Eye Institute To Open This Month

The new building housing the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, a part of UC Irvine Health, will open this September in the UCI Gottschalk Medical Plaza. With 24 clinicians and researchers at the heart of the center, ten of which were named “Best Doctors in America” by Best Doctor’s Inc., the eye institute offers the community services ranging from eyeglass fittings and corrective surgeries to clinical trials of newly developed therapies.

“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,” Chancellor Drake said.

“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.”

Funded entirely by donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, the institute’s new $39 million, 70,000 square-foot building is equipped with 34 patient exam rooms, technologically advanced optical equipment, an optical shop, faculty offices and conference rooms, and a pediatric area that includes play areas, video screens and kid-friendly restrooms. The interior design of the building also takes recommendations from the Braille Institute into consideration for the purpose of creating a less stressful environment for low-vision patients to navigate through.

One of the biggest donations to the institute was contributed by Ninetta and Gavin S. Herbert and Gavin’s mother, Josephine Herbert Gleis. The institute was named after Gavin, the founder, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Allergan, Inc., a pharmaceutical and medical device company in Irvine, who supported and worked with UCI’s department of ophthalmology for more than 30 years.

Other donors include Abbott Medical Optics Inc., the Alcon Foundation, Julia and George Argyros, the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Foundation, Bausch & Lomb, Esther and James Cavanaugh, the Kratz Foundation, Marsha and Bill Link, Kelly and Jim Mazzo and the Discovery Eye Foundation, which recently donated $3 million to the center. Two million of the $3 million award will go toward the completion of the building, and the remaining $1 million will be invested in the development of the Discovery Center for Eye Research within the institute.


“The Discovery Eye Foundation has funded the progress of many patient-oriented Gavin Herbert Eye Institute research programs, from a potential cure for ocular herpes to a proposed stem cell treatment for age-related macular degeneration,”  Dr. Roger F. Steinert, founding director of the institute, said.

“We are grateful to the foundation for its generous investment in the future of eye health and look forward to exploring what we can accomplish together through the Discovery Center for Eye Research.”

In addition to being the institute’s director, Dr. Steinert is also the chair of the department of ophthalmology of UCI, as well as a professor of 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 said.

“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.”