Zeiter Eye celebrates 50 years in the Valley

By Jennifer Torres

About two months ago, the Stockton-based Zeiter Eye Medical Group welcomed a new doctor, Joseph E. Zeiter, one of several generations of Zeiter surgeons to have served at the practice that Henry Zeiter founded 50 years ago.

“It’s absolutely fabulous to have him here,” Joseph T. Zeiter, also an ophthalmologist, said of his son. “Since he’s been small, he’s been coming to the clinic. … and family is very important to us.”

Joseph T. Zeiter said since it was founded in 1962, Zeiter Eye Medical Group has made family in the personal and the community sense a priority, and, he said, it’s that family focus that has sustained the practice over a half century in business.

“We treat our patients the way we would treat our family,” Zeiter said, “And I’ve already said how important family is to us.”

Henry Zeiter, who retired in 2006, was born in Lebanon in 1934. As a teen, he moved with his family to Venezuela, then studied medicine in Canada before traveling to Stockton and opening his downtown practice.

Joseph T. Zeiter, Henry’s nephew, joined the business in 1982. Henry’s son, John Zeiter, joined in 1992.

Today, in addition to the Zeiter’s, several other surgeons work for the practice, which has offices in Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Tracy and Sonora.

Much about eye surgery has changed since Zeiter Eye Medical Group was created, Joseph Zeiter said. Cataract surgery, in particular, has seen especially profound changes.

“All the equipment, the way we do the surgery, has changed completely,” he said.

The practice has kept up with advances by investing in cutting-edge technology.

“There is not a clinic in the world that is better equipped than ours,” Zeiter said. “It’s so much fun staying on top of things.”

But unchanged over the past 50 years is the practice’s commitment to the community. Henry Zeiter has long been a champion of the arts, supporting, among other programs and organizations, the annual Henry and Carol Zeiter Piano Competition at University of the Pacific.

About 20 years ago, Henry, John and Joseph Zeiter launched Mission Cataract to provide cataract surgery to patients who otherwise would not be able to afford it.

“It’s the only procedure in medicine that can make you younger,” Zeiter said. “You cannot imagine how many times I’ve had people say to me after cataract surgery, ‘You’ve changed my life.’”

The doctors also travel internationally to countries including Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela to perform free surgeries as part of humanitarian missions.

“We believe very strongly in giving back,” Zeiter said. “We learned that from our parents,   and from our Uncle, you have to be a good person first, the rest just falls into place.”



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