Dr. Stuart R. Winthrop

Dr. Winthrop was raised in Los Angeles and moved to Santa Barbara in 1981 to begin his practice in ophthalmology. He has been a leader in the Santa Barbara medical community for over thirty years, providing excellent ophthalmology care to those seeking relief from a variety of conditions. As a cornea specialist, Dr. Winthrop performs delicate corneal transplant surgery and cares for especially difficult anterior segment and corneal problems.

The Santa Barbara community consistently names Dr. Winthrop "Best Ophthalmologist” or "Best LASIK Surgeon" through the Santa Barbara News-Press and Independent reader polls. In fact, his reputation is worldwide, drawing patients from abroad.

Dr. Winthrop lives on the Santa Barbara Riviera with his wife Betsy. Their three children are Sam, Mia, and Rachel. In his spare time, he regularly heads down to Santa Barbara beaches for runs along the coastline, hikes the Santa Barbara foothills, and gardens.


Dr. Winthrop attended college at UCLA and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned his medical degree at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, where he graduated first in his medical school class, and where he was voted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society in his third year of school. After his ophthalmology residency at the Estelle Doheny/Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, Dr. Winthrop trained as a cornea fellow at the prestigious Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard University. During his cornea fellowship, he was the recipient of the Heed Foundation Fellowship, a top distinction among ophthalmologists pursuing advanced fellowship training. Dr. Winthrop has been the co-author of several articles in assorted medical journals. Please see Curriculum Vitae for more detailed information.
Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, Dr. Winthrop is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and a member of the International Society of Refractive Surgery. He is also a member of the California Association of Ophthalmology, the California Medical Association, and the Santa Barbara Ophthalmology Society. He is Past President of the Santa Barbara Ophthalmology Society and past Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Cottage Eye Center. He has served as the Medical Director of the Lions Eye Bank. See more in Curriculum Vitae.
Dr. Winthrop taught Cornea care to the eye residents and fellows at the Jules Stein Eye Institute (UCLA) where he was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology for 15 years.
Since 1991, Dr. Winthrop has been actively involved with laser vision correction of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. He was named a "visionary doctor" by Summit Technology of Boston, the developers of the excimer laser – the technology approved first by the FDA for laser vision correction procedures. When the FDA granted approval in late 1995, Dr. Winthrop had already arranged fo the laser to be available to the Santa Barbara community at Cottage Eye and Laser Center. He has continued to pursue all necessary avenues to ensure that our community continues to acquire each "next generation" development in the technology. In fact, Dr. Winthrop was the first surgeon in the United States to receive and use the second-generation microkeratome, the "Hansatome". In 2000, Dr. Winthrop opened his private Laser Center and brought the LADARVision system to the Santa Barbara community. The latest advance in technology for LASIK, the Alcon Allegretto EX 500-hertz excimer laser, was added in 2021. His patients can be assured that they have access to the very best medical care available for laser vision correction.

In addition to specialized cornea care, which includes transplants, LASIK, and PRK, Dr. Winthrop provides comprehensive ophthalmology care including contact lens care, laser surgery, and small-incision, no-stitch, phacoemulsification cataract surgery.

His patients are constantly amazed at the miracle of improved vision that occurs with the use of modern surgical techniques. Dr. Winthrop performs his eye surgeries at Cottage Eye and Laser Institute, Santa Barbara Surgical Center and his own private Laser Center, all in Santa Barbara.

Dr. Winthrop has been active in raising large charitable donations for the benefit of our local hospitals.


University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California
Alpha Omega Alpha, 1975
M.D., June 1976 (First in class)

University of California, Los Angeles, California
B. A., Magna cum Laude, June 1972

Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, California
June 1968


Los Angeles County -University of Southern California Medical Center
Ophthalmology, Los Angeles, California
April 1976 through March 1977


Los Angeles County - University of Southern California Medical Center
Ophthalmology, Los Angeles, California
July 1976 through June 1979

Postgraduate Training

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School,
Boston, Massachusetts
Clinical Fellow, Cornea - External Disease
July 1979 through June 1980

Eye Research Institute of the Retina Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts
Research Associate, Department of Cornea Research
July 1979 through June 1980

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts
Chief Clinical Fellow, Cornea Service
January 1980 through June 1980

Teaching Appointments

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Clinical Fellow in Ophthalmology
July 1979 through June 1980

UCLA School of Medicine, Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, California
Clinical Instructor in Ophthalmology
September 1981 through July 1984

UCLA School of Medicine, Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, California
Assistant Clinical Professor
July 1984 through February 1996

Awards and Honors

University of California, Los Angeles, California
Magna cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Alpha Omega Alpha, 1975 Medical Honor Society
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Association

Heed Ophthalmic Fellowship, Chicago, Illinois


National Society to Prevent Blindness, New York, New York

Certifications and Licensure

Diplomat, American Board of Ophthalmology, 1980
Medical licensure: California Physician and Surgeon, 1977
Diplomat, National Board of Medical Examiners, 1977

Professional Society Memberships

Fellow, American College of Surgeons,
1985 to Present
Fellow, American Academy of Ophthalmology,
1981 to Present
American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery,
1993 to Present
International Society of Refractive Surgery,
1998 to Present
California Association of Ophthalmology,
1981 to Present
California Medical Association,
1981 to Present
Santa Barbara County Medical Society,
1981 to Present
Santa Barbara Ophthalmological Society,
1981 to Present

Professional Interests

Lions Eye Bank, Santa Barbara Medical Director

Riviera Cornea Foundation
Medical Director, 1992 to Present

Coastal Counties Eye Care Medical Group, Regional Specialty IPA (Ophthalmology)
President, 1994 to Present

Monarch - Select IPA, Santa Barbara
Board of Directors, 1997

Premier Management Services, Multi-Specialty Organization (MSO) President, 1998 to Present

Santa Barbara Ophthalmological Society
President, 1981-1984, 1997

St. Francis Medical Center
Secretary of the Medical Staff, 1985-1988
Vice Chief of Medical Staff, 1989-1993
Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, 1990-1998


Winthrop, S.R., Cleary, P.E., Minckler, D.S., and Ryan, S.J.
Penetrating Eye Injuries: A Histopathological Review
Br. J. Ophthalmology (64:809-817, 1980)
Winthrop, S.R., and Smith, R.E.
Spontaneous Regression of an Anterior Chamber Cyst: A Case Report
Annals of Ophthalmology (431-432, 1981)
Berman, M., Winthrop, S.R., Ausprank, D., Rose, J., Langer, R., and Gage, J.
Plasminogen Activator (Urokinase) Causes Vascularization of the Cornea
Investigative Ophthalmology (22:191-199, 1982) Nesburn, A.B., Smith, R.E., and Winthrop, S.R.
Therapy of Stromal Herpes Symposium on Medical and Surgical Diseases of the Cornea
Transactions of the New Orleans Academy of Ophthalmology
The C.V. Mosby Co., 1980