Alfredo A. Sadun

Professor of Ophthalmology Flora L. Thornton in Vision Research

Areas of treatment:

Neuro-Ophthalmology and Diseases of the Orbit
Optic Neuropathies


  • Ophthalmology


  • Department of Ophthalmology


  • English
  • Italian

Alfredo A. Sadun, MD, PhD

Professor of Ophthalmology
Flora L. Thornton in Vision Research

Practicing location:

  • USC Eye Institute

About this doctor:

Dr. Sadun began his studies of brain science at M.I.T. and then earned a Ph.D. and an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His residency and chief residency were at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical. He completed a clinical fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at Harvard Medical and then joined the full time faculty at Harvard. In 1984, Dr. Sadun was recruited to join the full-time faculty of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. His research has centered on the clinical, psychophysical and laboratory studies of diseases of the optic nerve and its connections with the brain. He was the first to identify several optic neuropathies due to systemic diseases such as AIDS and Alzheimer’s. In 1993 he was selected and sponsored by the United Nations to lead an investigative team to determine the cause of an epidemic of optic neuropathy in Cuba. Currently, his research is centered on mitochondrial causes of optic neuropathy such as LHON and has developed a unifying theory of these diseases. Dr. Sadun was appointed the inaugural recipient of the Flora L. Thornton Endowed Chair in Vision Research in 2000. Dr. Sadun has been recognized as an international authority in neuro-ophthalmology and especially diseases of the optic nerve. He has received the RPB James Adams Scholar Award in 1990 and the RPB Senior Investigator Award in 1997. In 1999 he received the Lighthouse International Pisart Award, this organization’s highest research prize given annually to one vision scientist or clinician deemed to have made the greatest international contribution against blindness. In 2003 Dr. Sadun received the highest award bestowed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology for education, the Straatsma prize. For his contributions to ophthalmology and the academy, he also received, in 2005, the Senior Honor Award. In 2012, Dr. Sadun received, as a combined prize from two organizations (AAO and NANOS), the William Hoyt Award, the highest honor in Neuro-Ophthalmology. Sadun is the author or co-editor of four books, over 270 peer reviewed articles, and 70 book chapters.

Featured Articles:


Ph.D., Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine 1976
M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine 1978
B.S., Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1972


Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, CA 1978 - 1979


Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 1979 - 1982


Neuro-Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School 1982 - 1983

Professional society memberships:

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
North American Neuro-Ophthalmological Society (NANOS)
AUPO Program Director's Advisory Council
Association for Research in Vision Organization (ARVO)
American Ophthalmological Society (AOS)


HEED Foundation Award in 1982
RPB James Adams Scholar Award in 1990
The American Academy of Ophthalmology Honor Award in 1993
RPB Senior Investigator Award in 1997
Induction into the American Ophthalmological Society (Honor Soc.) in 1998
The Lighthouse International Pisart Award in 1999
The American Academy of Ophthalmology Straatsma prize in 2003
The American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Honor Award in 2005
The W. Hoyt Award for Neuro-Ophthalmology (AAO and NANOS) in 2012