Dr. Elizabeth M. Hofmeister, MD
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Dr. Hofmeister is a Pennsylvania native who has lived in Southern California since 1997, thanks to a 31-year career in the U.S Navy. The daughter of a registered nurse and a nurse anesthetist, Dr. Hofmeister set her sights on becoming a doctor during high school, and 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. She then moved to Pensacola, Florida, where she received her Flight Surgery gold wings from the Naval Aerospace Medicine Institute, and then served as a flight surgeon on Marine Corps Base Hawaii for two years.
Her grandmother’s blindness from severe glaucoma and macular degeneration inspired her to seek 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 many 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.
Dr. Hofmeister’s clinical interests as a Cornea Specialist include the treatment of dry eyes, viral and bacterial eye infections, and keratoconus. She performs cataract surgery, corneal crosslinking, full-thickness and partial-thickness (DSAEK, DMEK) corneal transplants. 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 Ophthalmologist.
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 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.
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 her daughter provided Spanish translation with the surgical technicians in the operating room.
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.