Eye Physician and Refractive Surgeon – Laser Vision Correction Specialist
Dr. Elizabeth M. Hofmeister is a Pennsylvania native who has lived in Southern California since 1997, thanks to a 31-year career in the U.S Navy. She was one of a select few officers allowed to pursue a medical degree upon her graduation with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989. She received her Doctorate of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 1993, and completed an Internal Medicine internship at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.
Her grandmother’s blindness from severe glaucoma and macular degeneration nspired her to pursue a career in ophthalmology. She completed her ophthalmology residency training at Naval Medical Center San Diego, where she was among the Navy’s first surgeons trained to perform PRK and LASIK. She then pursued fellowship training in Cornea, External Disease, and Refractive Surgery at the prestigious Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. Following fellowship training, she returned to Naval Medical Center San Diego, where she served as faculty until 2021. While on faculty, she deployed multiple times, including humanitarian missions on the hospital ship USNS Mercy, and a deployment to a combat zone in Afghanistan as the Deputy Command Surgeon of the Combined Security Transition Command in 2009. She has served in many leadership roles, including Ophthalmology Residency Program Director, Refractive Surgery Center Director, Ophthalmology Department Chairman, and the Navy’s Refractive Surgery Advisor from 2010 until 2020.
As a refractive surgeon, she has performed over 9,000 PRK, LASIK, and SMILE procedures, and is experienced with implantable collamer lens (ICL) surgery and refractive lens exchange. She is also one of the leading teachers of refractive surgery in the United States, having trained over 60 residents and fellows from three residency programs in her 21 years as a Navy refractive surgeon.
An avid researcher, Dr. Hofmeister was an investigator on many studies of refractive surgery, with a focus on best practices, new technologies, and the safety of refractive surgery in patients with physically demanding jobs or austere work environments. She was the principal investigator on several Investigational New Drug (IND) and Investigation Device Exemption (IDE) studies, including an IDE study that led to FDA approval of wavefront-guided technology for PRK. She was the principal investigator on the landmark Patient-reported Outcomes with LASIK (PROWL) study, conducted with the FDA to assess patients’ satisfaction with LASIK.
Dr. Hofmeister is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society, the Society of Military Ophthalmologists, and the American Society of Ocular Trauma. She is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences, and while in the Navy, held Adjunct Faculty Positions at the University of California San Diego, and Loma Linda University.
Dr. Hofmeister had PRK in the late 1990’s, prior to the introduction of LASIK. She experienced first-hand the incredible benefits that refractive surgery can bring, including being able to see while running and swimming, and being able to wear eye protection in both the healthcare and a combat environment. Familiar with all the latest technologies, she will recommend the procedure best-suited to the individual, knowing that selecting the right procedure for the right patient is the key to outstanding outcomes.
Some of her most gratifying moments have occurred during humanitarian surgical missions to Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Philippines, and Honduras, where she performed manual small-incision cataract surgery, allowing patients formerly blind from cataracts to see their loved ones again. A highlight was her volunteer mission to Honduras, where she was accompanied by her daughter who served as her translator in the operating room with the surgical technicians who spoke only Spanish.
An accomplished vocalist and pianist, Dr. Hofmeister has performed with many amateur groups, and provides weekly music at her church. She loves hiking and travelling with her husband, who is also a physician.