Eduardo C. Alfonso, M.D., the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, director of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley J. Glaser Chair in Ophthalmology, is known for his clinical expertise and research in eye diseases, corneal surgery and ocular microbiology.
Physician, surgeon, professor and researcher, Dr. Alfonso is an internationally known expert on ocular infectious diseases and he is the medical director of Bascom Palmer’s Ocular Microbiology Laboratory. In 2006, he documented an increase in the incidence of an aggressive form of fungal corneal infection that was related to soft contact lens use. His findings drew considerable media attention throughout the world and significantly reduced the number of new infections.
Born in Cuba, Dr. Alfonso grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to the U.S. to attend college. He received a Bachelor of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Yale College and medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He first joined Bascom Palmer in 1981 as an ophthalmology resident. Following his three-year residency, he completed fellowships at Harvard Medical School: a corneal and external disease fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary ; ophthalmic pathology at the David G. Cogan Eye Pathology Laboratory ; and a research fellowship at the Howe Laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard University School of Medicine. A board-certified ophthalmologist, he joined the Bascom Palmer faculty in 1986 as assistant professor and became professor of ophthalmology and the Edward W.D. Norton Professor in Ophthalmology in 1998.
An experienced medical academic leader, Dr. Alfonso received the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Honor Award in 1993 and Senior Achievement Award in 2003. He serves on the editorial board of U.S. and international ophthalmology journals, has authored more than 200 articles for scientific publication, and has been guest lecturer nationally and internationally.
His research interests include bacterial and fungal sensitivity; and the development and clinical applications of keratoprosthesis, an artificial cornea, which has significant potential for patients awaiting transplants in developing nations where donor tissue is often scarce. In addition, with a team of investigators from the University of Miami, he is spearheading ways to make rapid identification of sight threatening eye infections. Clinically, Dr. Alfonso specializes in corneal transplants having performed over 1,000 of these in adults and children.
Dr. Alfonso was appointed as interim chairman of Bascom Palmer in November 2007 and became chairman in June 2009 with the objective of propelling the internationally acclaimed institution to even greater heights by becoming the world leader in the clinical practice of ophthalmology, ophthalmic education and vision research.
He has served as president of the Miami Ophthalmological Society, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Alumni Association, Sociedad Iberoamericana de Cornea y Cirugia Refractiva, director of Cuban Ophthalmological Society in Exile, Pan American Association of Ophthalmology, and secretary of Continuing Education in Ophthalmology, Inc., and The Ophthalmology Research Foundation, Inc. He has also served as vice chair of the University of Miami Medical Group, medical director of Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital and vice chair of its Board of Governors. He is the recipient of the South Florida Business Journal 2008 CEO of the Year award and, in 2009, was inducted into the University of Miami’s most prestigious honor society, Iron Arrow Honor Society.
He and his wife, Molly, have three children and five grandchildren, and live in Key Biscayne, Florida.