The Department of Ophthalmology at UCSD has had meteoric growth from its modest beginnings in an outdated 800 square foot three-room clinic in 1983, to a 3,000 square foot trailer on the La Jolla campus in 1985, to the opening of the original Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Center in 1991.
Today the Shiley Eye Institute encompasses 91,000 square feet and includes:
- Shiley Eye Institute Main Building – 43,000 square feet - 1991
- New Shiley Wing – 17,000 square feet – 2008/2010
- Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center – 6,000 square feet - 1995
- Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center – 12,500 square feet - 2004
- Hamilton Glaucoma Center – 12,500 square feet - 2004
- EyeMobile for Children
The Department of Ophthalmology also serves the UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center and the Veterans Hospital. Patient volume in all of the locations served has grown from 13,000 patient visits per year in 1991 to over 120,000 today with almost 4,000 surgeries (in the 3rd floor out-patient surgical center). The four critical missions of the Shiley Eye Institute include the research of eye diseases, treatments and surgical techniques; the training and education of medical students and ophthalmologists; patient clinical service; and community outreach.
The Shiley Eye Institute is a full-service eye center with specialties that include: cataracts/corneal disorders; glaucoma; muscle disorders/strabismus; neuro-ophthalmology; oculoplastics and reconstruction; optometry and contact lens fitting; ophthalmic genetics; pediatric ophthalmology; retinal disorders; thyroid eye disease; and refractive/LASIK. Research grant dollars from the National Institutes of Health placed the UCSD Department of Ophthalmology in the top 10 research universities in the country.
In June 2011, Robert N. Weinreb, M.D. was named Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology. Stuart I. Brown, M.D. started the department and became Chair in 1983. Currently, there are 17 clinical faculty physicians, 12 research faculty members and 3 attending physicians on the Shiley Eye Institute team. Shiley faculty members train physicians who become ophthalmologists in a variety of specialty areas. Each year U.S. and foreign graduate ophthalmologists are also prepared to return to their universities as faculty physicians or to treat patients in their countries. Currently, at Shiley, we have 9 residents, 11 American fellows, 8 international fellows, 9 research fellows and 11 visiting scholars being trained and doing research. Most of the over 350 alumni have gone back to their home countries or states to take prestigious positions at universities, research facilities, hospitals or in private practices. Some of the countries of origin the residents or fellows returned to include: Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, China, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela.
Shiley community outreach includes eye exams given in the EyeMobile for Children through the Save Our Children’s Sight program, which reaches 12,000 underserved young children each year at 215 preschool locations in San Diego County. The Shiley Eye Institute also helps needy infants and children with serious eye diseases from around the world through the 4sight4children Fund; this fund fully supports the surgery, lodging, and transportation during their operative course here. Many of our physicians and staff volunteer in underdeveloped countries to perform surgery and teach in hospitals.