UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute The Viterbi Family Department of Ophthalmology UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute
by name
Afshari, Natalie A. Baxter, Sally L. Borooah, Shyamanga Brown, Stuart I. Camp, Andrew Do, Jiun Ferreyra, Henry A. Freeman, William R. Goldbaum, Michael H. Granet, David B. Haw, Weldon W. Heichel, Chris W. Hennein, Lauren Huang, Alex A. Huang, Lingling Kikkawa, Don O. Kline, Lanning Korn, Bobby S. Lee, Jeffrey E. Liu, Catherine Y. Moghimi, Sasan Movaghar, Mansoor Nguyen, Thao P. Nudleman, Eric Puig-Llano, Manuel Robbins, Shira L. Rudell, Jolene Savino, Peter J. Scott, Nathan L. Spencer, Doran B. Toomey, Christopher B. Vasile, Cristiana Weinreb, Robert N. Welsbie, Derek S.
by specialty
Comprehensive Ophthalmology Cornea & Cataracts Dry Eye Clinic Glaucoma Neuro-Ophthalmology Ocular Oncology Ophthalmic Genetics Ophthalmic Pathology Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Ophthalmology Informatics and Data Science Optometry & Low Vision Pediatric Ophthalmology & Eye Alignment Disorders Refractive Surgery / LASIK Retina & Vitreous Thyroid Eye Clinic Uveitis
by condition
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) Cataracts Corneal Conditions Cosmetic Surgery Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Cancer Eye Movement Disorders Glaucoma Hereditary (Genetic) Disorders Low Vision Neuro-Ophthalmic Conditions Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Pediatric Conditions Refractive Errors Retinal Diseases Strabismus (Strabimus) Thyroid Eye Disease Uveitis
William R. Freeman, MD

William R. Freeman, MD

Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology
Vice-Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology
Director, Jacobs Retina Center
Co-Director, Retina Division
Board Certification in Ophthalmology
Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery

Specialty Ophthalmology Informatics and Data Science, Retina & Vitreous
Medical School Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Residency Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY
Fellowship University of California, San Francisco, CA (Uveitis & Immunology) University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (Vitreo-Retinal Surgery)
Special Interest Complicated retinal detachment; Diabetic retinopathy; Macular holes & age related macular degeneration
Publications View on PubMed

William R. Freeman, M.D. is a Vice Chair of the department of Ophthalmology at UCSD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of the UCSD Jacobs Retina Center. The clinical research center at the Jacobs Center enables patients to benefit from the latest advances in diagnostic equipment and therapies and is a free-standing clinical trial center for retinal diseases. Laboratory research and laboratories are also housed at the Jacobs Retina Center and elsewhere at UCSD and the researchers working in the Center focus on advancing promising therapies for macular degeneration, diabetes, tumors, inherited retinal disease, retinal detachment, macular holes and other important retinal diseases.
Dr. Freeman earned his graduate degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City before completing his Residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and Fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Southern California.  He has published over 600 peer reviewed scientific papers.  Dr. Freeman has held between one and two NIH RO-1 research grants for over 25 years.  He collaborates with other faculty at the UCSD Jacobs Retina Center and is a founder of Spinnaker Biosciences Corp specializing in nanoporous silicon drug delivery as well as Nanovision biosciences developing an artificial retina and advanced image sensing technology.

The Jacobs Retina Center has allowed Dr. Freeman to continue to build a research team dedicated to attacking retinal diseases that cause blindness and vision loss. Dr. Freeman’s clinical and research interests include complicated retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, macular holes and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Freeman has been honored with several awards, including being listed as a Top San Diego Physician. In his honor, San Diego Mayor Sanders pronounced May 14, 2008 “William R. Freeman, M.D. Day.”  He was recently honored as the UCLA Doheny Eye Institute Distinguished Alumnus in 2019.

Click here for more information on JRC.


Meeting with Dr. Freeman turned out to be one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

Meeting with Dr. Freeman turned out to be one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

In late 2010 when I went to the DMV to renew my driver's license, I failed my eye test. Needless to say I was shocked. My optometrist thought it might be cataracts, which seemed unlikely to me, but I sought out a specialist in that field. One look inside my dilated eyes told the story: I had wet macular degeneration, the more severe kind of Age-related Macular Degeneration, in my left eye. I'm a nurse, but I knew nothing about Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). My choice was to stay with Scripps where I had been diagnosed, or move on to the Jacobs Retina Center at UC San Diego. The choice was an easy one, because I had a friend in Chicago who had relocated here years ago specifically to work with Dr. Freeman. Meeting with Dr. Freeman turned out to be one of the smartest decisions I ever made.

Wet AMD is a lifelong disease requiring enormous commitments both from the patient and especially the physician who must have an optimistic approach to a stubborn disease. Special eye studies are endless, and injections are ongoing. As a patient I quickly became a regular, and the frequent visits made the clinic, in a strange sense, a home away from home. Dr. Freeman is recognized worldwide for his expertise in AMD, and a “United Nations” of Fellows have come and gone in my three years of treatment. Dr. Freeman has a gigantic memory, he checks the chart for most recent studies, but he has an encyclopedic memory and has never forgotten where I started. He unfailingly introduces all the new Fellows, including where they are from. Since I have travelled extensively I feel quite at home talking with them about their countries of origin if I have been there, or shamelessly pick their brains if I have not.

Dr. Freeman quickly inspires confidence. He is personable and gloriously efficient, and got me past the horrifying idea of eye injections with his skill and caring. His incredible patience in all things is amazing. I have never seen him lose his calm demeanor over anything. It's important to have an optimistic partner in treating AMD. With Dr. Freeman I have learned to take my new “AMD life” in stride. It took a while, but I knew I had the best possible physician and the adjustment came a lot sooner than I expected. That's what exceptional care can do for you in a chronic lifelong disease. The Shiley Eye Center and Jacobs Retina Center are renowned worldwide. One of the unexpected benefits of living in San Diego.

Anna Curren is a respected nurse education author, with over a million copies of her texts sold. Since being diagnosed with Age-related Macular Degeneration she has become a major donor to the Jacobs Retina Center.

~ Anna Curren

Ough!  Those injections into your eyes must hurt.

Ough! Those injections into your eyes must hurt.

"Ough! Those injections into your eyes must hurt." I get this question all the time. No, it does not hurt, it is just uncomfortable and weird but not painful. And I have better vision today then I did as a young person.

The treatment and injections into my eyes almost monthly for approximately 4 years have been a blessing. Dr. Freeman and the fellows who come from the world over to further enhance their knowledge and profession do everything they can to make me feel comfortable and safe. I live in Laguna Niguel but find the drive well worth the effort and I can enjoy the ocean view.

I am very pleased that my cardiologist at Scripps referred me to Dr. Freeman. I am ever grateful for my fine treatment and vision.

I still have the pleasure of safely driving my grandchildren to and from school. I just renewed my driver’s license for 5 years.

I am at 79 a retired owner/operator of residential properties.

~ Jean Clem

He was the first doctor I went to that knew anything about my disease.

I was diagnosed with Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) about 8 years ago and started treatment with Dr. Freeman 6 years ago. My daughter had found out about Dr. Freeman from reading an article in the newspaper. She read about the work he was doing and we made an appointment to see him right away. He was the first doctor I went to that knew anything about my disease. He is a gifted man who is very caring. Thanks to Dr. Freeman my vision has been stabilized. I can't praise him enough for controlling the progression of my disease so I can watch my grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up.

~ Florence Pinamonti

What I really like about being a patient of Dr. Freeman is that he listens to me, the patient.

I have been a patient of Dr. Freeman since April 2011. A year earlier I noticed from one day to another a sharp drop in the vision of my right eye. I went to various ophthalmologists without either getting a correct diagnosis or subsequently a successful treatment. Eventually I was told to get in contact with the Shiley Eye Center. The only regret I have is that I was not able to go there much earlier, but I did not know about this UCSD facility.

Dr. Freeman diagnosed a retinal vein occlusion that had caused an edema. His approach: “We can and will do something to help,” sounded quite different from what I had been hearing before. Dr. Freeman began immediately with injections into the right eye. Of course I was scared before receiving the first one. Who wouldn’t be! Just the thought of getting an injection into your eye would make most people want to run out of the doctor’s office. However, the way Dr. Freeman approached the topic, explaining everything, answering my questions, calmly demonstrating that this is a treatment he executes successfully numerous times every day, took my fear away.

Many injections later I am quite confident about my vision again. No, the edema is not gone but under control. It seems, as if I just need an injection now every three months or so. A big success! What I really like about being a patient of Dr. Freeman is that he listens to me, the patient. He takes the time to communicate with me. Yes, he is the expert, but he knows I am the one who can judge the best how my vision changes, within which timeframe and which treatment works with which injection. He welcomes an informed patient. Dr. Freeman wants the patient to be part of his decisions.

Of course Dr. Freeman’s reputation is well known, not only in the U.S. When I had to see an ophthalmologist in Germany to check on my eye during a more than two months stay there, that doctor knew that I am the patient of a world class specialist. After he heard about my history his comment was that Dr. Freeman did an outstanding job to save my vision.

I should add that all the young fellows working with Dr. Freeman at Shiley from all over the globe do an outstanding job, too. I always feel I am in the best hands with Dr. Freeman, his team and staff. Thank-you, Dr. Freeman! One more thing: to see Dr. Freeman I always fly or drive in from Las Vegas, NV.

- Roland Lange

Shiley Eye Institute Faculty Expertscape Rankings



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