The Department of Ophthalmology/Kittner Eye Center has an unwavering mission to improve the health of all of our patients by providing the highest-quality clinical care, pioneering new ways to treat and prevent eye disease, and by educating the next generation of ophthalmologists through our residents and fellows program, now in its 66th year. Patients and their families will be welcomed to an environment that is supportive and collegial, ensuring the best service and care.

The Kittner Eye Center is named for David Kittner, a native of North Carolina who was a proud alumnus and long-time donor to the University of North Carolina.

Mr. Kittner earned a business degree from the University of North Carolina in 1939, served his country in the United States Army, and then earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951. Throughout his distinguished legal career in Philadelphia, his alma mater remained an important point of pride.

In 1988 he established a scholarship at UNC in memory of his parents. Twenty years later, he endowed a fund to create the Kittner Eye Center at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of North Carolina. He provided additional funds to establish a distinguished professorship in Ophthalmology at UNC.

David’s spirit and legacy lives on through his family and the Kittner Eye Center.

Our Abiding Values

Patient Care

The Department of Ophthalmology at UNC provides premier eye care to North Carolinians and others whom we serve. We strive to maintain our strong tradition of reaching underserved populations and providing new and proven treatments to all who need them.

Research

The National Federation of the Blind reports that nearly 7.3 million people in the United States have a visual disability. In North Carolina, 254,000 individuals live with a visual disability. Only 40% of those with visual disabilities are employed. Imagine if research could improve vision, prevent eye disease, enable people at risk for visual impairment to prevent and delay blindness, and offer those with visual impairment opportunities that many of us take for granted.

This is what we imagine at UNC and it is why we established the Carolina Eye Research Institute. This dynamic Institute will lead

the way in discovering new treatments, delivering innovative methods to restore sight, and performing thoughtful clinical trials.

Our research team is working on projects in gene therapy and nanotechnology for retinal disease, macular degeneration glaucoma, and corneal disease. We have had success in establishing proof of concept in rare diseases and have applied what we learned to eye diseases. All of our research is translational and benefits from the collaborative relationships we have with colleagues in other fields and institutions. Patients at UNC benefit from these discoveries and are routinely offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials.

Education

The UNC Department of Ophthalmology has been training residents in ophthalmology since the 1950s, providing clinical training opportunities for men and women interested in pursuing careers as ophthalmologists.

The Department is dedicated to providing a current and comprehensive educational program to its resident physicians, fellows, and medical students. Our goal is to produce leaders in the field of ophthalmology who are medically, surgically, and culturally competent. The department has created an environment that fosters innovation and progress through open communication and strong mentoring. We continually strive to offer and incorporate the most innovative and medically relevant teaching resources available, including those outside of UNC. We offer continuing education opportunities to our colleagues in ophthalmology and other medical fields to ensure quality patient care throughout North Carolina.

Kittner Eye Center currently has four resident positions per year offering rigorous, hands-on experience.

Faculty and Staff

UNC Ophthalmology strives to recruit and retain the highest quality faculty, staff, residents and fellows while supporting the professional development and continuing education of all employees. We pride ourselves on creating and fostering a welcoming environment for our patients through high quality, patient-centered care and service.