Just a generation ago, patients diagnosed with an eye disease, disorder or injury often faced limited vision or blindness. Today, through the singularly human ability to conceptualize- to take science and technology to unprecedented levels- many of these eye problems are effectively and efficiently managed.
Since 1948, the Kresge Eye Institute has played a major role in these extraordinary developments through a dedication to excellence in patient care, eye research and medical education.
Following World War II, leading ophthalmologists Drs. A.D. Ruedemann Sr. and Parker Heath saw the need for a comprehensive eye institute in Michigan. Through a generous grant from the Kresge Foundation, they established the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit and took on the challenge of bringing together physicians and scientists in a collaborative effort to preserve vision.
With the advent of a new century, the Institute is considered one of the nation’s leading medical centers for the preservation of sight and has an international reputation for its pioneering eye research program, basic science studies and serves as a major referral center for the treatment of difficult vision problems. A part of Wayne State University since 1966, the Institute is an integral part of the University’s School of Medicine, and administers and directs all ophthalmological services for Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center.
With the growth of the department and support by the Kresge Foundation, a new building was built in May 1974. The building was a 35,000-square feet, single floor structure, with an interior designed by the faculty, and connected to the Harper Hospital.
In 1970, Dr. Robert Jampel was recruited from Columbia College as Kresge’s second chairman. Dr. Jampel’s goal of a clinical and research institute required a full-time academic faculty. By 1976, Dr. Jampel was able to form the first multispecialty ophthalmologic group practice in the city. The number of patient visits to the Institute grew from a few hundred to more than 50,000 annually between 1974 and 1979.
By 1979 the practices were crowded with patients and there was no room for additional faculty offices or laboratories. A municipal clinic in another building accommodated an additional 15,000 patients. It was obvious that the Kresge Eye Institute was filling a need. In 1979 it became evident that the building was not adequate and that further growth and development required a larger building.
In November 1989, Kresge Ophthalmologists began seeing patients in a new structure, which was formally dedicated in May 1990. The four-story building was 2 1/2 times larger than the previous one and contained 25 faculty offices, 18 basic science and clinical laboratories, a library, an auditorium, three classrooms, and two large clinics. It was planned to integrate patient care, research, and teaching in one structure. The clinics, both public and private, and the laboratories, were now in close proximity, which permitted collaborative relationships between the basic and clinical scientists. The building’s layout made it convenient for students to initiate research projects and collaborate with faculty.
In March 1994, Dr. Gary Abrams, was recruited as the Institute’s third Chairman. The growth of the institution continued with the addition of a number of new clinical and research faculty. With leadership and dedicated ophthalmologists, the Kresge Eye Institute will continue to establish the standard for eye care in the community.
In August 2011, Dr. Mark S. Juzych, was recruited as the Institute’s fourth Chairman.
Kresge Eye Institute’s clinical ophthalmologists, who are also Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty members, treat more than 100,000 patients annually and perform nearly 5,000 surgical procedures. Patients come from throughout the metropolitan Detroit area and the Midwest for highly specialized care in areas such as glaucoma and filtering surgery; cataract and lens implant surgery; corneal transplantation and refractive surgery; neuro-ophthalmologic, orbital diseases and plastic surgery; retinal disease and vitreous surgery; pediatric ophthalmology and diabetic eye care. In addition to our 11 satellite locations, Kresge Eye Institute is privileged to provide healthcare to United States Veterans at the Detroit V.A. Hospital.