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University of California, San Diego to Expand Shiley Eye Center


January 12, 2006  |  

The Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Institute, located on the University of California, San Diego Medical Center-La Jolla campus, houses the Department of Ophthalmology and its activities including broad based clinical care, world-class research, teaching and community outreach programs. The Shiley Eye Institute has produced significant contributions in the areas of the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of all eye diseases as well as groundbreaking outreach programs such as the first macular degeneration outreach program and the mobile children’s eye unit.

Because patient demand and burgeoning research activities are impacting clinical space at the center, UC San Diego today announced that it has secured commitments of $8.1 million in private support for a much-needed expansion at the Shiley Eye Institute and at the Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center. The Shiley Eye Institute, which has grown steadily since the department was founded just 20 years ago, had over 55,000 patient visits in 2004.

The expansion project, which is fully funded, will increase the existing clinical space by more than 50 percent and will include additional examination rooms, a registration area and a new waiting room on the first floor to offer added convenience to patients setting appointments and accessing the facilities. The second floor will contain space for new faculty and future research needs. The Ratner Children’s Eye Center, part of the Shiley Eye Institute complex, will also add several new examination rooms essentially doubling its clinical examination space. The total project will add approximately 13,000 square feet, at a total cost of $8.1 million, funded by private support.

The center is named after longtime UC San Diego benefactors Donald Shiley, an engineer and inventor of the Shiley heart valve, and his wife, Darlene.  The Shileys, who contributed funding to establish the Center, have provided an additional leadership gift of $5 million for the expansion. 

Through the years, the couple has committed more than $13 million to support research and academic units of the university, including earlier gifts to the Shiley Eye Institute, as well as support of the UC San Diego Alzheimer research unit.

“Ever since we met Dr. Stuart Brown and learned of the wonderful work being done and the patients he’s been able to help, we realized this center would become something remarkable,” said Darlene Shiley. “During the past 15 years, we have seen the Shiley Eye Institute become an important clinic for eye care and research, benefiting patients worldwide. It has also been wonderful to see other community members support the center and the work underway. With broad community support, the center can continue to serve as a leader in both care and research.”

Several other community members have contributed to the project, including gifts from both Anne F. Ratner and Marc Paskin. Gifts for the expansion project contribute to The Campaign for UC San Diego: Imagine What’s Next, a $1 billion fundraising initiative.

“When I first learned of Dr. Brown’s dream to create a center that would deal exclusively with children’s eye problems, I knew I wanted to become involved. I am so proud of the work being done and honored to play a role in helping children keep their sight,” said Anne F. Ratner, naming patron of the Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center, the only dedicated eye facility in the region designed to meet the very special vision needs of children. Ratner also has funded the Anne F. Ratner Endowed Chair of Pediatric Ophthalmology, held by Dr. David B. Granet, and has helped finance an eye mobile that is a critical part of UC San Diego’s outreach to children in the underserved communities of San Diego County.

The world-renowned Shiley Eye Institute is a complex of buildings on the UC San Diego Medical Center campus featuring state-of-the-art clinical and surgical space for adults and children, laboratories, and offices for the extensive education and community outreach programs. 

The Shiley Eye Institute Complex is made up of the Shiley Eye Institute main facility, the Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center, the Hamilton Glaucoma Center and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center, all of which were funded entirely through private support. The complex houses major ophthalmological programs that are paving the way for advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the major blinding disorders affecting patients today.

"We have outgrown our facilities faster than imagined, and must again plan for further expansion,” said Stuart I. Brown, M.D., chairman of the university’s Ophthalmology Department and Director of the Shiley Eye Institute.  “With additional space, concerns associated with appointment availability and waiting room comfort for our patients, as well as opportunities to expand our research and community outreach programming, will diminish. This is indeed an urgent need, critical to maintaining the optimal community benefit of the Shiley Eye Institute.”

The Shiley Eye Institute receives only about five percent of its budget directly from the State of California. The remaining funds must come from clinic income, research grants and fundraising efforts. Patients come from San Diego and around the world to take advantage of the broad range of facilities available at the center.

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About the Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Institute:

Completed in 1991, the Shiley Eye Institute is home to academic and basic research, innovative and unique surgical practices and patient treatment for a wide variety of ophthalmologic concerns. The Shiley Eye Institute is located on UC San Diego’s La Jolla east campus as part of a medical complex that includes John M. and Sally B. Thornton hospital and the new Rebecca and John Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center. The existing Shiley Eye Institute complex contains state-of-the-art clinical and surgical space, laboratories and offices for education, research and outreach including The Hamilton Glaucoma Center and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center, the Anne F. and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center, and the new Ruth and Victor Schulman Community Ophthalmology Division. It is also home to the Save Our Children’s Sight EyeMobile, the nation’s only traveling eye clinic, which serves 10,000 underprivileged preschool children each year. UC San Diego’s Ophthalmology department ranked 10th in the nation in grants from the National Institute of Health in 2004. The Shiley Eye Institute has taken a leadership role in introducing new practices, including being the first to successfully transplant infant corneas, the first to establish a Thyroid Eye Center and an AIDS Ocular Research unit, and is home to the creators of the Glaucoma Risk Calculator. For more information, please visit Shiley Eye Institute.

About The Campaign for UC San Diego: Imagine What’s Next:

Since its founding nearly 50 years ago, the University of California, San Diego has rapidly achieved the status as one of the top institutions in the nation for higher education and research. In order to keep UC San Diego at the forefront of academic and research excellence, the university launched The Campaign for UC San Diego: Imagine What’s Next in July 2000. Donations to the comprehensive $1 billion fundraising campaign will help support students and faculty, expand academic programs, fund research endeavors and strengthen innovation funds to meet the highest priority needs. The Campaign for UC San Diego has generated more than $800 million to date, but there is nearly $200 million to raise before the campaign concludes in June 2007. For more information, please visit

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