Featured Faculty Fridays: James Reidy, MD, Back to His Roots

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Our newest Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, James Reidy, MD, FACS, is no newbie to Chicagoland.  “My paternal grandfather and great grandfather were Chicago policemen,” explains Dr. Reidy.  “I would have been happy to stay in Chicago after completing my fellowship [at Louisiana State University Medical Center], however I wanted an academic job and there were no openings in Chicago at the time.”  Dr. Reidy would go on to accept a position at The State University of New York at Buffalo, where he would remain for over 25 years.  When he decided that he was “ready for a new challenge,” he was happy to find that his old friend, Kathryn Colby, MD, PhD, had accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science here at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Colby was looking for new faculty members to build up the newly-formed department, which had previously been a section of the Department of Surgery.  “I came out to visit and realized it was a great opportunity.  The University of Chicago has an outstanding reputation worldwide, and I have many personal and professional connections in Chicago.”  Dr. Reidy and his wife Eileen packed up and moved to the Windy City over the summer, and in August he began working at the University of Chicago as a cornea specialist.  “New challenges motivate me,” says Dr. Reidy, a self-proclaimed people-person.  “I enjoy teaching medical students, residents, and fellows.  Students keep you sharp.”  When asked what it is that people would be most surprised to learn about him, Dr. Reidy quips, “That I don’t bite!”

Why ophthalmology?  “I was a psychology major in college and was interested in perception and neuroscience.  After doing both clinical and research rotations in ophthalmology in medical school, I was certain that was the field I wanted to pursue.  The combination of precise microsurgery and the fact that so many medical diseases manifest themselves within the eyes were also major influences in my decision.”

Why cornea?  “During residency, I became interested in Cornea and External Disease because I had developed an interest in infectious diseases in medical school.  My last rotation in medical school was at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  I also became interested in corneal transplantation and ocular surface disease.”

What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t gone into ophthalmology?  “If I hadn’t become a physician and surgeon, I most likely would have become a neuroscientist.”

Where can you be found on the weekends? “Enjoying the outdoors: hiking, biking, fishing. Reading a good book. Fixing something.”

Any final thoughts?  “The future of ophthalmology is bright.  Technological innovations will continue to help preserve and enhance vision.  The need for ophthalmologists will continue to increase as people age longer and better.”

Please join us in welcoming our newest faculty member, Dr. James Reidy.             To make an appointment with Dr. Reidy, please call (773) 702-3937.