Karalis Johnson Retina Center at South Lake Union

Advancing Eye Care and Research at the Karalis Johnson Retina Center

The Roger and Angie Karalis Johnson Retina Center at South Lake Union is the realization of the vision of Angie Karalis Johnson. Angie worked with her late husband Roger for many years as office manager of their very successful Seattle ophthalmology practice. She saw many patients who lost vision from retinal degenerative diseases during this time despite having the best care available.  Angie’s vision is a world where this does not happen. The UW Medicine Department of Ophthalmology will be forever grateful for this gift made by Angie Karalis Johnson and her vision to find a cure for all types of retinal diseases.  

Read the Karalis Johnson Retina Center 5-year Community Report

The Center is both a state-of-the-art clinical facility and a leading research center in vision science with internationally renowned faculty.  By putting our clinical facilities in direct proximity to our research laboratories, we can accelerate research while at the same time offering our patients access to advances not yet available in the broader community.

The Karalis Johnson Retina Center supports four pillars of research in its mission to eradicate retinal blindness: advanced optics imaging, computational ophthalmology, accelerating the therapeutic pipeline, and vision restoration research.

The clinical care at the Retina Center is first-rate. We have outstanding retina and uveitis specialists from the UW Medicine Eye Institute and an exceptional group of optometrists and low-vision specialists. All treatments for retinal and ocular inflammatory diseases are offered at the center, including macular degeneration, management of hereditary retinal degeneration, treatment of diabetic retinopathy, and management of other retinal problems, including vascular diseases, retinal detachments, and uveitis. The Center is equipped with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. 

The retina is the sensor of the eye that converts focused light into electrical neural impulses that communicate to the brain. Most blindness in the US is due to diseases of the retina. Three leading causes of blindness include age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in the US), diabetic retinopathy (the most frequent cause of vision loss in working-age adults), and hereditary or inherited retinal degeneration (the most common inherited cause of blindness). 

At the Retina Center, patients with retinal degenerative diseases may have the opportunity to participate in clinical research during their visit. In this way, patients will be on the front line of available treatments and have access to the latest clinical trials before they are approved for use by the general public.

Our patients serve as our partners in research, contributing to the science that will help other people with debilitating eye conditions. With information derived from advanced imaging and other tests, researchers at the UW Medicine Eye Institute will be able to make faster progress in advancing vision-saving research on several fronts, including stem cell therapy, gene therapy, and chemical reanimation therapy, all of which may have the potential to slow or halt retinal degeneration — and even, perhaps, to restore vision.


Patient Care Faculty Members


Jennifer Chao, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Gordon and Joan Bergy Professor, Vice Chair, Research


Yewlin Chee, MD

Associate Professor

Dr. Aaron Lee

Aaron Lee, MD, MSCI

Associate Professor; C. Dan and Irene Hunter Endowed Professor


Cecilia Lee, MD, MS

Professor; Klorfine Family Endowed Chair; Director of Clinical Research


Lisa Olmos de Koo, MD, MBA

Associate Professor; Division Director, Vitreoretinal Surgery; Director, Retina Fellowship


Kathryn Pepple, MD, PhD

Associate Professor; Division Director, Uveitis; Director, Uveitis Fellowship


Kasra Rezaei, MD

Associate Professor; Associate Chief of Service for Ophthalmic Surgery


Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD

Boyd K. Bucey Memorial Professor And Chair, UW Medicine Department of Ophthalmology; Director, Roger and Angie Karalis Johnson Retina Center; Director, UW Vision Science Center

UW Department of Ophthalmology

908 Jefferson St.. Seattle, WA 98104 (academic offices)
Harborview Medical Center (mailing address)
Box 359608, 325 Ninth Avenue Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.543.7250
Fax: 206.685.7055


For Patients

Graduate Medical Education