History of the Doheny Eye Institute

The story of the Doheny Eye Institute begins with Carrie Estelle Doheny—a woman of great heart and even greater hopes. Moved by her own sudden, catastrophic vision loss, she marshaled her largesse to establish the Doheny Eye Foundation with an ambitious aim: “To further the conservation, improvement and restoration of human eyesight.” Guided by her trusted advisors—the Reverend William Ward, Dr. A. Ray Irvine Sr., her personal ophthalmologist, and others—she accomplished her dream in 1947.

The Doheny Mansion

Dr. A. Ray Irvine Sr. in his office, circa 1945.

Carrie Estelle Doheny, 1915.

In 1961, the Doheny Eye Foundation began an affiliation process with USC, formalized years later and only after the University agreed that Doheny would remain independent and be able to purchase property on USC’s Health Sciences Campus for the construction of state-of-the art vision research and patient care facilities. Doheny took its next major evolutionary leap when Stephen J. Ryan, MD, became Medical Director in 1977. Working closely with his friend and colleague, Ronald E. Smith, MD, and a growing brain trust of dedicated vision scientists, clinicians, faculty, and residents, Dr. Ryan led the Doheny Eye Institute as it rose steadily to the forefront of ophthalmological training, research, and patient care. Under Dr. Ryan’s dynamic leadership, DEI became widely admired as a supportive research environment that encourages the best and brightest to exceed their personal expectations—and ultimately our own.

Stephen J. Ryan

With the end of the DEI-USC partnership and the signing of the historic 99-year DEI-UCLA affiliation in December 2013, DEI’s future opportunities have expanded exponentially as we have joined forces with the world-renowned Stein Eye Institute and the Geffen School of Medicine, which ranks in the top five in the United States. Our combined strengths—both complementary and collaborative—are unrivaled, and position us to solve ophthalmology’s most challenging and complex problems.

To this new alliance, DEI brings a deeply ingrained ethos built on the intertwined legacies of Carrie Estelle Doheny and Stephen J. Ryan, MD Both leaders believed that the impossible is possible by harnessing the power of a common goal. These are values we at DEI continue to fully embrace. By bridging the traditional boundaries of location and affiliation, our faculty and diverse teams of national and international researchers are, together, realizing vision science breakthroughs on a global scale never before imagined.

UCLA Stein Eye Institute

Read the entire history of Doheny Eye Institute in A Clear Vision: The History of Doheny Eye Institute: 1947-2017
Contact us at (323) 342-7101 for more information.