Over 285 million people in the world are visually impaired. UCSF Ophthalmology is at the center of today's scientific and technological revolution. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of the eye and applying advanced technology can lead to solutions for patients here in the Bay Area and globally. 

The Alcatraz Swim for Sight began six years ago as a bucket list item for our That Man May See board member, Lorie Hirson. She is slowly losing her vision due to an inherited retinal disease, retinitis pigmentosa.  The Swim has since nearly doubled every year, in size and funds raised. 

This year, we ask you with a passionate heart to continue to raise support by signing up as a virtual swimmer now. Your participation will move the research forward faster and deliver new treatments to those who face the challenges of blindness daily.

Lorie's story continues to inspire us to imagine a world in which all may see. 


Currently one of the most productive research institutions in the country, UCSF Ophthalmology brings together well-established teams of leading neuroscientists, clinicians, and translational scientists to collectively address the most significant therapeutic challenges in vision loss and blindness.

The international leadership of UCSF Ophthalmology's clinical and laboratory scientists is reflected in their numerous honors, appointments, and publications. UCSF Ophthalmology faculty have published more than 1,500 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature, written more than 225 chapters and reviews in scientific books and journals, and coedited more than 25 scientific books used as the standard by ophthalmology departments internationally.

UCSF Ophthalmology faculty, individually and collectively, rank among the most accomplished, compassionate, and dedicated clinician researchers and basic scientists at work in patient care, education and vision research today. 



Gifts to the Alcatraz Swim accelerate research to fight blinding eye diseases. To date, we have funded projects focused on glaucoma, macular degeneration, corneal issues, eye cancer, neurological eye diseases, childhood blindness and inherited retinal diseases. Swim funds initiate new research aimed at proof-of-concept projects designed to attract government grants - and UCSF garners more funds from the National Institutes of Health than any other public university.  

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The Department of Ophthalmology ranks among the top in the nation. The department’s clinical and basic science research addresses the leading causes of vision loss and blindness, as well as orphan diseases with significant impact on vision.

“Our relentless drive for excellence, passion for discovery, and zeal for collaboration make this the ideal team to transform the paradigms of care for visual disability and blindness.”

Stephen D. McLeod, MD

Theresa M. and Wayne M. Caygill, MD, Distinguished Professor

Chair, Department of Ophthalmology


The Francis I. Proctor Foundation is internationally renowned for its research and training in infectious and inflammatory ocular diseases, with a goal of preventing blindness worldwide.

“Our vision is a world where avoidable blindness in all countries becomes a thing of the past. We dedicate ourselves to patient care and research studies impacting the most neglected places on the planet.”

Thomas M. Lietman, MD

Ruth Lee and Phillips Thygeson Distinguished Professor

Director, Francis I. Proctor Foundation

THAT MAN MAY SEE is dedicated to University of California, San Francisco Ophthalmology and its quest to save and restore sight. Donations to the Alcatraz Swim for Sight hasten medical breakthroughs aimed at eliminating pain, eye disorders, and blindness

OUR VISION The vision for ophthalmology at UCSF is to develop a world-renowned eye institute fostered by a cohesive, academically oriented clinical and research environment. Dedicated to saving and restoring sight, UCSF Ophthalmology ranks among the top eye care and research centers in the nation. Comprehensive programs focus on the care of patients, research in vision science, education of the next generation of leaders in ophthalmology, and community outreach.

CARE FOR PATIENTS The proximity of leading - edge research to quality patient care makes possible state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment.

ADVANCE RESEARCH TOWARD CURES Support breakthrough research and pioneering discovery to save and restore sight, finding patient solutions for the Bay Area and around the world.

SHAPE THE FUTURE OF OPHTHALMOLOGY Provide excellent training for the finest residents, fellows, and medical students to become tomorrow’s leaders in vision research and care. Attract and retain the best vision science faculty in the country.

SERVE THE COMMUNITY Research and patient care focus on improved outcomes for vulnerable patients in the Bay Area and the developing world.