UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute
by name
Afshari, Natalie A. Brown, Stuart I. Chao, Daniel L. Ferrara, Napoleone Ferreyra, Henry A. Freeman, William R. Goldbaum, Michael H. Granet, David B. Haw, Weldon W. Heichel, Chris W. Kikkawa, Don O. Korn, Bobby S. Lee, Jeffrey E. Lin, Jonathan H. Medeiros, Felipe A. Nguyen, Thao P. Nudleman, Eric Robbins, Shira L. Savino, Peter J. Slight, Rigby Weinreb, Robert N. Welsbie, Derek S. Zhang, Kang
by specialty
Comprehensive Ophthalmology Cornea & Refractive Surgery Glaucoma Neuro-Ophthalmology Ophthalmic Genetics Ophthalmic Pathology Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Optometry & Low Vision Pediatric Ophthalmology & Eye Alignment Disorders Retina & Vitreous Thyroid Eye Clinic
by condition
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) Cataracts Corneal Conditions Cosmetic Surgery Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Movement Disorders Glaucoma Hereditary (Genetic) Disorders Low Vision Neuro-Ophthalmic Conditions Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Pediatric Conditions Refractive Errors Retinal Diseases Thyroid Eye Disease
Natalie A. Afshari, M.D.,F.A.C.S.

Natalie A. Afshari, M.D.,F.A.C.S.

Professor of Ophthalmology
Stuart I. Brown M.D. Chair in Ophthalmology in Memory of Donald P. Shiley
Chief, Division of Cornea and Refractive Surgery
Vice Chair of Education
Board Certification in Ophthalmology
Fellowship in Cornea and Refractive Surgery

Natalie Afshari, MD, FACS, is Chief of Cornea and Refractive Surgery and is accomplished as a clinician, surgeon, and research scientist. She received her medical degree from Stanford University and her residency and fellowship training at Harvard University. Prior to her current appointment she was Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Centers of Excellence at the Duke University Eye Center. Dr. Afshari’s achievement in cornea & refractive surgery and patient care has been recognized by her peers in several of the “best doctors” lists, including “The Best Doctors in America” in each listing for the past decade. She is also the recipient of the inaugural Top Ten Women in Medicine Award by Triangle News. Furthermore, Dr. Afshari was awarded the academic Achievement Award and the Secretariat Award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has consulted Dr. Afshari’s expertise for matters of safety and efficacy of various ophthalmologic treatments. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has honored Dr. Afshari by awarding her and her collaborators extensive grant support to study Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, a genetic disorder leading to corneal transplantation.

In her clinical practice, Dr. Afshari specializes in cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, endothelial keratoplasty, collagen cross linking and intacs for keratoconus, laser refractive surgery, including LASIK, LASEK/Advanced Surface Ablation, PRK, PTK, and treating surgical and medical diseases of cornea. She is a highly skilled cataract surgeon and has held national positions on the professional committees of cataract specialists, including serving as the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery’s representative on the Council of the American Academy Ophthalmology. Dr. Afshari is also a recognized expert in corneal transplantation and refractive surgery and has successfully treated many complex cases referred to her by other leading surgeons.

In addition to her successes with patients, Dr. Afshari has published extensively in both medical journals and textbooks. She is the co-editor of a two volume Cornea Book “Principles and Practice of Cornea”. While her textbook chapters focus on clinical skills, her journal articles report her innovations and findings in research. Her research has won her multiple honors, including the prestigious Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) award and the Heed Foundation Ophthalmic Award. Additionally, Dr. Afshari performs sight-restoring procedure using keratoprosthesis, a synthetic plastic-based artificial cornea which has been featured nationally on television news programs.

Dr. Afshari’s dedication to research and clinical care also inspires her teaching. For her commitment to teaching and training ophthalmologists, she has received the Teacher of the Year award at Duke University Eye Center. She also has been invited to lecture nationally and internationally. Dr. Afshari’s peers also elected her to the cornea program committee and Awards committee of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which oversees the scientific program of the largest eye research association in the world. She is also the Chief Judge for the scientific posters of American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

Several scientific and scholarly journals have sought Dr. Afshari’s expertise and recognized her research leadership by naming her to their editorial boards or seeking her assistance in reviewing the work of other scientists. She is currently on the editorial board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. She is also an editor for Current Opinion in Ophthalmology cataract surgery, and has served on the editorial board of EyeNet magazine, a journal published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

When not researching or practicing, Dr. Afshari donates her time and surgical expertise as an international volunteer. She has traveled to West Africa, Central America, and Mexico to help patients who might otherwise go untreated.

Dr. Afshari received her medical degree from Stanford University and her residency training at Harvard University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. She then completed a two-year fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery at Harvard University.


Copeland and Afshari's Principles and Practice of CORNEA

Specialty Cornea & Refractive Surgery
Medical School Stanford University
Residency Harvard University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Fellowship Harvard University, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Special Interest Fuchs Dystrophy; Cataract surgery; Corneal transplantation; Endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK & DMEK); Intacs and collagen crosslinking for keratoconus; Laser refractive surgery, including LASIK and PRK, Surgical and medical diseases of cornea.


Grateful Admiration

I just left the Shiley Eye Institute feeling grateful that this top quality group - eye specialists, clinical researchers, and academicians - is in my community.  Due to an array of eye problems, I see physicians in many departments and am extremely pleased with the care I’ve received.  However, I’d like to share my experience about one physician, in particular, Natalie Afshari, M.D., Chief, Division of Cornea and Refractive Surgery.

Nearly forty years ago, I was diagnosed with Fuch’s Dystrophy.  I recognized the symptoms because my mother had Fuch’s and was nearly blind much of her adult life.  Although corneal transplantation was relatively new, I decided to undergo the surgeries.  Several years later, I developed Shingles (Herpes Zoster) in and above one eye.

When I moved to San Diego 1989, I did my research and chose Shiley for periodic checks and for macular degeneration identified there. In 2012, I learned that the right cornea was rejecting due to a recurrence of Shingles.

But, I was lucky.  Among many skills, Dr. Afshari is an expert on Fuch’s and corneal transplantation.  She worked diligently to save my cornea, but additional transplants were needed due to Shingles recurrences. After discussions together, we decided to proceed with a relatively new technique, a prosthetic corneal transplant. This amazing gift not only contains donor tissue, but is encased in metal, making it less likely to reject. The surgery saved my eyesight.

The admiration I have for Dr. Afshari grows with each visit. She possesses extraordinary clinical skills, listens intently to concerns, suggests solutions, and assures that all questions have been fully answered. Together we make important decisions. I look forward to visits because I trust her professionally and am uplifted by her energy, caring and friendship.  In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Afshari exhibits both the expertise and the human qualities I believe make her an outstanding physician.

I tell friends I have supernatural powers in the right eye that I now jokingly call “bionic”. Recently Dr. Afshari asked a Shiley Low Vision expert, optometrist Dr. Anne Lam, to see me.  Dr. Lam worked diligently and creatively over several months, combining both hard and soft contact lenses.  The results of the teamwork enabled me to meet my goal – to pass the DMV vision test and renew my Driver’s License.  I feel fortunate that I am truly a Shiley success story. 

Thank you!

Iris Masotti



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