Dr. Lee Wan

Dr. Lee Wan: Protecting the Vision and Eyes for Generations

Dr. Lee Wan and his practice team have worked to improve and protect the vision and the eyes for generations of people in Ventura County and abroad. For more than 30 years, the Oxnard ophthalmologist has provided medical and surgical eye care to local residents, leading the team at Coastal Eye Specialists, and has given to the community through a variety of roles at St. John’s Hospitals and in the local medical community. In addition, he has led several medical missions to provide eye care to underserved patient populations and to train the next generation of eye surgeons in Southeast Asia.  

Lee’s dedication to ophthalmology, commitment to St. John’s, work ethic, and philanthropic values were inspired by his family. His father, Dr. P.C. Wan, became the first board-certified ophthalmologist on staff at St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), founded the eye care practice in 1964, and served on St. John’s Hospital Community Board. He also led several ophthalmology teaching missions to China. Lee’s mother, Poh Wan, volunteered in the SJRMC gift shop for many years and served as president of the Ventura County Medical Auxiliary. His parents also supported St. John’s Healthcare Foundation as charter members of the Humanitarian Gift Society. Lee’s sister, Mae, was a pharmacist at St John’s Hospitals for many years. Lee’s daughter, Dr. Lisha Wan, followed in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and became an optometrist. She joined Coastal Eye Specialists and is continuing the Wan family legacy of providing eye care to generations of people in Ventura County. “St. John’s is our family’s hospital. It has been an extension of our home and office for six decades. We’re proud to be part of the St. John’s medical community,” he declared.

After obtaining his medical degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and completing his residency in ophthalmology at the prestigious Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California, Lee joined Coastal Eye Specialists in 1988 and was appointed to the medical staff at SJRMC. Since then, he has provided medical and surgical eye care to generations of Ventura County residents. Many of his current patients are seniors who were first seen by his father in the 1960s and 1970s; others are the children or grandchildren of his father’s patients. In recognition of his commitment to quality care, Lee has been named one of the Best Doctors in America repeatedly since the award’s inception in 1996.

Lee firmly believes that physicians should be active members of the communities they serve and he leads by example. He has held many elected and appointed medical leadership positions, including president of the medical staff at St. John’s Hospitals, member of St. John’s Hospital Community Board, and president of the Ventura County Medical Association. Lee and his wife Christine support St. John’s as members of the Humanitarian Gift Society and by giving to the Foundation. After Lee’s mother had received compassionate care at SJRMC, the Wan family made a generous donation to enhance the hospital’s palliative care family area. 

In addition to their professional and volunteer work in Ventura County, both Drs. Lee and Lisha Wan have participated multiple times in international medical missions under the auspices of Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE). In addition to providing care to underserved patients, they have educated and trained local doctors and staff at eye care centers in Vietnam and Cambodia. “It’s very rewarding to return to a facility a few years later and see how the doctors that we helped train have mastered the surgical techniques and are now serving their communities,” he said. 

For his commitment to his patients, community, and profession, Lee was awarded the Catherine McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award by St. John’s Hospitals, the Spirit of Philanthropy Award by St. John’s Healthcare Foundation, and the Values in Action Award by Dignity Health. Tellingly, Lee and Christine, their children, and Lee’s siblings and their families all maintain their roots here in Ventura County. “That’s a wonderful testament to how great our community here is, and how important it is that we support it,” he said.

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