Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., is director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology, and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Physician, surgeon, professor, researcher, and administrator, he is known for his clinical and research expertise in eye diseases, corneal surgery, ocular microbiology, and administrative skills in healthcare.
Born in Cuba, Dr. Alfonso grew up in Puerto Rico. He received a bachelor degree (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and medical degree from Yale University. He completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. This was followed by fellowships in clinical and surgical cornea at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, in ophthalmic pathology at the David G. Cogan Eye Pathology Laboratory, and research at the Howe Laboratory, all of Harvard University. Dr. Alfonso joined the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute University of Miami faculty in 1986 as assistant professor and became a tenured professor and Edward W.D. Norton Distinguished Chair in 1998.
Since 2007, Dr. Alfonso has served as the leader of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He oversees the clinical, educational, and research programs. He is the medical director of its clinical facilities which include the University of Miami Hospital and Clinics, the Anne Bates Leach Eye Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital and Health System, the Veterans Administration Hospitals, and Bascom Palmer’s outpatient facilities in Palm Beach Gardens, Plantation, Naples, and Coral Gables, Florida. The Institute’s medical education program trains ophthalmology residents, fellows, researchers, medical students and clinical observers. The continuing education program has over 1,500 yearly attendees. Research accounts for more than 25 million dollars a year in clinical and laboratory research programs. Since the U.S. News & World Report national rankings began in 1990, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has been named as one of the top two eye hospitals in the country, achieving the #1 position each year for the past 21 years. The Institute has also repeatedly received the top eye hospital ranking and the top clinical care program ranking by Ophthalmology Times; and the ophthalmology residency program is continually recognized as the best in the country by Doximity.com.
Dr. Alfonso is an internationally known clinical and research expert on cornea and ocular infectious diseases. He specializes in corneal transplants, having performed more than 1,000 surgeries in adults and children. He has developed the surgical and clinical applications of keratoprosthesis, an artificial cornea. The National Eye Institute, foundations, and philanthropy have funded this research. He has delivered more than 25 named honor lectures, has been an invited lecturer in over 200 national and international meetings, serves on the editorial boards of ophthalmology journals, and authored more than 300 scientific publications. Since 1985, he has been certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and voluntarily re-certified in 2015.
Dr. Alfonso has received numerous awards, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Honor Award, Senior Achievement Award, Life Achievement Honor Award, and Special Recognition Award. He has been honored with the Pan American Ophthalmological Foundation Ambassador for Education Award, and received the Heed-Gutman Award from the Society of Heed Fellows. South Florida Business presented him with the CEO of the Year Award and named him one of the 100 most influential leaders in South Florida. He was honored with the Florida Society of Ophthalmology Leadership Award, and the Medical Faculty Award by ORBIS International. Dr. Alfonso was inducted into the American Ophthalmological Society, the University of Miami Iron Arrow Society, the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationale, Alpha Omega Alpha, Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of St John. Florida Trend has included him in their list of most influential leaders each year since 2018. He has been included in Best Doctors in America by Woodward/White since 1994, Top Doctors in the United States by Castle Connolly since 2000, and named to The Ophthalmologist Power List in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2022, and 2023, which names the world’s 100 most influential people in ophthalmology.
He has served as director and president of the Miami Ophthalmological Society, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Alumni Association, Sociedad Iberoamericana de Cornea y Cirugia Refractiva, Cuban Ophthalmological Society in Exile, Ophthalmology Research Foundation, Ocular Microbiology and Immunology Group, Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, Heed Ophthalmic Foundation, and Pan American Association of Ophthalmology. He has served or serves on the board of directors of the Society of Heed Fellows, Cornea Society, International Council of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Foundation, Florida Society of Ophthalmology, and the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. Dr. Alfonso founded the Cornea and External Disease Academic Society in 1988. He has served as vice chair of the University of Miami Medical Group, chair of the by-laws and finance committees, and vice chair of the Board of Governors of the Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital. He has served on several search committees at the University of Miami and/or the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine including those identifying and recommending applicants for Provost and Executive Vice President (chair), President, and numerous department chairs, as well as serving on the search committee for the Deputy Director of the National Eye Institute. Dr. Alfonso has also served on scientific boards for industry, National Eye Institute, Hope for Vision, Prevent Blindness America, Alcon Research Institute, and Research to Prevent Blindness. He was appointed by the Secretary of Health & Human Services to serve on the National Institute of Health’s National Advisory Eye Council, a prestigious panel of leading scientists that advises the National Eye Institute.
Dr. Alfonso and his wife, Molly, live in Key Biscayne, Florida. They have three children, two sons-in-law, and five grandchildren. They enjoy the outdoors, exercise, boating and travel.