Jefferson University Hospitals


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Ophthalmology Department
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Wills Eye Hospital, which serves as the Department of Ophthalmology for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, is rated among the best in the nation for Ophthalmology by U.S.News & World Report.

Many of the special instruments and techniques that are commonplace in ophthalmology were invented or developed at Wills Eye. For instance, we pioneered the intraocular lens implant (IOL), an artificial lens that is implanted inside the eye of a cataract patient's own clouded lens to restore vision. We also invented the vitrectomy machine, now widely used for eye microsurgery.

General Eye Care & Subspecialty Services

From common eye problems to rare sight-threatening diseases, Wills Eye provides general eye care and nine subspecialty services attracting patients from throughout the Delaware Valley, across the country and around the world:

Cataract and Primary Eye Care (CPEC) Service

The hub of Wills Eye, approximately 22,000 patients are seen each year in the Cataract and Primary Eye Care Service. Wills Eye physicians perform routine eye exams and refer any serious complications to the Hospital's subspecialty services. Each year thousands of patients also undergo cataract surgery at Wills Eye, benefiting from the experience of world-class surgeons consistently rated as America's best.

Contact Lens Service

We evaluate and fit patients of all ages and medical conditions with the latest in cosmetic and therapeutic contact lens technology. With our participation in major national studies on advances in contact lenses, this Service provides you with the newest devices and the latest information available.

Cornea Service

A leading center for corneal transplants and the treatment of corneal diseases and conditions, more than 400 corneal transplants are performed at Wills Eye each year. In addition to corneal transplants, physicians in the Cornea Service diagnose and treat corneal dystrophies, abrasions, scars and congenital corneal problems.

Glaucoma Service

The country's largest, the Glaucoma Service treats you with the newest laser and surgical techniques and drug therapies available. The Glaucoma Service Diagnostic Laboratory provides advanced computerized techniques to uncover the earliest signs of glaucoma in suspected patients, as well as charting the progression of the condition, including the slightest change in the optic nerve, in patients who have already been diagnosed.

Neuro-Ophthalmology Service

The physicians in this Service have a long history of investigating and treating optic neuritis, thyroid-related eye disease, ischemic optic neuropathy, blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm.

Oculoplastics Service

One of the largest of its kind in the country, oculoplastic surgery is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that focuses on problems surrounding the eyeball (the lids, the orbit and the lacrimal system) as well as artificial eyes. The Service also includes a cosmetic surgery unit.

Oncology Service

One of the largest services in the world that serves an international patient population, our Service physicians are leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular oncology, particularly melanoma and retinoblastoma, and have developed new techniques to save eyes that, in the past, would have been necessary to remove.

Pathology Service

The Pathology Service is the backbone of teaching at Wills Eye, featuring state-of-the-art technology a center of activity for Wills residents and fellows, as well as for Jefferson medical students. We also conduct ongoing research into the broad spectrum of ocular diseases.

Pediatric Ophthalmology Service

This Service treats the unique ocular problems of children including strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye). Our physicians also perform cataract surgery on infants as early as a few weeks old. A pediatric contact lens service at Wills Eye fits and stocks lenses exclusively for children.

Retina Service

The first subspecialty service established at Wills Eye, an average of 15,000 patients are diagnosed and treated each year. All vitreoretinal diseases are treated at Wills Eye, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis and retinitis pigmentosa.

Other Ocular Services

Other ocular services at Wills Eye include the Refractive Surgery Unit, the Foerderer Center for the Study of Eye Movement Disorders in Children, the Center for Sports Vision, the Low Vision Service and a 24-hour Emergency Service open 365 days a year.

Wills Eye Surgical Network

Wills Eye has also branched into the community with a network of same-day surgery centers throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The centers offer care that reaches beyond ophthalmology to other surgical specialties such as orthopedics, pediatrics, plastics and ear, nose and throat. Wills Eye also provides laser vision correction at its center in downtown Philadelphia and centers throughout the tri-state region.

Ophthalmology Research & Education

Macular degeneration, Stickler syndrome, glaucoma and ocular cancers in children and adults are the primary areas of research taking place at Wills Eye, using the most advanced scientific equipment. Through molecular genetics, gene identification and gene sequencing investigators are compiling critical data for use in future treatments or cures of these blinding diseases.

Wills Eye built its outstanding reputation as a pioneer in ophthalmic education by establishing the first ophthalmology residency program in the country in 1839. Jefferson medical students and nonophthalmology residents rotate through Wills Eye as part of their training.

Visit the Department of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University for more on research and education.

Department Leadership