The University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary

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Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary
Location 1855/1905 W Taylor St. Chicago, Illinois, US
Funding Public hospital
Hospital type Specialty, Teaching
Affiliated university University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Emergency department Level 1 Eye Trauma
Founded May 1858 (1858-05)

The Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary (IEEI) is a center of ophthalmology and otolaryngology research and clinical practice. Currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ranks the department 4th nationally in ophthalmology research funding and 1st in the Midwestern United States and Chicago metropolitan area.[1]

Located in the heart of the Illinois Medical District, the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary is the major referral center in the Chicago metropolitan area for eye emergencies as the only Level 1 eye trauma center in the region.[2] The General Eye Clinic also serves as the only emergency eye clinic in all of Chicago. The Chicago Curriculum in Ophthalmology (CCO) meets at the Infirmary where all Chicago area ophthalmology residents are invited.[3] Furthermore, the Illinois Eye Review is held at the Infirmary. The Infirmary is one of the oldest hospitals of its kind in treatment of disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, and head/neck. The Infirmary houses the departments of ophthalmology and otolaryngology of the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

LASIK surgery was invented by Gholam A. Peyman, while he served as Professor of Ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.The Department of Ophthalmology has a NIH-funded K12 research program, one of only 7 in the United States. There are strong partnerships with global programs through Dr. Marilyn Miller, including exchange programs with Keio University in Tokyo and the Federal University of São Paulo. Other programs exist with Nigeria, India, Brazil, Thailand, Iran, Philippines, Guatemala, and Nepal. The Millennium Park Eye Center is staffed by faculty affiliated with the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.[4] Over the past three decades, the ophthalmology department has been a leading recipient of funding from the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the NIH.[5]

The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences is one of the most competitive residency programs in the United States.[6] The ophthalmology residency program is one of the most selective programs in the country with well over 600 applicants annually, of whom only 84 are granted interviews for 6 positions.[7] The majority of exposure to refractive surgery during residency, including LASIK and PRK, occurs at the Millennium Park Eye Center. They also spend a rotation at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, which is located a few blocks away. Lastly, residents perform as primary or assisting surgeon in all subspecialties including cornea, retina, and pediatric ophthalmology throughout their training and are involved with on call duties.

The Department of Otolaryngology at the Illinois Eye and Infirmary is also the oldest department of its kind in the U.S.[8]


19th Century[edit]

The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary was founded in May 1858 by a 30-year-old physician named Edward Lorenzo Holmes as the Chicago Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, the department predates the UIC College of Medicine. The Infirmary took up just a single room in a frame building at 60 North Clark Street in Chicago, and the first patient arrived before the room was even ready. That initial year of operation, the Infirmary had 95 eye patient visits. Most of the patients were afflicted with eye infections.

The private organization was registered as an infirmary association, with a slate of officers and 12 trustees. An influential group of physicians and philanthropists guided the association until the state of Illinois took over the Infirmary’s operations in 1871. The name then changed to the Illinois Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary. (“Charitable” later was removed from the name because paying patients also were accepted, and in 1874, the name became the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.)

The Infirmary was totally destroyed by the Chicago Fire of October 9, 1871. Temporary quarters were set up at 137 N. Morgan Street; in 1874 a new building was inaugurated at the corner of Peoria and west Adams street, at a cost of over $40,000.

When the University of Illinois College of Medicine’s predecessor, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, opened in 1882, the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary (IEEI) began its long academic affiliation with the University. However, several government officials thwarted efforts for years to bring the Infirmary into the University Hospitals system. Finally in 1943, the IEEI and the University formally agreed to joint operations.

20th Century[edit]

In 1939, the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary began one of the nation’s first glaucoma specialty clinics. In 1965, the Infirmary moved to the University’s West Side Medical Campus, to its current location on Taylor Street. The University’s Research and Education (R&E) Hospitals still ran a separate ophthalmology service until 1970, when it was merged into the Infirmary’s ophthalmology department.

On October 19, 1965, new facilities for the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary were formally dedicated by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, the result of efforts by Ophthalmology department head Peter C. Kronfeld, MD and Otolaryngology department head Francis L. Lederer, MD.

Morton F. Goldberg, MD, head of ophthalmology from 1970 to 1989, increased full-time faculty from one to 25, added numerous ophthalmic subspecialty clinics and a postresidency fellowship program, and began a residency surgical rotation in Madurai, India. Dr. Gholam A. Peyman pioneered LASIK surgery at this time. During this period, the Lions of Illinois funded $5 million of the $6.8 million cost of building the Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute—the largest single donation ever given to the department. When the 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) institute opened in 1985, it was heralded as the most comprehensive eye research center in the Midwest. In 1985, The Lions of Illinois Eye Research Institute (LIERI) opened at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary through a generous donation from the Lions Clubs of Illinois. The Institute is part of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and has research laboratories, offices, computer services, core facilities for machine shop, imaging, tissue culture and molecular biology research, and one of the largest ophthalmology libraries in the country. Research efforts at LIERI are supported by both private and national grant-funding agencies and by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. LIERI also houses patient care facilities in the Edwin and Lois Deicke Eye Center.

21st Century[edit]

Of the 31 Chicago ophthalmologists as Super Doctors, 11 were based at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. The Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary is currently chaired by Dr. Mark Rosenblatt, a cornea specialist, with the former chair, Dr. Dimitri Azar, serving as dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Infirmary houses some of the world's most renowned ophthalmology faculty: 57 full-time and part-time ophthalmologists, as well as 18 ophthalmology residents, treat more than 60,000 patients and performs over 3,000 eye operations each year. Fellowships in ophthalmology span the following subspecialties: Cornea, Glaucoma, Neuro-ophthalmology, Oculoplastics, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and Vitreoretinal Disease. Research fellowships in artificial Cornea Research, Cornea Neurobiology & Ocular Surface Disease, and Oculoplastic pre-residency are also available.

The Otolaryngology Department, offers services in six subspecialties - Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Speech and Voice Care, Sinus & Nasal Allergy, Oncology and Neurology, Cancer of the Head and Neck, and General Otolaryngology - treated nearly 17,000 patients in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, making it one of the busiest programs in the country.[citation needed]

Through generous donations, the Cless Family Ophthalmology Training and Simulation Center was also established recently at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.[citation needed]

Notable Alumni and Faculty[edit]

David J Apple: responsible for the Miyake-Apple technique. This method of sectioning the cadaver eye was initially developed by Kansatu Miyake and refined by David Apple. The eye is dissected posterior to the posterior lens capsule and the anterior segment is mounted above a camera which allows observation of the IOL in-situ in the capsule from a posterior view: thus as though looking out on the world through the lens and cornea. Using this technique, Apple and his colleagues were able to analyse the performance of IOLs made of different biomaterials and different lens designs.

Eugene R. Folk: founded the "Chicago" school of strabismus, whose ideas competed with and stimulated those of Marshall M. Parks, Arthur Jampolsky, and other prominent strabismologists

Dr. Saul Merin

Saul Merin: worked for 25 years with the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal and genetic eye diseases. His book Inherited Eye Diseases is now in its second edition.

Marilyn T. Miller: contributions include descriptions of ocular findings in Mobius syndrome, Parry-Romberg syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. She described associations of Duane syndrome with craniofacial abnormalities, as well as dyslexia, thalidomide toxicity, and other first-trimester anomalies. In the 1990s, her study of eye motility problems in people affected by thalidomide contributed to research into the causes of autism. During her long career, Miller became known particularly for her interest in international ophthalmology. Along with administrative and educational work in this area, she has cared for thousands of patients around the world including Nigeria.

Gholam A. Peyman: Dr. Peyman was awarded the first patent for LASIK, recipient of National Medical of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, bestowed by the President of the United States, President Obama, on America's leading innovators and a Hall of Fame of Ophthalmology and retina surgeon who is also a prolific and successful inventor. A member of National Academy of Inventors, he has been granted over 160 US Patents covering a broad range of novel medical devices, intra-ocular drug delivery, surgical techniques, as well as new methods of diagnosis and treatment.

Maurice Rabb: founder of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary with a colleague, after obtaining a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The center was the only one in the country to diagnose and treat sickle-cell eye disease. Rabb also led a research that helped prevent retinal detachment and blindness in sickle-cell patients.Howard Schatz: a prominent American ophthalmologist and photographer whose works are exhibited in prestigious museums and photography galleries internationally and are included in innumerable private collections. Schatz completed his medical degree at The University of Illinois College of Medicine, followed by an internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, ophthalmology residency at the llinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, and fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Schatz has had seventeen monographs published of his photographs. H2O, Schatz's most recent book, published in 2007, is the third in his series of explorations of imagery made on, over and underwater. Schatz first established a following for this uniquely expressionistic underwater imagery in the 1990s with two collections of underwater photography, Water Dance and Pool Light.

William F. Mieler: Former President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and Life Achievement Honor Awardee from the American Board of Ophthalmology (AAO) and served as its director, vice-chair and chair. He is a past president of the Macula Society, which awarded the 2013 J. Donald Gass Medal to him for his outstanding contributions to the study of macular disease. Currently serves as Director of Ocular Oncology Clinic, and Vice Chair of Education. He was formerly the director of the Residency and Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Mark O.M. Tso: Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Much of his early research concerned ocular pathologic findings in retinoblastoma and laser effects on the retina.

Reza Dana: Resident alumnus at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary; Currently serves as the Claes Dohlman Chair in Ophthalmology, Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Scientist & W. Clement Stone Scholar at The Schepens Eye Research Institute, as well as the Director, Cornea & Refractive Surgery, Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Vice Chairman of Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, and Director of the Harvard Medical School Cornea Center for Excellence.

Jennifer I. Lim: A leading authority on retina and vitreoretinal diseases, having performed more than 6,000 vitreoretinal surgeries and directed more than 50 clinical research studies and trials on age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, macular edema and retinal vein occlusion and complex retinal detachments. Her book, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, is in its 3rd Edition and was published 2013.[citation needed]


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