Initially, the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery were only one single department; then, some 44 years ago in 1960, the two parted. The Department of Ophthalmology capitalized fully on its independence and quickly became the innovator of many advances in the field not only in Lebanon, but also in the region.
Since then, many major landmarks have occurred, below is a descriptive of a few:
- In the early 60s, for the first time in the Middle East, retinal detachment surgery (sclera buckling) took place at AUBMC.
- In the early 70s, the use of laser to treat the retina of diabetic patients (1st krypton then argon and diode) was introduced.
- In the mid 70s, glaucoma filtering surgery (trabeculectomy) was introduced and was the first in the region.
- In the early 80s, the use of laser to treat glaucoma was initiated.
- In 1986, the application of the modern way to perform cataract surgery and implanting intraocular lenses.
- In 1991, the move towards implanting glaucoma drainage tubes inside the eye.
- In 1992, the first professional "Eye Bank" was set up in the country: the only local member of the International Federation of Eye Banks.
- In 1994, the acquisition of all types of lasers for treatment of age related retinal degeneration.
- In 1995, the establishment of the ocular electrophysiology laboratory for performing ERG, EOG, VEP tests for children and adults who are poorly sighted.
- In 2002, the inauguration of the first professional and scientific "Laser Vision Correction Center" in the country.
- In 2002, the establishment of the first "Low Vision Clinic".
- 2006: establishment of a comprehensive pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus division in the department providing clinical and surgical care for pediatric glaucoma, cataracts, strabismus, tumors and congenital ocular diseases.
- 2009: establishment of the first uveitis service in the country clinical and surgical care for infectious and inflammatory uveitis and it’s complications including uveitic cataract and glaucoma.
- 2012: establishment of a Retinoblastoma Program with the oncology team in the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon, in affiliation with St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN: accepting retinoblastoma patients of all nationalities offering work-up, imaging, systemic and ocular treatment, surveillance and genetic testing/ counseling.
- 2013: acquisition of the RetCam imaging device instrumental for managing retinopathy of prematurity and retinoblastoma in addition to any pediatric posterior segment abnormalities.
- 2014: acquisition of a state-of-the art electrophysiology unit, allowing sophisticated electrophysiology testing for inherited retinal disorders, and other posterior segment/ visual pathway anomalies, by trained professionals.
- 2017: First Intraoperative OCT Guided Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK)