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With sadness, we share the news that one of our most distinguished alumni, Dr. Steven P. “Steve” Shearing, passed away suddenly on July 10, 2011. He is best known as the inventor of the first widely implanted intraocular lens, which restored vision to millions of patients with cataracts throughout the world. His skills as a surgeon and medical innovator were only one part of his remarkable career. Steve generously supported Ophthalmology at UCSF over the years, and including the establishment of the Steven P. Shearing Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology. We extend most sincere condolences to Steve’s wife, Justice Miriam Shearing, his partner of 56 years.
Steve attended Cornell University, majoring in history, graduating in 1956. Already married at the time, he and Miriam spent a year in Berlin, Germany, where Steve continued his studies in history and political science as a Fulbright scholar. Upon his return to the United States, Steve earned his master’s degree in history at Brandeis University. He then changed his focus from history to medicine, completing his medical degree in 1964 at Boston University Medical School. After his residency in ophthalmology at University of California in San Francisco, Steve and his family moved to Karachi, Pakistan, so he could perform eye surgery on indigent patients at the Spencer Eye Hospital.
Back in the United States, he opened his ophthalmology practice in Las Vegas, which eventually grew into The Shearing Eye Institute, a world-famous medical center that attracted patients from around the globe. Never reluctant to share his knowledge and expertise, Steve went on to train doctors throughout the world in the surgical techniques he had pioneered. In addition to his many contributions to the medical field, Steve never hesitated to help those in need, never asking for anything in return, always guided by a deep compassion and a keen sense of justice. Friends and family remember his unassuming kindness and gentle demeanor, as well as his encyclopedic memory and keen interest in world history, politics and current affairs.
Steve is survived by his wife, Justice Miriam Shearing; son, Robert (Victoria); daughters, Laurie Shearing (Riccardo De Los Rios) and Leslie Shearing (Joe Verdesca); and five grandchildren, Steven, Nicole, Zander, Claire and Theo.
Make a gift in tribute to Dr. Shearing or to honor a loved one.