UA to Honor Sean McCafferty, M.D., FACS as 2017 Alumnus of the Year in Optical Sciences

Sept. 27, 2017





The award is part of the University of Arizona’s Homecoming festivities this October

Tucson, AZ, -  The University of Arizona Alumni Association has announced that Sean McCafferty, M.D., and President/CEO of Intuor Technologies (M.S. in Optical Sciences, 2015), has been selected as the 2017 Alumnus of the Year for the College of Optical Sciences. This coveted award will be presented at a special ceremony on October 27 as part of the University's homecoming celebrations. 

"In the Tucson community, Sean is known by many for his highly successful private practice in ophthalmology. This award is to recognize him for his numerous contributions to medicine and optics," said Thomas L. Koch, Ph.D., dean of the College of Optical Sciences.

"People worldwide who suffer from serious eye diseases will benefit from Sean's relentless desire to improve their outcomes through innovations in optics, mechanics and medicine in his field of ophthalmology," Dean Koch added.  

Sean earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Youngstown State University, and initially pursued a career in the steel, auto and power industries. Even with numerous patents and successful products, Sean also had a passion for engineering as a means to help better the lives of others. He changed directions and pursued a medical degree in ophthalmology from Ohio State University, which he received in 1996. 

An internship in Tucson evolved into a residency at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, which Sean completed in 2000. Maintaining the momentum, Sean founded Arizona Eye Consultants in 2001 and later, the Camp Lowell Surgery Center and Carondelet Foothills Surgery Center. These practices and surgical centers have grown to include many practitioners and cover most of the Tucson area.

From an introduction to optics technology while at the UA College of Medicine, Sean was fascinated by its potential to help improve the health of others. In 2009, he applied to the graduate program at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences. After six years of balancing his full-time, burgeoning practices, studies, research and family, Sean earned a M.S. in Optical Sciences in 2015. 

His thesis was "The Analysis and Application of Opto-Mechanics to the Etiology of Sub-Optimal Outcomes in Laser Corrective Eye Surgery and Design Methodology of Deformable Surface Accommodating Intraocular Lenses."

While at the College of Optical Sciences, his advisor was Professor of Optical Sciences and Ophthalmology Jim Schwiegerling, who met Sean when he was a resident in the UA College of Medicine's ophthalmology program. 

"It was clear at this early stage that Sean was extraordinary. Sean knows that there are still unsolved problems in eye care, and he has the determination to improve capabilities to help people’s vision. 

"I anticipate that the products Sean has developed are just the initial items in a pipeline of technologies that will improve the vision and well-being of people throughout the world," said Jim Schwiegerling. 

While in pursuit of his master's degree in optics, Sean also founded several companies that addressed medical treatments for vision. Among them was Intuor Technologies, LLC, an ophthalmic/optical product development company committed to the detection and treatment of series eye diseases.

Intuor is thriving today, and Sean serves as President and CEO with Nannon Roosa serving as the company’s chief operating officer. 

"Although Sean is a superior scientist and businessman, he is an even better man," said Nannon. "He is a selfless person with a heart of gold that cares deeply about those with whom he works. Despite his vast academic and business accomplishments, Sean is a humble man. It is a rare person who works at the crossroads of engineering, medicine, and optics to create truly novel optical and ophthalmic solutions.

An advocate for education, in 2008 Sean established an undergraduate scholarship at the College of Optical Sciences known as the U.S. Army Captain John E. Tipton Scholarship. Sean never met Captain Tipton, who served in the Middle East during the Gulf War, and was killed in 2004. Yet, the late officer's dedication, determination, leadership and selflessness inspired Sean. Nearly 30 optical sciences and engineering students have received this award to date.

In 2015, Sean endowed a permanent fund, this time supporting graduate students in optical sciences. Also named for Captain Tipton, this scholarship is part of the college's FoTO (Friends of Tucson Optics) scholarship program and provides a first-year graduate student with a generous stipend and waived tuition.

James C. (Jim) Wyant, professor emeritus, founding dean of the College of Optical Sciences and lead donor to the FoTO scholarship program, believes Sean to be "an amazing person, and one that came from very humble beginnings. His personal story is stellar, and he is an inspiration to everyone who knows him. Sean is one of our outstanding graduates," said Jim Wyant. 

Sean is active in the Tucson community, volunteering at El Rio clinic and the Arizona Medical Eye Unit. He is a member of the UA's President Club and Desert Angels. Sean is also a member and frequent journal reviewer of many ophthalmic and optical organizations. 

Yet, when considering his numerous career accomplishments, Sean will be the first to add that his family is his greatest joy and inspiration. He, his wife Jenny, and their six children reside in Tucson.

"While the College of Optical Sciences is globally known for its leading teaching and research programs," Dean Koch says, "Our reputation is surely a testament to the brilliance and dedication of our students, alumni and faculty who have pioneered scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs, introducing remarkable new ways that optics will impact the quality of our lives. As an alumnus of the College, Sean McCafferty exemplifies this commitment."


About the University of Arizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences: 

The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, founded as the Optical Sciences Center, has been shaping the future since 1964 by offering high-quality instruction, cutting-edge research and a solid commitment to the development of the optics industry. OSC remains dedicated to providing the state of Arizona and the nation with an internationally pre-eminent program in all aspects of the study of light. For more information, please visit or call 520-621-6997.


Kaye Rowan
Senior Director of Development