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Our History



Eye Center South History


The Practice

In 1980 Drs. Marnix Heersink and John Fortin opened up an ophthalmology practice originally in downtown Dothan next to the old Flowers Hospital on Main Street. Within a short period of time they outgrew that facility and decided to move out onto the Ross Clark Circle at the corner of Fortner Street where the practice is still located today.

The Building

Eye Center South, Dothan Alabama

The current Eye Center South building was originally built in 1974 by the Stephenson family and housed Louise Interiors, a decorating and interior design business. Drs. Heersink and Fortin moved there in 1982 because the property was strategically located between Dothan's two hospitals and in an easily accessible location. In 1984, the addition of an outpatient surgery center (then named Eye Surgery Center) was made to the building. The current facility is known as Surgery Center South to coincide with the campus name of Health Center South.

The building has since gone under 5 renovations since its construction. Most recently, in 2008 Eye Center South began a massive remodeling of the building. The remodeling took 3 years of planning and included the expansion of the entire building. Surgery Center South originally only had 2 operating rooms shared by many surgeons working 6am to 5pm Monday thru Friday. Now there are 6 fully equipped operating rooms and the ability to expand even more, enabling surgeons to work more efficiently and with the ability to use general anesthesia. It also allowed for the addition of Hearing Center South, located in the front entrance of Eye Center South. Patients now have the ability to have their hearing tested and hearing aids fitted as well as eye exams performed all under one roof. Additionally, patients and family members can now enjoy outdoor sitting areas.

In 1985, Eye Center South expanded to include a location in Andalusia. What began in a small single wide trailer adjacent to the hospital has evolved into a permanent location on Highway 84 (a prime location in Andalusia). Many of our doctors travel to this location for exams, post/pre operation and have the ability to perform surgery at the near by Andalusia Regional Hospital.

Eye Center South also has two locations in Florida headed by Dr. Zsolt Bansagi. The Panama City office was established in 2004 and the Destin office was established in 2006.

Our Doctors

In 1982, Dr. Heersink and Dr. John Fortin formed a partnership, Vision Care Clinic. In 1995, the clinic merged with Dothan based Southern Eye Clinic, founded by Dr. Martin Margolies. Over the years Eye Center South has added physicians from all subspecialties of ophthalmology to offer comprehensive medical eye care and surgery. Although the practice name has changed a few times over the years .. Vision Care Clinic... Eye Institute of the South and now is known as Eye Center South, the wonderful care patients receive by both physicians and staff has never faltered.

Dr. Zsolt Bansagi is a Cataract Surgeon, Laser Refractive Surgeon and practices General Ophthalmology. He maintains residency in Florida as the primary surgeon in both Destin and P.C. locations.

Dr. William Bennett is a Cataract Surgeon and practices General Ophthalmology.

Dr. Richard Bryant is a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon specializing in eyes and eyelids as well as cosmetic surgery such as facelifts, neck lifts, rhinoplasty and many other cosmetic procedures.

Dr. John G. Fortin is Retina & Vitreous Specialist with special emphasis on Macular Degeneration and Diabetic retina problems

Dr. Marnix Heersink, our founder, specializes in cataract surgery and laser refractive surgery procedures, as well as seeing patients for general ophthalmology concerns.

Dr. Sebastian Heersink is a Cataract and Refractive Specialist with specialized training in complicated Cataract surgery, General Ophthalmology and vision improvement procedures such as LASIK.

Dr. Irene Ludwig is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist and travels between our offices in Destin, Panama, City and Dothan. Her specialty is Strabismus surgery (repairing crossed eyes and other eye muscle problems)

Dr. Ram R. Peddada is a Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon who specializes in complex retinal conditions and surgeries including macular degeneration treatments and retinal detachment surgeries.

Dr. Kirk Sturridge is a Glaucoma Specialist with combined training in cataract surgery/glaucoma surgery.

Our physicians specialize in surgery and diseases of the eye for all ages and we work closely with your optometrist.

Our Philosophy:

At Eye Center South all of our staff, doctors and associates are committed to providing the highest quality, compassionate care for you and your family.

Your Vision. Our Mission.