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Wolfe Eye Clinic Medical Milestones

With 100 years of specialized ophthalmology experience, comes a century of creating better vision for patients. Founded in 1919, the list of technological milestones, clinic expansions and overjoyed patients spans the state of Iowa and continues to grow towards another Century in Sight®.  Wolfe Eye Clinic continues to be a leader in history and pioneer a higher standard of specialized eye care and surgery for Iowans. Welcome to the history behind Wolfe Eye Clinic – a collection of key medical milestones achieved throughout the century and beyond.

2019
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic celebrates their 100-year anniversary.
  • Wolfe Surgery Center opens in West Des Moines as the largest ophthalmology surgery center in the Midwest.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cornea specialist, Dr. Matthew Rauen, implants first toric implantable contact lens (ICL) in Iowa, expanding vision correction options for patients with astigmatism who do not qualify for LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract surgeon, Dr. James Davison is first in Iowa to implant Alcon PanOptix® Trifocal Intraocular Lens (IOL) as an artificial lens replacement during cataract surgery, improving vision at multiple distances and reducing the need for glasses post-cataract surgery.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic merges with Children's Eye Clinic, a leading pediatric ophthalmology clinic in West Des Moines owned by Dr. Jean Spencer.
  • First Retina Fellow graduate, Dr. Deepak Mangla.
  • Over 330,000 cataract procedures have been performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic.
  • More than 340,000 anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) intravitreal injections have been administered at Wolfe Eye Clinic.
  • Over 46,000 LASIK vision correction procedures have been performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

2018
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens an eleventh main location in Pleasant Hill, Iowa to serve the need for cataracts, cornea disease, glaucoma, LASIK laser eye surgery and retina disease.

2017
  • First in Iowa and one of thirty-two practices nationally to use Alcon NGENUITY® 3D Visualization System to enhance the performance of vitreoretinal surgery. 
  • Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery Fellowship is founded at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

2015
  • First in Iowa to obtain and begin using WaveLight® EX500 Excimer Laser as a vision correction laser for LASIK laser eye surgery.

2014
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic merges with Heartland Eye Care and opens a tenth Wolfe Eye Clinic main location Ottumwa, Iowa and ninth Wolfe Family Vision Center in Albia, Iowa.

2013
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic is pronounced number one site for Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG), a national collaborative network dedicated to clinical research in childhood eye disorders such as strabismus and amblyopia.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a ninth main location in Iowa City, Iowa.

2012
  • First in Iowa to obtain and begin using Alcon LenSx® Laser System used in conjunction with laser-assisted cataract surgery. 

2011
  • First in Iowa to obtain and begin using the advanced WaveLight® FS200 Laser, continuing Wolfe Eye Clinic's history of using bladeless technology to create corneal flaps for vision correction during LASIK laser eye surgery
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens an eighth main location in Spencer, Iowa.

2007
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic glaucoma specialist, Dr. John Trible, first in Iowa to begin performing glaucoma surgery with the use of a trabectome.
  • First in Iowa to obtain and begin using Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q Excimer Laser as a vision correction laser for LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Over 150,000 cataract surgeries have been performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic.
  • More than 25,000 laser vision correction procedures have been performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

2006
  • First in Iowa to implant a toric intraocular Lens (IOL) as an artificial lens replacement that treats for astigmatism during cataract surgery.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Vos, was the first in Iowa to place an Implantable Contact Lens (ICL), as an alternative refractive treatment for patients who did not qualify for LASIK vision correction surgery.

2005
  • First intravitreal injection is administered by Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists for the treatment of wet-type age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. 
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract surgeon, Dr. James Davison, first in Iowa to implant an apodized diffractive intraocular lens (IOL) as an artificial lens replacement during cataract surgery.

2004
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens an eight location in Story City, Iowa.
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens a seventh location in Sigourney, Iowa.

2003
  • First selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) procedure is performed by Wolfe Eye Clinic glaucoma specialist, Dr. John Trible, to lower intraocular pressure and improve the treatment of glaucoma.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract surgeon, Dr. James Davison, first in Iowa to implant AcrySof® IQ ReSTOR® multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) as an artificial lens replacement during cataract surgery, helping to eliminate the need for glasses post-cataract surgery.

2002 
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialist, Dr. David Saggau, first in Iowa to perform small-incision, no-stitch vitrectomy surgery to treat retina disease. This advanced procedure minimizes trauma to the eye and is more comfortable for the patient.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic LASIK specialists first in Iowa to obtain and use IntraLASE ™ Femtosecond Laser to create corneal flaps for laser vision correction. Adoption of this laser made Wolfe Eye Clinic the first in the state to offer patients 100% all-laser, bladeless LASIK, that medical standard for LASIK surgery to-date.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract surgeon, Dr. Daniel Vos, first in Iowa to perform laser-assisted cataract surgery using the Dodick PhotoLysis™ Surgical System.
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens a sixth location in Sac City, Iowa.

2001
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists begin using feeder vessel treatment with high-speed indocyanine green (ICG) angiography to treat specific forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

2000
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a seventh main location in Waterloo, Iowa.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists begin using photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat specific forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Over 100,000 cataract procedures have been performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

1999
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic refractive specialists, Dr. Steven Johnson and Dr. Todd Gothard, first in central and eastern Iowa to perform intracorneal ring segment, also known as intac, to correct nearsightedness (myopia).
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists begin using transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT) to treat specific forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens two more locations in Toledo and Traer, Iowa.

1998
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens a third location in Waverly, Iowa.
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center opens a second location in Webster City, Iowa.

1997
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic merges with Iowa Eye Care Physicians, P.C. and opens a sixth main location in Ames, Iowa.

1996 
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract specialist, Dr. John Graether, invents the Graether Pupil Expander to mechanically dialte the eye's pupil and maintain dilation during cataract surgery and artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implantation. The device is adopted by surgeons across the globe. 
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic LASIK specialists, Dr. Todd Gothard and Dr. Steven Johnson, first in Iowa to perform LASIK laser eye surgery with the excimer laser. 
  • Wolfe Family Vision Center is developed to provide integrated primary family eye care, with the first Wolfe Family Vision Center opening in Fairfield, Iowa.

1994
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic refractive specialists first perform automated lamellar keratoplasty to correct high degree nearsightedness (myopia).  

1993
  • First use of “eye drop” topical anesthesia for cataract surgery to increase patient comfort during surgery.

1991
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract specialists introduce one-stitch or no-stitch cataract surgery to Iowa and are some of the first surgeons in the world to use this technology.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a fifth main location in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic otolaryngologist surgeon, Dr. Michael Hill, first in Iowa to use Candela laser to remove birthmarks such as port wine stains and other vascular abnormalities of the skin.

1988
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract specialist, Dr. Russell Watt, first in Iowa to implant a foldable intraocular lens (IOL) as an artificial lens replacement during cataract surgery.

1987
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a fourth main location in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

1986
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a third main location in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

1985
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic cataract specialist, Dr. John Graether, co-develops capsulorhexis technique for cataract surgery, the standard technique used throughout the world.

1984
  • Refractive surgery is first performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic to reduce reliance on eyeglasses or contact lenses. 
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic opens a second main location in Des Moines, Iowa.

1983
  • Wolfe Audiology is founded, offering patients comprehensive hearing loss evaluation and treatment services.

1981

1978
  • Retina laser surgery first performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic using xenon-arc laser.

1977
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic begins offering ears, nose and throat (ENT) care and treatment services, hiring first otolaryngologist on staff.

1975
  • First artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implanted as a replacement lens during cataract surgery.

1972
  • Utilized one of the first phacoemulsifiers for cataract surgery available in the US.
  • First small-incision phacoemulsification cataract surgery performed in Iowa.

1969
  • Wolfe Foundation Lecture, an endowed lecture series for ophthalmologists across the Midwest is founded. Hosted at the University of Iowa College of Medicine’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Wolfe Foundation Lecture is held annually to this day.

1966
  • Ocular microsurgery is first performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic

1965
  • Xenon arc photocoagulation is first performed at Wolfe Eye Clinic to treat various forms of retinal disease.

1960-1965
  • Introduction of several surgical techniques to Wolfe Eye Clinic including the scleral buckle and photocoagulation of the retina. These procedures had formerly been the exclusive province of a University setting.

1960

1959
  • First board-certified ophthalmologist joins Wolfe Eye Clinic

1936
  • Wolfe Foundation is founded to help those in need facing loss of sight who otherwise could not afford treatment.

1931
  • Cataract suction aspiration surgery first performed on children at Wolfe Eye Clinic.

1930
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic first performs intracapsular cataract surgery.

1927
  • Wolfe Eye Clinic founder, Dr. Otis Wolfe, goes to Spain to work on early techniques for cataract removal.

1919