The Department of Ophthalmology has been in existence since the 20th of February, 1968 as a unit within Department of Surgery of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, under the Headship of Professor Istvan Rethy, a Hungarian who was solely responsible for administration, clinical, surgical management of patients and teaching of Medical and Dental students.
The Unit over the years gradually grew into an essential part of the Department of Surgery under various heads of unit, namely Professor (Mrs) A. A. Majekodunmi and Professor (Mrs) A. O. Adefule-Ositelu.

In 1993 December it moved to its present site the Guinness Eye Centre, a building built and donated by Guinness Nigeria PLC and has since remained autonomous while functioning in the Department of Surgery until September 2008 when it became a department in the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos following the approval by the Senate of the University of Lagos.

The department has continued to train undergraduate medical, dental and ophthalmic nursing students as well as postgraduate residents in Ophthalmology and related disciplines. The Medical students also have the opportunity of rotating through the different Subspecialty Units namely Glaucoma, Vitreoretina, Paediatric Ophthalmology, Anterior segment and Refraction /Low Vision in the department.

There are currently 6 academic members of staff and one non-academic member of staff.

The Department serves as centre for resident Post-graduate Examination and International Council of Ophthalmology Examination.