About Hawaiian Eye Foundation

Mission Director: Dr. Jeffery Rutgard

Jeffrey Rutgard, M.D., M.S.


Surgeon Dr Jeff Patients Post SurgeryDr. Rutgard attended the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana where he was elected to the Alpha Epsilon Delta International Premedical Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society in recognition of Dr Jeff Smiling patients grateful happyexcellence in scholarship. Dr. Rutgard was academically honored and chosen to be a James Scholar Independent Study Student and graduated, Phi Beta Kappa, in three years with High Honors and Departmental Distinction for his research in Biology, Physiology, Nutrition, and Physical Fitness. Dr. Rutgard earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he was again academically honored and chosen to be a James Scholar Independent Study Student.

Dr. Rutgard received the University of Illinois’ Medical Research Award for his research in immunology, cancer, and ophthalmology. Dr. Rutgard’s research was highly acclaimed and published in prestigious medical journals and a chapter in a book. Dr. Rutgard attended the University of Illinois Graduate School for three years while he attended medical school and earned a Master’s Degree in Surgery combined with research in immunology the subjects of his thesis and dissertation. He began his ophthalmology training at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute where he studied ophthalmology basic science, pathology, and had his first clinical experience. He completed his residency and an associate-ship in ophthalmology at the highly acclaimed University of Iowa.

Dr Jeff Shaking hands surgeon womanSince the Fall of 1999 Dr. Rutgard has devoted his entire practice of medicine to serving the poor in the international humanitarian sector via on-going volunteer medical and surgical clinics in collaboration with SEE International, the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, Isight Missions, Faith Community Church, North Shore Christian Church, Medical Ministry International, Flying Samaritans, LIGA, Orbis, and many other international foundations. Dr. Rutgard has participated in over 150 Humanitarian Medical Projects, performed over 100,000 charity patient examinations, and over 10,000 humanitarian surgeries. He has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Loma Linda University, Clinical instructor for small incision cataract surgery in the United States and internationally and has educated over one thousand ophthalmologists worldwide. Dr. Rutgard is a guest lecturer in the United States and internationally for Medical Colleges, Medical Societies, Universities, Schools, and Churches.

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Dr. Rutgard has received several awards in recognition of his outstanding philanthropic service.  In 2010, he received the Eye Surgical Volunteer of the Decade Award from the Hawaiian Eye Foundation.  In 2013, he was presented with the SEE International Award for having performed more humanitarian eye surgeries in more countries than any other American Ophthalmologist. He was also honored with the Paul Harris Rotary International Award for his significant contribution to the people of this world.  In 2014, he received the Flying Samaritan Award for his outstanding humanitarian medical contribution to the people of Mexico as well as an Award named the “Angel of Altruism,” from the Catholic Church and the People of Mexico.   In 2015, he was the first honoree of the Thornton-Biosyntrx Humanitarian Award for Exceptional Worldwide Ophthalmology Care. In 2016, he was presented a Humanitarian Award from the Catholic Dioceses in Tijuana, Mexico.  In 2017, he was given by SEE International, a Certificate of Appreciation for training ophthalmologists from the U.S. and other countries the MSICS technique for over 13 years.  In 2017, and again in 2019, he was recognized by the ASCRS for his amazing contribution as a humanitarian ophthalmologist.  On November 30, 2017, Dr. Rutgard was notified that he was nominated and selected to be the recipient for the 2018 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health from Prevent Blindness.  He was also named as a 2018 Top Doctor by the Top Doctor Awards.  In June 2019, he was selected for the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award.  July 30, 2019, Dr. Rutgard received the Humanitarian Award from the National Medical Association. In August, 2019, he was awarded the Mexican Humanitarian Award from the Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico.  He has served Oaxaca, Ciudad Victoria, San Juanico, Los Mateos, El Fuerte, San Blas, Ensenada and continues to serve those in need in Tecate, Tijuana, and El Fuerte.  See photos and read post on his most recent award here. 

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To find out how to join him on a mission or receive one-on-one MSICS training from Dr. Jeff, click here: Volunteer & Train with Dr. Jeff.

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PO BOX 23212,
Honolulu, HI 96823
Phone: (808) 201-3937
Hawaiian Eye Foundation is a division of Project Vision Hawaii.

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