James P. Gills, M.D.
James P. Gills, M.D. is founder and director of St. Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of South Florida. He is the country’s first ophthalmologist to dedicate his practice solely to the treatment of cataracts via the use of intraocular lens implants. His contributions to medicine span across both academia and clinical ophthalmology. Dr. Gills established his academic career early, when as a resident at Johns Hopkins, he published the first scientific paper classifying mucopolysaccharidoses. As his clinical practice grew, he became known by his peers for challenging the status quo. Many ingenious advancements in ophthalmic surgery stem from his drive to improve cataract surgery.
More than 20 years ago, he developed an intraocular solution composed of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications, designed to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation after surgery. This procedure, along with his technique of filtering the irrigating solutions, has probably saved countless eyes. Perhaps his most outstanding contribution in ophthalmology was his presentation of the first scientific paper demonstrating the safety and benefit of intraocular anesthesia in 1997. Thanks to this breakthrough, patients undergoing cataract surgery via topical anesthesia can enjoy the procedure free of pain, needles, and patches.
Never satisfied unless his patients are independent of glasses, Dr. Gills openly admits to his obsession with correcting astigmatism. His use of limbal and corneal relaxing incisions, and more recently, toric intraocular lenses has turned cataract surgery into a refractive procedure. He has even developed a technique to piggyback toric intraocular lenses, enabling him to accurately correct extremely high levels of astigmatism.