Established in 1966, the UCLA Stein Eye Institute is the fulfillment of a dream— an ambitious plan developed by Jules Stein, MD, to prevent blindness by trans- forming the quality of vision research, education, patient care, and community outreach.
The Institute exists because of Dr. Stein, one of the most influential executives in entertainment who returned to his roots as a medical doctor to become a national advocate for vision science; and Bradley R. Straatsma, MD, JD, founding director of the Stein Eye Institute and founding chairman of the UCLA Department of Ophthalmology, who created a bold plan for building the scope of ophthalmology in the UCLA School of Medicine. Together Drs. Stein and Straatsma ensured that the Institute would take a central role in transforming vision science as a powerful platform for discovery and patient care to eradicate one of the great scourges of human existence: blindness.
Under the leadership of Bartly J. Mondino, MD, director and chairman since 1994, the Institute’s core pillars have been increasingly developed and a broad agenda of program-building and expansion has been implemented.
The first Stein Eye Center was opened in Santa Monica in 2012, and a historic affiliation was forged with the Doheny Eye Institute in 2013, creating the nation’s preeminent organization for ophthalmic care and vision research. Combined, the Stein Eye Institute, Stein Eye Center, Doheny Eye Center UCLA locations in Arcadia, Orange County, and Pasadena, and UCLA-affiliated hospitals provide patients across the Southland with access to the finest vision care.
But perhaps most ambitious of all, the original dream for ophthalmology at UCLA has evolved into the Institute’s bold transformation to a vision-science campus—an interconnected community of facilities and people that merge research, training for new ophthalmologists, premier patient care, community outreach programs, and ongoing education for doctors worldwide.
Since its opening, the Institute’s original mandate still remains paramount: the relentless drive for excellence and the constant search for new possibilities in the treatment of the eye. The Institute’s achievements in its first 50 years may have even exceeded the original soaring expectations of Dr. Stein who at the dedication cere- mony defined his own prophecy for the Institute and the medical field he loved:
“The men and women who will occupy this building and use its resources will share in future achievements that will outstrip any that have been seen; for science today is moving ahead with fantastic speed, and we must be sure that eye research moves with it. The history of this Institute begins with this dedication. I am confident that it will be a proud history.”