Awards and Honors

Wills Eye and its doctors have long been recognized for their achievements in ophthalmology.

Wills Eye Hospital Advances to #2 Best in Nation for Ophthalmology

Wills Eye Hospital is named #2 best in ophthalmology nationwide according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals 2013-14 rankings just released. The closely watched list, now in its 24th year, recognizes hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

This advancement in the prestigious rankings reflects a growing momentum at Wills Eye. Research funding at Wills Eye is at an all-time high and a new four-bed inpatient unit will soon unveil an innovative design for eye hospitals. Now, all services will be oriented around a centralized, surgical hub. Patients in private rooms will remain close to their physicians, providing fast access to the most highly trained medical professionals in the facility. The proximity also saves staff time and ensures efficient use of precious health care resources.

“I am so proud of our team. This great honor validates what we’ve always known at Wills Eye – that our physicians, nurses, ophthalmic technicians, and staff provide the finest eye care in the nation. While we are humbled by this impressive recognition, and the forward momentum it celebrates, we never lose sight of our dedicated commitment to caring for our patients, pursuing cutting edge vision research, and educating the very best of the best of tomorrow’s ophthalmologists” said, Julia A. Haller, MD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Wills Eye Hospital.

U.S. News gathers data from 5,000 hospitals and evaluates 16 specialties. It publishes the Best Hospitals guide for patients needing advanced or specialty care. In order, the top 5 best hospitals for ophthalmology are: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/University of Miami, Wills Eye Hospital, Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jules Stein Eye Institute/UCLA.

In addition to many new research initiatives, Wills Eye is also engaged in international collaborations, federally funded community outreach programs for eye disease, and utilizing pioneering technologies. Another recent honor includes Wills Eye’s Director of Ocular Oncology, Dr. Jerry Shields, being named 2013 Physician of the Year in Clinical Excellence by Castle Connolly.

“We are very proud of our outstanding team of physicians, clinical and support staff at Wills Eye for their dedication to patients, longstanding record of success in achieving numerous professional honors and now this public recognition. This new ranking even further complements what we do every day in one of the most exciting and prized fields in medical science - preserving and improving vision for countless people around the world,” said Joseph P. Bilson, Chief Executive Officer, Wills Eye Hospital.

Wills Eye Hospital is a global leader in ophthalmology, established in 1832 as the nation’s first hospital specializing in eye care. Wills Eye is a premier training site for all levels of medical education. Its resident and post-graduate training programs are among the most competitive in the country. One of the core strengths of Wills is the close connection between innovative research and advanced patient care. Wills provides the full range of primary and subspecialty eye care for improving and preserving sight, including cataract, cornea, retina, emergency care, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular oncology, oculoplastics, pathology, pediatric ophthalmology and ocular genetics, and refractive surgery. Ocular Services include the Wills Laser Correction Center, Low Vision Service, and Diagnostic Center. Its 24/7 Emergency Service is the only one of its kind in the region. Wills Eye also has a network of nine multi-specialty, ambulatory surgery centers throughout the tri-state area. To learn more about Wills Eye's ranking on the U.S. News and World Report, visit

Louis Braille Award

Julia A. Haller, MD will be the Louis Braille Special Recognition Honoree at the awards ceremony sponsored by the Associated Services for the Blind on January 31, 2014. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions on behalf of the blind.

AAO Recognition

William Tasman, MD (former Wills Eye ophthalmologist-in-chief) and his wife,  Alice Lea Tasman, were honored for their contribution to the American Academy of Ophthalmology at the AAO’s 2013 Orbital Gala in New Orleans this past November.  Dr. and Mrs. Tasman founded the event in 2002, and Alice Lea came up with the name “Orbital Gala.” During the Tasmans’ 11 year tenure as chairs, the gala raised more than $1.6 million to benefit the AAO and its mission.

Philadelphia Magazine's 2013 Best Doctors

Philadelphia magazine recognized 15 Wills Eye doctors as Top Doctors for 2013. The rankings are compiled by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a New York City research and information company which publishes an annual guidebook, America's Top Doctors. Among the criteria used to decide Top Doctors are professional qualifications, education, residency, board certification, fellowships, professional reputation, hospital appointment, medical-school faculty appointment, experience, and disciplinary history.