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Outstanding Female Leader in Ophthalmology | Sept/Oct '17

Outstanding Female Leader in Ophthalmology:
Marjan Farid, MD

Dr. Farid is an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology; Director of the Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery Division; and Vice Chair of Ophthalmic Faculty at the University of California, Irvine.

Please share with us your background.

I grew up in Santa Monica, California, and have always been a southern California girl. I completed my undergraduate degree in biology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and attended medical school at the University of California, San Diego. I got married the same year I started medical school, so that was a big—albeit wonderful—transition in my life. I started my career as a married woman, and a big part of where I am and who I am today has to do with my husband; he has been so supportive of my striving for excellence.

After medical school, I attended the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), for residency. At the time, it was not my first choice of schools, but it ended up being the best thing that could have ever happened to me because, at UC Irvine, I met Roger Steinert, MD. Dr. Steinert became my mentor, a father figure, and the giant whose shoulders I stood on for the rest of my career. Under his tutelage, I did a 1-year cornea fellowship after residency, and he then asked me to join the practice.

What is the focus of your current research?

The work that Dr. Steinert pioneered focused on lasers in eye surgery, specifically the application of the femtosecond laser for corneal surgery. I was his fellow the year this work began, and we continued that research as partners. My research focus is mainly corneal transplantation, specifically with the use of the femtosecond laser, and applications of the femtosecond laser for various types of transplant surgeries.

In addition, I conduct research in collaboration with industry on dry eye disease, which is another passion of mine as a woman with dry eye. I am also working on designing a prototype for an artificial cornea. That is my lifelong goal, sparked also under the guidance of Dr. Steinert. We are currently working with a biomedical engineer and material sciences researcher at UC Irvine to design the artificial cornea and can hopefully someday use this device to help people around the world.

What has your experience been collaborating with industry?

I only have positive things to say. My affiliation with Ophthalmic World Leaders (OWL) has enabled me to meet amazing women and men in industry who are shining examples of how to reach for leadership positions. OWL has given me and other women in the group tools to achieve our goals, and the physician-industry collaboration it supports helps foster innovation.

I also consult with several different companies in areas of dry eye research, cataract surgery, and corneal transplant surgery. These partnerships keep me on the cutting edge of the latest innovations and technology.

In your opinion, how is the role of women in ophthalmology evolving?

I love that I am seeing more women coming through training. Residents and fellows are now 50/50 male and female, which is fantastic progress. We are also seeing more women come into the field of ophthalmology and move into positions of leadership, and I think that is the next step we need to take. It is hard because women have a lot to balance, so part of advancing is learning to find that balance without compromising our aspirations for leadership positions. I always try to mentor my fellows to reach as far as they can, all the while trying to balance home and career.

What, if any, hurdles do you feel women in health care still face?

It is sometimes still hard for women to get their voices heard. Recently, I was at a meeting for lead surgeons of all specialties at UC Irvine, and I was the only woman present. Sometimes when you are the only woman at a table, you don’t necessarily get heard. I challenge the men, not just in ophthalmology but in medicine in general, to bring in their female counterparts and to make that table more equal all around, especially in surgical fields. Have women participating in those important discussions, making the decisions on hospital boards, and so on.

What advice can you offer to young female ophthalmologists who are in training or just beginning their careers?

I always advise my younger female counterparts: You cannot do everything all at once. You can be a fantastic mom, you can have a leadership position, you can be a director of a fellowship program, and you can conduct scientific research—just not all at once. All of your goals are achievable, but they may need to be achieved in steps, and it may take longer than anticipated. Sometimes women think, “There is no way I can do all of that,” so we give up at the beginning. The key is to not do that. You may have to put something on the back burner for some time, but that is perfectly OK.

My other point of advice is: Make your voice heard. Men have no trouble speaking up and making their opinions known, whereas women tend to be more reserved and sometimes shy away from talking about their ideas. Ladies: Get up, ask questions, and let your ideas be known because, often, they are brilliant. Say what is on your mind because it is probably important and interesting, and, if not, who cares?

Last, reach for leadership positions. We need to see more women take leading roles. Be on the podium, serve as consultants, give advice on new technologies. I have a wonderful group of female friends who excel at this, but I would also like to see more members of the younger generation seek these opportunities as well.

Can you propose a unique or creative idea that may help women in ophthalmic practices?

Richard Lindstrom, MD, taught me to look at my career in intervals and make goals for each block of time. I advise everyone to do the same. Make a 1-year plan, a 5-year plan, and a 10-year plan, and focus on what you want to accomplish during each period. If a goal is not on your 1-year plan, then don’t worry about it; you will get to it later. I have taken this advice to heart and find that it relieves pressures and helps me keep my priorities straight. See your goals this way and remind yourself that you will be able to achieve all you want to achieve when the time is right.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Hovanesian J, Starr C, Vroman D, et al. A review of surgical techniques and adjuvants for the management of primary and recurrent pterygia. J Cataract Refract Surg [submitted].
  • Behshad S, Wade M, Farid M, Garg S. Surgical outcomes of endothelial keratoplasty safety-basket suture for management of difficult cases. DSAEK safety-basket suture [submitted].
  • Farid M, Hirabayashi K, Steinert R, Wade M, Garg S. Femtosecond laser-assisted deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty with zig-zag configuration: initial outcomes [in preparation].
  • Wade M, Steinert R, Farid M, Garg S, Gaster S. Update on the outcome of femtosecond laser penetrating keratoplasty performed with a zig-zag incision [in preparation].
  • Steinert R, Farid M, Garg S, Wade M. Femtosecond laser pre-Descemet’s deep anterior lamellar dissection with a “mini-bubble” technique [in preparation].
  • Behshad S, Vu PQ, Farid M. Surgical management of keratoconus: battle of the bulge. Review of Cornea and Contact Lenses. 2016;1-5.
  • Farid M, Agrawal A, Fremgen D, et al. Age-related defects in ocular and nasal mucosal immune system and the immunopathology of dry eye disease. Informa Healthcare. 2016;24(3):327-347.
  • Ng J, Minckler D, Walsh TJ, Farid M. An intractable case of prototheca keratitis and chronic endophthalmitis in Stevens-Johnson syndrome with Boston type 1 keratoprosthesis. Cornea. 2016;35(9):1257-1260.
  • Jeng BH, Farid M, Patel SV, Schwab IR. Corneal crosslinking for keratoconus: a look at the data, the FDA, and the future. Ophthalmology. 2016;123(11):2270-2272.
  • Farid M, Lee N. Ocular surface reconstruction with keratolimbal allograft for the treatment of severe or recurrent symblepharon. Cornea. 2015;34(6):632-636.
  • Ng J, Behshad S, Farid M. Review of surgical techniques for posterior chamber intraocular lens fixation in the absence of capsular lens support. US Ophthalmic Review. 2015;8(2):86-91.
  • Wade M, Steinert R, Garg S, Farid M, Gaster R. Results of toric intraocular lenses for post-keratoplasty astigmatism. Ophthalmology. 2014;121(3):771-777.
  • Farid M, Chak G, Steinert R, Garg S. Reduction in mean deviation values in automated perimetry in eyes with multifocal compared to monofocal intraocular lens implants. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014;158(2):227-231.
  • Farid M, Pirouzian A, Steinert RF. Femtosecond Laser Keratoplasty. International Ophthalmology Clinics. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. 2013; 53(1):55-64.
  • Garg S, Said B, Farid M, Steinert RF. Prevalence of positive microbiology results from donor cornea tissue in different methods of corneal transplantation. Cornea. 2013; 32(2);137-140.
  • Asota I, Farid M, Garg S, Steinert RF. Femtosecond Laser Enabled Keratoplasty. International Ophthalmology Clinics. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. 2013; 53(2);103-114.
  • Farid M. Trans-scleral suturing of the implantable miniature telescope. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2013;39(7):979-983.
  • Shue A, Farid M. Visual field deficits with a multifocal intraocular lens. JCRS Online Case Reports. 2013.
  • Chamberlain W, Omid N, Lin A, Farid M, Gaster RN, Steinert RF. Comparison of corneal surface higher-order aberrations after endothelial keratoplasty, femtosecond laser-assisted keratoplasty, and conventional penetrating keratoplasty. Cornea. 2012;31(1):6-13.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF. Femtosecond laser-assisted corneal surgery. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2010; 21(4):288-292.
  • Farid M, Pirnazar JR. Pterygium recurrence after excision with conjunctival autograft: a comparison of fibrin tissue adhesive to absorbable sutures. Cornea. 2009;28(1):43-45.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF. Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty performed with the femtosecond laser zigzag incision for the treatment of stromal corneal pathology and ectatic disease. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2009;35(5):809-813.
  • Farid M. Patient selection for monovision laser refractive surgery. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2009;20(4):251-254.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF, Gaster R, Chamberlain W, Lin A. Comparison of penetrating keratoplasty performed with a femtosecond laser zig-zag incision versus conventional blade trephination. Ophthalmology. 2009;116:1638-1643.
  • Farid M, Morishige N, Wahlert A, Steinert R, Jester J. Detection of corneal fibrosis by imaging second harmonic-generated signals in rabbit corneas treated with mitomycin C after excimer laser surface ablation. Invest Ophthalmic Vis Sci. 2008;49(10):4377-4383.
  • Farid M, Kim M, Steinert R. Results of penetrating keratoplasty performed with a femtosecond laser “zig-zag” incision: initial report. Ophthalmology. 2007;114(12):2208-2212.
  • Farid M, Roch-Levecq AC, Levi L, Brody BL, Granet DB, Kikkawa DO. Psychological disturbance in Graves’ Ophthalmopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(4):491-496.
  • Swerdlow NR, Martinez ZA, Hanlon FM, Farid M, Platten A, Auerbach P. Genetics and neurobiology of sensorimotor gating: the gain in brain comes mainly in the strain. Biol Psychiat. 2000;47:123S.
  • Swerdlow NR, Martinez ZA, Hanlon FM, et al. Toward understanding the biology of a complex phenotype: rat strain and substrain differences in the sensorimotor gating-disruptive effects of dopamine agonists. J Neuroscience. 2000;20(11):4325-4336.
  • Farid M, Martinez ZA, Geyer MA, Swerdlow NR. Regulation of sensorimotor gating of the startle reflex by serotonin 2A receptors. Ontogeny and strain differences. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2000;23(6):623-632.
  • Swerdlow NR, Farid M, Auerbach P, Platten A, Martinez Z. Strain and developmental patterns of dopaminergic and serotonergic regulation of prepulse inhibition in rats: implications for the genetics of a complex phenotype. Proc Am Col Neuropsychopharm. 1999;283.

Textbook Chapters

  • Farid M, Steinert RF. Refractive corneal implants. In: Steinert RF, Huang D, eds. Anterior Segment Optical Coherence Tomography. Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 2008; 73-77.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF. Preoperative evaluation of the refractive surgical patient. In: Brightbill FS, ed. Corneal Surgery: Theory, Technique and Tissue. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2009; 721-724.
  • Farid M, Garg S, Steinert RF. Femtosecond assisted penetrating keratoplasty. In: Krachmer, Mannis, Holland, eds. Cornea. 3rd ed. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2011; 1349-1353.
  • Garg S, Farid M, Steinert RF. Femtosecond laser keratoplasty (FLK). Clinical Atlas of Procedures in Ophthalmic and Oculofacial Surgery. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; 2011; 280-291.
  • Farid M, Gutti V, Schecter R. Multifocal intraocular lens. Duane’s Ophthalmology. 2012 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Farid M, Garg S, Steinert RF. Femtosecond laser keratoplasty (FLK). Copeland and Afshari’s Principles and Practice of Cornea. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers; 2012; 1421-1426.
  • Farid M. Cataract surgery. Steinert and Garg’s Ophthalmic Microsurgery, Principles, Techniques, and Applications. Thorofare, NJ: Slack; 2014; 71-88.
  • Wade M, Farid M, Garg S, Steinert R. Role of optical coherence tomography in endothelial keratoplasty. Mastering Endothelial Keratoplasty. Berlin: Springer; 2016; 89-105.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF, Garg S, Wade M. Femtosecond assisted penetrating keratoplasty. Krachmer, Mannis, Holland, eds. Cornea. 4th ed. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2017; 1283-1288.
  • Farid M, Steinert RF, Garg S, Wade M. Corneal ectasia: prevention, detection and management. Krachmer, Mannis, Holland, eds. Cornea. 4th ed. Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier; 2017; 1812-1822.

Non–Peer-Reviewed Literature

  • Alfonso-Garcia A, Paugh J, Farid M, Garg S, Jester J, Potma E. A machine learning framework to analyze hyperspectral stimulated raman scattering microscopy images of expressed human meibum. J Raman Spectroscopy [accepted].
  • Farid M. Bowman’s layer transplantation improves outcomes in keratoconus. Primary Care Optometry News. November 2016.
  • Farid M. Millennial ophthalmologists face different challenges than their predecessors. Ocular Surgery News. September 2016.
  • Farid M. Imaging modalities to identify and quantify ocular surface disease. Ocular Surface Diseases, Disorders and Disfunctions. 2016;2(1)10-13.
  • Farid M. Update on diagnosis and treatment of dry eye disease: current and emerging approaches. Clinical Perspectives Addressing Unmet Needs in Dry Eye Disease. March 2016.
  • Farid M. Navigating OSD treatments, technologies, and techniques for today’s refractive cataract practice. EyeWorld. February 2016.
  • Farid M. Understanding options in the management of dry eye disease. Ocular Surface Diseases, Disorders and Disfunctions. 2015;1(2):10.
  • Farid M. Treatment strategies for limbal stem cell deficiency from contact lens over-wear. Ocular Surface Diseases, Disorders and Disfunctions. 2015;1(1):7.
  • NG J, Behshad S, Farid M. Review of surgical techniques for posterior chamber intraocular lens fixation in the absence of capsular lens support. US Ophthalmic Review. 2015;8(2):86-91.
  • Farid M. Forward. US Ophthalmic Review. 2015;8(2):85.
  • Farid M. World Cornea Congress highlights tests to diagnose ocular surface disease. EyeWorld. September 2015.
  • Wade M, Garg S, Farid M. Treatments for dry eye disease. Discovery Eye Foundation. August 2015.
  • Farid M. Current and emerging treatments for dry eye and meibomian gland dysfunction. EyeWorld. June 2015.
  • Farid M. Age-related macular degeneration: information for caregivers. Aging Care. June 2015.
  • Farid M. Fuch’s dystrophy: current insight. Discovery Eye Foundation. June 2015.
  • Farid M. Easing AMD caring for a loved one with diminishing central vision. Today’s Caregiver Magazine. April 2015.
  • Farid M. The tear film: the neglected refractive interface. EyeWorld. September 2014.
  • Farid M. Keratolimbal allograft may be used for ocular surface reconstruction in symblephara treatment. Ocular Surgery News. September 2014.
  • Farid M. New hope for corneal scarring. Discovery Eye Foundation. July 2014.
  • Farid M. Benefits of femtosecond laser versus manual flaps in LASIK. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. July 2014.
  • Liu J, Farid M. The literature. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. July 2014.
  • Farid M. Corneal transplant surgery options. Discovery Eye Foundation. March 2014.
  • Farid M. Implantable telescope improves quality of life for patients with advanced AMD. Ocular Surgery News. January 2014.
  • Farid M, Garg S. Toric options benefit patients, surgeons. Ocular Surgery News. July 2013.
  • Farid M, Furlong R, Roper G. Pearls for success with capsular tension rings. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. July 2013.
  • Farid M. Successfully extracting a traumatic cataract. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. January 2013.
  • Farid M. From visual disability to independence. Advanced Ocular Care. November/December 2012.
  • Steinert RF, Farid, M. Clinical advantages of advanced imaging: novel applications in the anterior segment with the Visante OCT. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. August 2007.


  • Member with Thesis, The Cornea Society | 2014 to Present
  • Scientific Programs Committee, Eye Bank Association of America | 2014 to Present
  • Cornea Clinical Committee, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) | 2014 to Present
  • Paton Society and the Eye Bank Association of America | 2013 to Present
  • California Medical Association | 2013 to Present
  • Orange County Medical Association | 2013 to Present
  • National Association of Professional Women | 2011 to Present
  • Orange County Society of Ophthalmology | 2007 to Present
  • ASCRS | 2006 to Present
  • Orange County Cornea Society | 2006 to Present
  • OWL | 2006 to Present
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology | 2004 to Present
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) | 2003 to Present


  • Orange County Physician of Excellence, Orange Coast Magazine | 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
  • The 2017 America’s Most Honored Professional Award | 2017
  • Rising Star Award, OWL | 2016
  • Inside Out Award Recipient, TearScience | 2016
  • The 2016 America’s Most Honored Professional Award | 2016
  • Premier 300 Refractive Cataract Surgeon, Ocular Surgery News | 2016
  • National Doctor’s Day: Excellence in Your Field | 2016
  • Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors Award | 2016, 2015, 2014
  • UC Irvine’s Top 5 Physicians, Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction | 2015-2016
  • Best Doctors of California | 2015-2016
  • Best Doctors of America | 2015-2016, 2013-2014, 2012-2013, 2011-2012
  • Talk of the Town Customer Satisfaction Award | 2013
  • Best Doctors 2013 Database, OC Register Family Magazine | 2013
  • Best of LA 2013, Los Angeles Magazine | 2013
  • AAO Achievement Award | 2013
  • Super Doctors 2013, Southern California Rising Stars, Los Angeles Magazine | 2013
  • Academic Keys Who’s Who in Medicine Higher Education | 2013
  • Stanley van den Noort and Elliot Frohman Mentoring Award Nomination, UC Irvine Medical School | 2013
  • Best Paper of Session, ASCRS | 2013
  • Top Ophthalmologist in Irvine, International Association of Healthcare Professionals | 2011
  • Biltmore’s Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals Registry | 2011
  • ASCRS Foundation Lieberman Award Winner | 2011
  • Marquis Who’s Who in America | 2011
  • Department of Ophthalmology Annual Teaching Award, UC Irvine | 2009
  • America’s Top Ophthalmologist, Guide to America’s Top Ophthalmologists | 2009
  • 2009 Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award Nomination | 2008
  • Iranian Society of Ophthalmologists and Vision Scientists Award | 2006
  • Honorable Mention, Resident Research, Department of Ophthalmology, UC Irvine | 2004
  • Department of Ophthalmology Senior Award, UCSD | 2002
  • Outstanding Service to UCSD Community, Associated Students | 2001
  • City of Santa Monica Spirit of Volunteerism Award | 1997
  • Hilding Tegner Award for High GPA | 1994
  • George Pride Life Science Award | 1994
  • Departmental Honors in Biology, Dean’s Honor List/University Scholar, UCLA | 1993-1996
  • American Association of University Women Award | 1993, 1994
  • Women in Transition Award | 1993