Dr. Gregg T. Kokame is the initial founder of HMRI in 1993 and has been the medical director of HRMI since its inception, leading its research and education programs. Dr. Kokame trained at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI) in retinal diseases and surgery – the nation’s #1 ranked ophthalmology program according to US News and World Report for the past 20 years. BPEI was also the birthplace of modern vitreoretinal surgery, and home to some of the most well known retina specialists in the history of ophthalmology. Dr. Donald Gass is considered the father of medical retinal diseases. Dr. Kokame was honored and humbled to receive the Gass Medal for the most prestigious retina society in the nation – the Macula Society. The Gass Medal has been given in the past to recognized leaders in medical retina and to many chairman of the most prestigious eye institutes in the nation, including Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Bascom Palmer Institute in Miami, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear – Harvard Ophthalmology in Boston. Dr. Kokame has been Chief of Ophthalmology at the University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine since 2020.
Dr. Kokame also did a Visiting Professor Sabbatical in both medical and surgical retina at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, where world renowned retina research has been performed at the Institute of Ophthalmology, and where Dr. Kokame worked with some of Europe’s greatest leaders in retinal disease management and research. Dr. Kokame also lectured at Moorfields Eye Hospital during his time there.
Dr. Kokame went to medical school at the UCLA School of Medicine and graduated in the honors society, Alpha Omega Alpha, did his ophthalmology residency at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, which has always been considered the top ophthalmology program in the western United States, and did his retinal medical and surgical fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida.
In 2015 Dr. Kokame made international news for being the first surgeon to perform the Argus II Bionic Implant in the Asia Pacific region. You can read about it here.
In December of 2021 Dr. Kokame performed the first gene therapy in Hawaii. This gene therapy allowed the eye to produce its own medicine to treat exudative macular degeneration. You can read about it here.