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

Cornea & Cataracts

Physicians in the Shiley Eye Institute Cornea and Refractive Surgery Division provide comprehensive eye care for a wide range of routine, complex and high-risk corneal and external diseases, as well as the most current vision correction procedures. Our corneal specialists diagnose and treat all corneal conditions such as cataracts, corneal injuries, allergies, keratitis, dry eye, ocular herpes, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, iridocorneal endothelial syndrome, pterygium and corneal dystrophies.

The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. The cornea is shaped like a dome and helps your eye to focus light so you can see clearly. Light enters the eye through an opening called the pupil and then the iris (colored part of the eye) controls how much light the pupil lets in. Next the light passes through the lens (clear inner part of the eye) that works with the cornea to focus light. When this lens turns cloudy, a cataract has formed.

Our doctors are dedicated to the health and functioning of the cornea and combining unparalleled care, expertise and state-of-the-art equipment to ensure the best experience for patients.

Additional Information:


Refractive Surgery / LASIK

Corneal Conditions


Division Chief

Natalie A. Afshari, MD, FACS


Stuart I. Brown, MD
Weldon W. Haw, MD
Chris W. Heichel, MD

Patient Testimonials

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


My situation was somewhat complex as I was dealing with 3 different eye conditions, 2 of which fell under the auspices of a cornea doctor.

I was referred to Dr. Afshari by a highly respected doctor in her field and I felt very fortunate for the recommendation. My situation was somewhat complex as I was dealing with 3 different eye conditions, 2 of which fell under the auspices of a cornea doctor. Dr. Afshari was able to diagnose these 2 problems and in her reassuring and professional way, she clearly outlined her suggested treatment plan.  She had a very positive, yet realistic view of the treatment.  She exuded total confidence, she considered all aspects of my situation, and she gave me a complete feeling of trust in her.

Also important to mention is that she gave me 110% of her time and total attention during our appointments - never rushed or cut me short in any way. I am happy to report that my surgeries were successful and turned out exactly as she had outlined to me. I have the highest respect for Dr. Afshari and feel totally comfortable to pass on my recommendation to others.

Diane Schatz

Caring and kind and very skilled

Having cataract surgery performed by Dr. Afshari changed my life!
Before my cataract surgery, my vision was 20/200 and I could not drive anymore.  Dr. Afshari did my cataract surgery and I now have 20/25 vision!!! I could not be happier.
Dr. Afshari is caring and kind and very skilled.
I don’t know why anyone would go anywhere else when you have a complicated eye disease like Keratoconus, like I do.


She Saved My Vision

I am a super fan of Dr. Natalie Afshari!

She has been caring for me for two years and I know her well.

Both of my corneas developed openings. The healing can be difficult. Dr. Afshari knew about a new eye drop being developed to treat this problem. As soon as it was approved for use, she obtained it and began its use.

Both corneas were healed! Now that my eyes were stabilized, she was able to perform cataract surgery which resulted in a dramatic improvement in my vision.

In addition to Dr. Afshari’s professional skills, she is just a great person. Always cheerful and attends to every detail. She is admired by all other doctors, assistants, and students flock to work with her. She is the finest doctor that I have ever known.

Louis, August 2021

Thank You Dr. Weinreb

I want to thank you and the staff at Shiley for the excellent care you provided my Dad during the many years you were his Ophthalmologist. From cataracts to glaucoma to eye exams, you helped Dad a lot and made his life better. Dad always enjoyed seeing you during his appointments, and he liked to tell everyone that the head of Shiley was his eye doctor.

Richard, April 2021

Impressed and appreciative

Dear Dr. Weinreb,

I want to thank you for accepting me as a patient for cataract surgery. You have now completed the surgery, implanting Toric lenses in both of my eyes, and I'm very happy with how everything has turned out.
I've been impressed from beginning to end with Shiley Eye Institute and with all the medical personnel with whom I've come in contact.

I'm especially grateful for your expertise, including coming into the recovery room after my second surgery to explain why the second eye (my right eye) might not stabilize as quickly as the first eye had. (It seems, though, that the eye has done very well indeed!) I appreciated the explanation.

I also appreciated the fact you chose the Toric lenses for me, which is what I would have chosen for myself.  I appreciate that you did not ask me WHAT I wanted, thereby muddying the waters so to speak, but instead made the assumption that I had educated myself at great length about what cataract surgery entailed, the different lenses available, and seemingly (in my opinion) just about every other aspect of cataract surgery.  I had!!

Again, I am totally appreciative of your work with me and for the friends who recommended that I come in to meet with you back in December.

Thank you so much!!
Elaine R


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


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