The Family Legacy at Cincinnati Eye Institute

Dr. Morris Osher (left) and Dr. Robert Osher (right)

Photography by Wes Battoclette

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In 1945, Morris Osher founded one of Americas leading ophthalmology practices. He enjoyed building a small group practice that, in 1980, added his son Robert, who then had the unique vision to create a medical facility that was otherwise unheard of at the time. He was determined to build a medical center that focused not just on general ophthalmology, but bringing together experts in every subspecialty of the eye as well. That vision, over time, became Cincinnati Eye Institute.

“Cincinnati Eye Institute bridged the gap between private practice and academic university practices,” says Dr. Robert Osher, Professor of Ophthalmology at the College of Medicine of the University of Cincinnati and Medical Director Emeritus of Cincinnati Eye Institute. “Cincinnati Eye Institute is now equipped to do every medical and surgical procedure across the board, and we’re very good at it.”

Dr. Robert Osher has worked for most of his life to carry on the legacy of his father during his time with Cincinnati Eye Institute. “My desire to go into ophthalmology came directly from my father,” he says. “He was a very compassionate and caring man. He used to take me on rounds with him when I was young, and I never wanted to do anything else.”

Throughout his career, Robert has worked to build his father’s creation into the internationally recognized institution it is today, and has gained a significant amount of recognition for his own work as well. Specializing in cataract surgery, Robert has received the highest awards in the United States. His surgical videos have gained international fame and he has delivered lectures in more than 40 countries. While accomplishing all this, he also managed to be a doting father to five children, one of whom has recently joined him at Cincinnati Eye Institute. 

“I have a vast interest in medicine and I absolutely love what I do,” says Robert. “But I was never as happy as when James came to work here.”

Dr. James Osher, a retinal surgeon specializing in medical and surgical diseases of the retina, walked through the doors of Cincinnati Eye Institute for his first day of work on July 21, 2014, much to the delight of his father. “In a few short months, he gained the respect and recognition that it took me years to gain,” Robert says proudly.

James says his decision to take up the Osher mantle of ophthalmology was not one he took lightly. He originally resisted the family legacy, exploring many other fields instead. “I looked at entering every field but ophthalmology at first, but it was and always will be what I’m truly passionate about,” says James. Like his father, James grew up in the world of ophthalmology and was exposed to much of the profession from a very young age. “Growing up, my dad took me to lectures, and I worked summer jobs holding cameras for him in surgery.”

Despite his original trepidation, James recognized in himself the passion he shares with his father and grandfather. “I saw how happy my dad’s patients were after their surgeries,” he says. “And I’ve never seen an unhappy ophthalmologist.”

Dr. Robert Osher (left) and Dr. James Osher (right)


Now that father and son are working together under the same roof, they’ve found a way to enhance not only their personal relationship, but their professional one as well. Since Robert and James focus on two different specialties, they each have a lot to learn from one another. “Jamey went into an area that I actually know very little about, and he’s developed his own reputation,” says Robert.