The Eye & Ear Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1985 with the goal of fostering support for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh through the generous support of individuals and organizations.

We proudly represent the research and education efforts of these Departments, and are continually amazed by the cutting-edge advancements our researchers consistently develop. Recently, for example, we helped the Ophthalmology Department bring in funds to create a brand new glaucoma stem cell lab. This was fueled by a groundbreaking discovery made by our own researchers and will pave the way towards creating new solutions to cure diseases and disorders of the eye like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and potentially even some forms of blindness.

Our Otolaryngology Department has also made incredible strides of their own, pioneering research in head and neck cancer tumors never before understood, as well as leading the way in surgical procedures like the skull base procedure (a minimally invasive procedure that removes tumors in the back of the throat), and leading the field in robotic surgery, an avenue of technological advancement unmatched by any other institution in the country.

In supporting these world-class Departments of research and education, we hold ourselves to the same high standards. We plan to keep moving forward, expanding our network of support, and helping the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology truly stand peerless in the distinction of research and education, and ultimately, the highest level of care provided to our patients.


The Eye & Ear Foundation is a nonprofit 501 (C) (3) support organization for the Departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Our mission is to advance research and access to care for all with the ultimate goal of treating and curing people with diseases and disorders of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck.

By raising and distributing philanthropic dollars to these University of Pittsburgh departments, the Eye & Ear Foundation is well-positioned to forge exciting new collaborations among scientists, researchers, and physicians, and with your support, can help build an innovative model of medicine.


The history of the Eye & Ear Foundation begins in 1895 with an outpatient dispensary, the Eye and Ear Hospital in downtown Pittsburgh. At the time, the charitable focus of the hospital was providing care and services without regard to a patient’s ability to pay. Of the nearly 3,000 patients treated in 1902 and 1903, less than 600 paid for the treatment they received.

The Hospital relocated three times, moving in 1943 to Lothrop Street in Oakland where it remains in its current incarnation as The Eye & Ear Institute, which encompasses the research, academic and medical practices of physicians and scientists of the departments of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Eye Center and University Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists of UPMC. The Eye & Ear Foundation is located in this building.

The activity of The Eye & Ear Foundation has changed, evolving from hospital to research institute to foundation, but throughout its history, its leaders have remained dedicated to supporting education and advancing medical research for the care of patients with eye, ear, nose, throat, head, and neck ailments.

Leadership in Practice

Whether a patient has macular degeneration, glaucoma or total blindness, hearing loss or head and neck cancer, difficulty swallowing, severe allergies and sinus disorders, or dizziness, the team of physicians and scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is at the forefront of discovery and treatment.

Sight, sound, speech, taste, smell, and balance profoundly affect quality of life, but surprisingly, only a handful medical research centers in the United States focus on these issues. The University of Pittsburgh scientists are committed to seeking treatments and, ultimately, cures for issues affecting the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck.

For over 30 years, the Eye & Ear Foundation has remained dedicated to advancing their work with philanthropic support from grateful patients, friends and families, businesses, and foundations.

Please click on the links below to learn more about our research projects.