Meet Dr. Leela V. Raju | OWL Cary, NC | OWL

Meet Dr. Leela V. Raju

Donna M. McCune, CCS-P, COE, CPMA, Vice President, Corcoran Consulting Group was interviewed by Bindu Manne, OWL Membership Committee Co-Chair, in early May 2016.

New OWL member and ophthalmologist, Dr. Leela V. Raju is in private practice at Eye Physicians and Surgeons in Brooklyn, NY. She is also a clinical instructor at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in Biology with Honors, she received her MD degree at Marshall University. Dr. Raju completed an Ocular Pathology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and and Ophthalmology residency at the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a Cornea, Anterior Segment and External Disease Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. Before moving to New York, she was an Assistant Clinical Professor and Vice Chair of clinical operations in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her clinical interests include DSEK surgery, ocular surface reconstruction, complicated cataract surgery and anterior segment reconstruction.

Why did you join Owl?

I attended a reception and was impressed with the sense of community. Both the ophthalmologists and industry members want to improve opportunities for members to become involved locally or nationally. Owl seems like a source of new viewpoints and I look forward to contributing to help the organization thrive.

Tell us about your involvement with the Eye Foundation of America.

My father, VK Raju, is an ophthalmologist and because of his ceaseless dedication toward making eye care affordable and accessible, the Eye Foundation of America has helped support two eye hospitals in Andhra Pradesh- southern India – and performed thousands of surgeries for patients who couldn’t afford them. I am especially proud of our school children vision screening program. This program educates teachers on how to help children who need glasses, surgery or an ophthalmologist. Not having access to glasses is the single most common vision issue. I make yearly trips to the Goutami Eye Institute to both teach and treat patients.

How has ophthalmology changed in terms of diversity in the last 10 years?

It’s been exciting to see how the number of women in ophthalmology has steadily increased- especially when I look at residencies including my own. And now to see how this diverse group of ophthalmologists are involved in residency programs, teaching, and speaking at various ophthalmic meetings across the world. I think they serve as great role models and add new viewpoints for education.

How is NYC treating you? Any advise to future residents/fellows considering a program in NYC?

I really enjoy being in NYC. It amazes me how much there is to see and do, and cuisines to try. In clinic, you see a wide range of eye problems, and at times it will seem daunting and complicated. But if you can, look past the post-call exhaustion and the difficulty of focusing during early morning lectures. Take advantage of all the learning opportunities available to you.

How do you spend your free time?

I’ve enjoyed exploring NYC and love to go MoMA whenever I have time. I aspire to run a half-marathon, but the training is slow. I am also secretary of the Eye Foundation of America and involved in fundraising – 100% of donations go to providing eye care. I’ve found that fundraising is a year-round job. To learn more, visit