Seventy years ago a missionary doctor with a unique worldview of medicine founded the Wheaton Eye Clinic. The evolution from sole practitioner to multi-location practice is a testament to one man’s vision and dedication. It also is the story of three generations of eye doctors passionately committed to the highest standards of patient care.
An Enduring Dream
When P. Kenneth Gieser, MD decided to give up a promising ophthalmology career in Chicago to move to the small suburb of Wheaton, many thought he was foolish. His world-class, specialized training, they said, should be part of a large and prestigious teaching institution. But Dr. Gieser had a different vision.
As a former medical missionary in China, Dr. Gieser felt strongly that patients and colleagues from around the world would help him build a world-class eye clinic. Together, serving through compassion and encouragement, he said, the doctors of Wheaton Eye Clinic would provide the finest eye care in the world.
Modest Start to State-of-the-Art
Dr. Gieser began Wheaton Eye Clinic in 1942 with a cardboard box of used equipment and rental space in a dentist’s reception room. As patient needs grew, so did his ophthalmology practice. Soon a specialist in the field of contact lenses was hired, at a time when that technology was barely known outside medical circles. Not long after, a second full-time ophthalmologist joined the practice. Two separate facilities were built, and outgrown, in rapid succession.
By the 1970s Wheaton Eye Clinic eagerly embraced two significant trends—the recognition of ophthalmic subspecialties and the beginning of laser surgery. Several ophthalmology specialists joined the staff and Wheaton Eye Clinic was among the first in Illinois to introduce lasers for eye surgery.
The current Wheaton location, triple the size of the previous clinic building, was dedicated in 1980. Today it houses doctors in all ophthalmology subspecialties and serves as the hub for three other clinic locations as well as the DuPage Eye Surgery Center.
Dr. P. K. Gieser’s vision of a world-class eye clinic in Wheaton is now reality. Wheaton Eye Clinic provides state-of-the-art treatment to patients from Chicago and the Midwest as well as from throughout the United States and many foreign countries. At the same time, just as Dr. Gieser predicted, Wheaton Eye Clinic doctors travel the world teaching and providing compassionate eye care.