Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Retina Surgeon, Thomas C. Lee, MD, Appointed Division Head for The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Press Release   •   Nov 04, 2011 05:25 EDT

November 3, 2011 – Pediatric retina surgeon, Thomas C. Lee, MD, has been appointed division head for The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In his new role, Dr. Lee is responsible for management of clinical operations while expanding ophthalmic services to patients and families.

Dr. Lee has served as the director of the Retina Institute and attending physician in The Vision Center since 2006. He is an associate professor at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and is an attending physician at the Doheny Eye Institute.

“Thomas Lee is recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering efforts to deliver state of the art ophthalmologic services not only to the children of Southern California, but also to children from underserved areas throughout the world” said Henri Ford, MD, vice president and chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “His commitment to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is well known to his colleagues, but felt best by the children he cares for and their families.”

Dr. Lee has made significant advances in the understanding of pediatric retinal disorders and has pioneered the use of cutting edge imaging techniques such as Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT) to identify eye diseases at the earliest possible stage. He was also the first to use an intraocular endoscope to perform complex surgery in pediatric retinal detachments resulting from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), familial exudative vitreo-retinopathy, x-linked retinoschisis and trauma.

He has identified novel drugs that can induce blood vessel and tumor regression and is currently designing new ways to enhance delivery into the eye. His work has been supported by a number of grants from research foundations and has numerous peer-reviewed publications in recognition of these accomplishments.

Dr. Lee also spearheaded a telemedicine and distant learning portal to significantly reduce blindness in babies through patient screening and physician education with the Armenian Eye Care Project (AECP). As Armenian doctors diagnose and treat their patients, Dr. Lee is able to monitor exams and surgeries using advanced medical equipment from across the globe. 

Prior to joining Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Lee was director of the pediatric retina services and associate director of the Robert M. Ellsworth Ocular Oncology Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Cornell University. Dr. Lee earned his bachelor's at Johns Hopkins University and received his MD from Cornell University where he graduated with Honors in Research as a Howard Hughes Scholar. He completed his ophthalmology residency at Cornell and then went to Harvard Medical School as a Heed Fellow where he studied retinal stem cells and the role they play in cancer. He completed his retina fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School.