Jones Eye Institute Invests Safar with Chair in Ophthalmology

By David Robinson

Safar joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as assistant professor in August 2001 and is director of the vitreo-retinal service.

“It is a tremendous honor to be invested with this chair,” Safar said. “Receiving this honor is a renewal of my commitment to research, education and caring for our patients here at UAMS. My intention is to exceed the expectations that come with this designation.”

The Martha Wood Bentley Chair in Ophthalmology was established with a donation from Bentley to support research, education and patient care. Bentley was a longtime supporter of the Jones Eye Institute and served for more than a decade on the Institute’s advisory board.

Safar’s investiture ceremony was celebrated before friends, family and colleagues at the Sam Walton Auditorium atop the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

“This is a fitting honor for Dr. Safar, who has made a tremendous impact on the Jones Eye Institute and UAMS as a whole,” said John Shock, M.D., executive vice chancellor and director of the Jones Eye Institute. “There is no doubt he will represent the generous contributions of Mrs. Bentley well and continue to make us proud to have him working on our side.”

Safar graduated from the Aleppo University School of Medicine (Syria) with honors and completed an ophthalmology residency at Georgetown University Medical Center where he also served as a chief resident. He completed a fellowship in vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Safar maintains a large clinical and surgical practice at the Jones Eye Institute and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. He also trains ophthalmology residents in retina and vitreous sciences. He is involved in a variety of research projects with special interests in age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a new 540,000-square-foot hospital, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,652 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or