Glaucoma specialist Felipe Medeiros, MD, PhD, professor of clinical ophthalmology and medical director of the Hamilton Glaucoma Center at the University of California, San Diego Shiley Eye Center, has been named the inaugural holder of the Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Diseases of the Eye. The chair is one of three established by a bequest from Ben and Wanda Hildyard to help UC San Diego School of Medicine recruit and retain top faculty members. The bequest provided endowment funds of more than $6 million to establish the three chairs.
“I am honored to be the first faculty member to hold the Hildyard Chair for Diseases of the Eye and am appreciative for the resources it provides to advance my work,” said Medeiros, whose research is focused on glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. “I have been very fortunate to be able to collaborate with an outstanding group of people and be part of a wonderfully supportive environment.”
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease can help preserve vision. The Hamilton Glaucoma Center at UC San Diego Shiley Eye Center, where Medeiros serves as medical director and director of visual function research, is a comprehensive clinical and research center that offers management programs for glaucoma through clinical trials and innovative medical and surgical therapies, including genetic testing and regenerative ophthalmology.
Medeiros’ interests encompass many different areas in glaucoma research, including identification of risk factors and development of new methods for diagnosis and management of the disease. He is the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to evaluate functional impairment in glaucoma. His laboratory is currently evaluating the impact of the disease on activities of daily living in patients with glaucoma, using techniques such as driving simulation and virtual reality. The results of his research have provided major contributions to the understanding of how glaucoma affects quality of life, how physicians can better determine risk and how to prevent patients from developing impairment from the disease.
“This endowed chair recognizes Dr. Medeiros for his transformative clinical and research contributions to ophthalmology,” said Robert N. Weinreb, MD, chair of the department of ophthalmology and director of the Shiley Eye Center. “We are grateful to the Hildyards for their legacy of support, and for investing in the future of ophthalmology at Shiley Eye Center.”
Among his numerous professional honors, Medeiros has been named one of the top five glaucoma researchers in the world over the past decade by Expertscape, and one of the 2013 Best Doctors in America. He has also received awards from the World Glaucoma Association, American Glaucoma Society and American Academy of Ophthalmology.
At UC San Diego, there are currently 173 endowed faculty chairs. Funded by private support, these endowments help to attract and retain outstanding faculty by allowing the campus to offer chair holders supplemental funds for teaching, research and service.
In addition to the Hildyard Chair for Diseases of the Eye, the Hildyards’ bequest established the Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Hereditary Diseases and the Ben and Wanda Hildyard Chair for Mitochondrial and Metabolic Diseases. During their lifetimes, the Hildyards generously supported UC San Diego. Ben Hildyard was a civil engineer and owner of BGH Engineering. Wanda Hildyard worked as an executive secretary with several federal engineering agencies before becoming a staff member at UC San Diego.
To learn more about how planned gifts support UC San Diego, including the variety of giving opportunities available, visit giftplanning.ucsd.edu.