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150 years of world-class eye care in Manhattan

In 1869, General Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated as the 18th president of the United States, the American Museum of Natural History opened on Central Park West, and a 13-bed clinic and free hospital for the poor was established in a rented brownstone on East 34th Street in Manhattan.

Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital (MEETH) has played a prominent role in both the history and the evolution of ophthalmology, thanks to community support. 

By 1881, patient demand led to MEETH opening a 75-bed hospital at Park Avenue and 41st Street. In 1906 the institution moved again to a larger location on East 64th Street, which has been its home ever since.

20th-century eye-care pioneer

During the 20th century, MEETH became world renowned for patient care, research and education, diagnosis and treatment of sight disorders, and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. MEETH’s “firsts” from that century include:

  • Establishing the nation’s first diagnostic treatment center for glaucoma and the world’s first eye bank (1940s) 
  • The first removal of cataracts using ultrasonic vibrations to break apart and remove cataracts without a large incision (1967)
  • The first trials for laser vision correction and cataract removal (early 1990s)

Heroic efforts revitalize a respected institution

MEETH’s existence today is due largely to the heroic efforts of its loyal faculty who fought to preserve the institution when the hospital faced the threat of closure in the new millennium. Since joining Northwell Health in 2010, MEETH has received the support and opportunity to revitalize and rebuild its reputation for world-class ophthalmologic patient care and academics.

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