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Meet Dr. Melendez

eye doctor albuquerque

Albuquerque Ophthalmolgist

Founder of Juliette Eye Institute & Board Certified Ophthalmologist

  • Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Has performed over 15,000 cataract and refractive surgery procedures
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Department of Surgery/Division of Ophthalmology 2005-Present, mentoring medical students and helping them prepare for a career in ophthalmology.
  • First Surgeon to offer Laser Cataract Surgery (LenSx®) in Albuquerque, NM 
  • Performed one of the first Trifocal IOL (PanOptix®) in Albuquerque, NM
  • Performed one of the first Trifocal IOL (PanOptix®) for astigmatism in Albuquerque, NM
  • Performed the first Restor +2.5 D multifocal lens implant in  Albuquerque, NM 
  • Performed First Extended Depth of Focus (Symfony®) Lens Implantation in Albuquerque, NM
  • First Surgeon to offer SMILE (Small Lenticule Extraction: Flapless LASIK”) in Albuquerque, NM
  • Authored numerous scientific journal articles
  • Authored an audiobook “Ophthalmology Buzzwords®”
  • Authored a Leadership Book: Focus on your Passion, not the Position
  • Delivered more than 75 presentations at national and international scientific meetings.
  • Voted to Top Docs Abq The Magazine since 2006.
  • Editor-in-Chief of The Ophthalmic News and Education Network, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
  • Secretary for Online Education, American Academy of Ophthalmology, creating educational content to educate ophthalmologists around the world and helped develop the first education app for AAO.

Dr. Melendez was born in New Mexico with over 10 generations from Placitas, NM. He grew up in California and met his wife while visiting family in New Mexico and decided to be with her and attended the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and conducted extensive research where he was accepted to the prestigious Howard Hughes Research Program and published a paper that was featured on the cover of the journal, Developmental Biology.

After graduation, he attended graduate school where he earned a Master’s degree in Biochemistry where he pursued his passion for teaching and research. He attended UNM School of Medicine where he received the Khatali award given to 5 medical students who excelled in academics, research, and/or community service.

He was fortunate enough to train at the Cleveland Clinic during medical school conducting vision research on cataract surgery where he completed the project at his medical school and presented it and won first place for the best oral presentation at the Western Research Conference in Carmel, CA in 2000.

He was accepted to his first choice ophthalmology residency at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center where he continued his cataract research and presented several times at scientific meetings.

He was chosen as the Chief Resident in his senior year and was voted resident eye surgeon of the year. He also started the first Ophthalmology Chief Resident Leadership Conference for chief residents across the country.

Immediately after training, he became a member of AAO’s Young Ophthalmologist Committee for 6 years and then served as Chair for 3 years where he played an integral part in mentoring young eye surgeons in the areas of business and leadership development.

He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the ONE Network, an online education site for ophthalmologists across the globe. He then later became the Secretary for Online Education for AAO where he oversaw the ONE Network and EyeWiki.org. He also created the 1-minute video series for AAO designed to help busy surgeons learn key surgical techniques.

He also proposed and helped developed the first ophthalmic education app created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He also returned to graduate school to learn more about the business of medicine by earning an MBA degree from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico.

During the first 15 years of practice, Dr. Melendez learned how to perform LASIK surgery in 2005 and became very adept and efficient at performing high volume cataract surgery where he performed numerous types of cataracts and became one of the highest volume surgeons in the United States and began incorporating the newest types of lens implants to help patients see at their very best. He has performed over 15,000 cataract and refractive surgeries and values the relationships he developed and continues to foster with each patient.

Dr. Melendez started a foundation to help find a cure for retina diseases, in particular, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in which his mother was diagnosed with when he was a young boy.

He always wanted to find a cure for her eye disease and as a result, he started a foundation called The Juliette RP Vision Foundation (JulietteFoundation.org) in 2008 named after his mother where they provide scholarships to visually-impaired college students and grants to young scientists conducting retina research, most recently to The Johns Hopkins University and The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

To continue this legacy of helping others see better, Dr. Melendez started The Juliette Eye Institute who’s mission statement is Patients First. He has been told that he has a great bedside manner where he cares for his patients and desires that each person has a personalized care plan for both their eye condition and eye surgery.

He specializes in cataract and refractive surgeries to help patients see their best. He wanted to create an eye practice where he could spend more time with the patient where he can better understand them and their vision needs. Dr. Melendez started The Juliette Eye Institute to offer world-class care in New Mexico.

Education:

  • High School Diploma: Oakdale High School, Oakdale, CA -Senior Class President, Jazz Band, California Scholastic Federation and Asilomar (leadership club)
  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry: University of New Mexico 1994
  • Master of Science in Biochemistry: University of New Mexico 1996
  • Medical Doctorate: University of New Mexico School of Medicine 2000
  • Medical Internship: University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center 2001
  • Ophthalmology Residency: The University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, TX 2004
  • Master of Business Administration: University of New Mexico, Anderson School of Management 2008

Military Service

  • Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)United States Air Force/New Mexico Air National Guard 2013-2020
  • Flight Surgeon. Served the airmen of the 58th Special Operations Wing in the 150th Medical Group, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM
  • Officer in Charge of Medical Review
  • Chief, Laboratory Services
  • Completed Aerospace Medicine Program 101, 201, and 202
  • Learned to fly the Cirrus SR22 plane and aerobatic flying.

Boards:

  • President, University of New Mexico School of Medicine Alumni Association 2017-2019 and Board member 2017-Present. 
  • Board of Directors, Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation (2013 – Present), Member.
  • Founder and President of The Juliette RP Vision Foundation (named after his mother) 2008-Present. (www.JulietteFoundation.org)
  • UNM School of Medicine Admissions Committee (2006-2009 ) 
  • Section Chief of Ophthalmology 2006-2010, Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, NM 
  • Section Chief of Ophthalmology 2006-2010, Lovelace Medical Center, Albuquerque, NM 

Awards:

  • Top Docs, Abq The Magazine 2020 (2006-Present)
  • 2018 UNM Zia Award
  • Senior Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology 2017
  • Secretariat Award American Academy of Ophthalmology 2017
  • Secretariat Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology 2011
  • Distinguished Alumni Award for UNM School of Medicine 2010 
  • Named to America’s Top Ophthalmologists 2010
  • Achievement Award,  American Academy of Ophthalmology 2010
  • Inducted to UNM’s Anderson School of Management Hall of Fame, Young Alumni, 2010
  • American Medical Association YPS Community Service Award 2009 
  • Cambridge Who’s Who, 2009
  • New Mexico Young Physician Delegate to the American Medical Association 2008-2011 
  • American Medical Association Foundation Leadership Award, 2008
  • Nominated for Who’s Who in the World, 2008 
  • Selected to “40 under 40” NM Business weekly for forty individuals that are “movers and shakers under the age of forty, 2007
  • Nominated for Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, 2006
  • Recipient of the Gale Hansen Starich Award (for best oral presentation) at the 28th Annual Western Student Medical Research Forum in Carmel, CA (2000).
  • Recipient of the New Mexico Hispanic Medical Association Scholarship, 1999
  • Recipient of the UNM School of Medicine Alumni Association Khatali Award, 1999

Memberships:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • American Eye Study Club
  • Refractive Surgery Alliance
  • New Mexico Academy of Ophthalmology
  • New Mexico Medical Society
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery

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