The Trust employs over 1200 people across its eleven sites of operation. 24,000 ophthalmic operations are carried out yearly and over 260,000 patients are seen at the hospital annually.
The hospital is the oldest and largest eye hospital in the world and is internationally renowned for its comprehensive clinical and research activities. The hospital is a major international tertiary care and training centre in ophthalmology, with over half of ophthalmologists in the UK having received specialist training at the hospital. In addition, scores of leading ophthalmologists world-wide have trained at Moorfields.
The hospital was founded on the Moorfields in 1805 as the London Dispensary for curing diseases of the Eye and Ear, by John Cunningham Saunders, assisted by John Richard Farre. It moved to its present site in 1899, and was nationalised in 1948. These anniversaries gave it the unusual ability to celebrate a centenary in 1999 and a bicentenary in 2005.
In February 2007, the new Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre (RDCEC) (Also known as the International children’s eye centre), built adjacent to the main city road site was opened.
Today Moorfields Eye Hospital is a major centre for postgraduate training of ophthalmologists, optometrists, and nurses. It has also played a pivotal role in ophthalmic research. Sir Stewart Duke-Elder founded the Institute of Ophthalmology (now an integral part of University College London), and many key individuals, such as Sir Harold Ridley, Charles Schepens, Norman Ashton, Shomi S. Bhattacharya, Allen Foster, Gordon Johnson and Raymond Lund have carried out their research at Moorfields and the Institute. As of 2005, major ophthalmic research programmes at Moorfields were led by Professors Robin Ali, Shomi S. Bhattacharya, Alan C. Bird, Fred Fitzke, John Greenwood, Roger Hitchings, Peng T. Khaw, Phil Luthert, Susan Lightman, Tony Moore, Steve Moss, Santa J. Ono and Gary S. Rubin.