A vision realized in the new Gavin Herbert Eye Institute

World-class home of Gavin Herbert Eye Institute has been years in the making

August 29, 2013
UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute lobby

When the UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute opens its new 70,000-square-foot home on the university campus Sept. 17, the community will gain access to a leading-edge center for the preservation of sight, with eye care services ranging from eyeglass fittings to refractive surgeries to clinical trials of new therapies.

The comprehensive eye health institute includes 34 patient exam rooms with the latest in optical equipment, an optical shop, faculty offices and conference space.

A dedicated pediatric area has play areas, video entertainment screens, kid-friendly restrooms and other features to make the experience more comfortable for the youngest patients, many with special needs.

Designed for low-vision patients

The interior design reflects recommendations from the Braille Institute that make it easier for low-vision patients to navigate around the building. View a fact sheet about our eye institute ›

“This institute offers patients from both the local community and around the world access to clinically advanced eye care from internationally renowned ophthalmologists in a thoughtfully planned physical environment,” says UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake.

“The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute is strategically located within walking distance of two major biomedical research centers and at the epicenter of the largest concentration of eye technology companies in the world. It’s well positioned to pursue its ambitious research goal of ending blindness by 2020.”

Ten Gavin Herbert Eye Institute physicians appear on Best Doctors Inc.’s list of “Best Doctors in America,” including the institute’s founding director, Dr. Roger F. Steinert. An internationally recognized authority on cataract, cornea and refractive surgery, he is UC Irvine’s Irving H. Leopold Chair in Ophthalmology and a professor of both ophthalmology and biomedical engineering.

“I am fortunate to lead a talented team of 24 clinicians and researchers who are dedicated to making life better for people with vision issues,” Steinert says.

“The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute has attracted the best and the brightest — ophthalmologists who are eager to be part of an institute that works at the edge of science, collaborating with medical peers and eye industry professionals to develop innovative technologies and clinical practices that improve sight. It’s rewarding to be able to see our patients from the local community and around the globe benefit from these advances.”

Pioneering eye specialists

UCI Health eye specialists have pioneered such medical procedures as refractive and corneal transplant surgery performed with femtosecond lasers and next-generation medical therapies for age-related macular degeneration. Research teams are investigating such advanced treatments as stem cell therapies to preserve and restore sight for individuals with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration; infused contact lenses that replace eye drops to treat cystinosis; and a vaccine for ocular herpes, a leading cause of blindness.

UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute entranceThe $39-million building is the first on the UC Irvine campus to be funded entirely with local corporate, foundation and individual gifts. No government funding was required.

James V. “Jim” Mazzo, an operating partner with Newport Beach-based Versant Ventures as well as a UC Irvine Foundation trustee, led the very successful community campaign.

The initial naming gift came in 2007 from Gavin Herbert, founder and chairman emeritus of Allergan Inc.; his wife, Ninetta; and his mother, Josephine Herbert Gleis.

“I’m delighted that we’ll finally have an eye institute at UC Irvine,” Gavin Herbert says. “The concept was first discussed when Dr. Irving Leopold helped start the department in 1975. So it’s been a long time coming. Orange County has become the research center for ophthalmology products, and the new eye institute is an important addition that will enhance clinical research in the development of new products.”

Other major donors were Abbott Medical Optics Inc., the Alcon Foundation, the Allergan Foundation, Julia and George Argyros, the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation, Bausch & Lomb, Esther and James Cavanaugh, the Discovery Eye Foundation, the Kratz Foundation, Marsha and Bill Link, and Kelly and Jim Mazzo.

Gavin Herbert Eye Institute patients who have been treated at Gottschalk Medical Plaza — also on the UC Irvine campus — will transition to the new center on Sept. 17. The institute's clinical offices at UC Irvine Medical Center's Pavilion II in Orange will remain open for patient care.

About the eye institute: The faculty of internationally recognized physicians, surgeons and scientists at the UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute and UCI Health School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology provide highly specialized training to future ophthalmologists, access to leading-edge clinical trials, and sight-saving treatments and therapies for many eye disorders. The institute's mission is to develop educational programs, technologies and clinical solutions that enhance visual health and performance for people in Orange County, the nation and the world through cooperation with medical professionals, industry and the community.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation.

U.S. News & World Report has listed the medical center among America’s Best Hospitals for 13 consecutive years. The medical center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, the region's premiere high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, a Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center. It also is the primary teaching hospital for UCI Health School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County.

UCI Health Advancement media contact:

Nancy Everhart