UC Irvine’s Dr. Roger Steinert has been named one of America’s top ophthalmologists by Becker’s ASC Review, a publication for surgeons, medical directors and others involved in outpatient surgery. The Department of Ophthalmology professor and chair is founding director of UCI’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

“This recognition among Dr. Steinert’s peers is well deserved,” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of the School of Medicine. “His leadership of UCI’s ophthalmology department and the nascent Gavin Herbert Eye Institute has created a lasting legacy in Orange County for premier research and exceptional clinical practice in ophthalmology.”

Over the past 10 years, the Department of Ophthalmology has grown from three full-time professors to about 30 full- and part-time faculty members. It’s home to some of the nation’s top researchers in retinal disease, glaucoma, corneal disease, macular degeneration and refractive surgery.

“We’re dedicated to meeting the community’s needs and elevating the level of eye care in Orange County to the best anywhere, nationally or internationally,” said Steinert.

The site for The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute’s new clinical and academic center was dedicated in October at the School of Medicine. When completed, the $31 million, 60,000-square-foot facility will cement UCI’s status as a global leader in eye care and ophthalmologic research, boasting state-of-the-art patient exam and waiting areas, an outpatient surgery center, an optical shop, and faculty office and conference space.

A multimillion-dollar contribution toward the institute was made by Gavin Herbert, founder and former CEO of Irvine-based Allergan Inc. – maker of eye care and other products, including Botox – and his mother, Josephine Gleis.

The list of “34 of the Best Ophthalmologists in America” was published in Becker’s January edition. Selection criteria included leadership and involvement in nationally recognized ophthalmologic organizations, as well as the use of technologically advanced procedures and equipment. No physicians paid to be included.

Steinert has been a pioneer in excimer laser refractive surgery and LASIK. While he was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983, his lab group became second in the world to study excimer laser applications. And he was in the first group of surgeons to conduct Food & Drug Administration trials of phototherapeutic keratectomy and photorefractive keratectomy.

In 2008, Steinert received the Barraquer Award, the most prestigious honor in refractive surgery. Last year, the Foundation Fighting Blindness recognized both Steinert and Herbert with its Visionary Award. The leading philanthropic organization is committed to the alleviation of suffering from blindness, particularly due to retinal degeneration.

This month, Steinert was listed among the Best Doctors in America for 2011-12.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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