University as an undergraduate. He completed medical school at Pennsylvania State University, followed by an internship at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and a residency in ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He later received fellowship training in orbital and lacrimal surgery, in addition to eyelid and facial reconstruction, from the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 

A member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Harris has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and presented research at several national meetings. He is also a clinical professor at the University of Utah and provides oculoplastic care to veterans at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City. 

“I was very interested in eyes when I was in medical school, and I also had a real fascination with plastic surgery,” he said. “This was a specialty that combined both.” 

Given his desire to return to his native Southern Utah, when Harris sought an opportunity to practice part-time in St. George, Zion Eye Institute was the logical choice. 

Surgical procedure at Zion Eye Institute, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

“It’s the only place where you can come to one building and see someone who covers every different type of eye problem and have the surgery done to correct those problems,” he said. 

As the only oculofacial and reconstructive surgeon at Zion Eye Institute, Harris most frequently performs functional eyelid lifts for patients suffering from ptosis, a condition characterized by drooping of the upper eyelid that can eventually obstruct vision. Ptosis may develop due to aging or an eye injury. 

Many people aren’t aware that most insurance plans cover surgery to correct ptosis, Harris said, adding that patients often tell him they would have undergone an eyelid lift decades ago if they had known.  

“About 90% of people we see here have what we do covered by insurance,” he said. “If it can improve their vision, it’s usually covered.”

After surgery, patients move through the world with renewed confidence. Harris said that correcting ptosis not only improves vision but also provides a boost of confidence. A functional eyelid lift can remove 10-20 years from someone’s appearance. 

“The eyes are the first thing people look at when they see someone’s face,” he said. “If the eyes look tired and aged, it tends to color their first impression of that person.” 

Dr. Jayson Edwards and patient at Zion Eye Institute, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

Harris also performs cosmetic eyelid and forehead lifts, along with surgery to correct eyelid malposition due to scarring and tear drain problems in patients with chronic watery eyes. 

To help prevent ptosis, Harris recommends routinely using sunscreen on the face, especially during the scorching Southern Utah summer. Protecting the skin against sun rays slows the aging process considerably, he said.  

Smoking also damages the skin, and Harris said that patients who need surgery to correct ptosis at an earlier age are usually smokers. People who rub their eyes due to untreated allergies tend to make their eyes droop prematurely as well. 

Zion Eye Institute, the largest and longest-serving vision care provider in the area, is a multispecialty practice offering comprehensive optometry and ophthalmology services, including pediatric eye care, at four locations in Southern Utah and Mesquite, Nevada. The St. George clinic houses an ambulatory surgical center performing LASIK surgery, cataract surgery, cornea surgery, retina surgery, glaucoma surgery and eyelid surgery. 

“The same people who do surgery with us are working in clinic with us, which makes it nice because they’ve seen the patients from before surgery all the way through to the last follow-up,” Harris said.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •


  • Zion Eye Institute | Address: 1791 E. 280 North, St. George | Telephone: 435-656-2020 or 877-841-2020 | Website.
  • Other locations
    • Santa Clara: 1100 Canyon View Drive, Unit G, Santa Clara | Telephone: 435-674-3502.
    • Cedar City: 110 W. 1300 North, No. 175, Cedar City | Telephone: 435-865-5979.
    • Mesquite, Nevada: 1301 Bertha Howe Ave., Ste. 11, Mesquite, Nevada | Telephone: 702-346-9175.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!