Dr. McDonald, born in Chicago, Illinois, received her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1976, followed by an internship at Lenox Hill Hospital and ophthalmology residency at Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital/Cornell, both in New York City. She finished her training in 1981 after a fellowship in corneal and external diseases with Dr. Herbert E. Kaufman at the LSU Medical School in New Orleans.
From 1981 Dr. McDonald held tenure at LSU Medical School and became Full Professor of Ophthalmology, Director of the Corneal Service, and Chairman of Promotions and Tenure before she established the Southern Vision Institute in New Orleans in 1994. She joined the Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island in New York in 2006. Currently, she is a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at New York University in Manhattan and a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans. She is a staff physician at Manhattan Eye Ear and Throat Hospital; TLC in Garden City, NY; Island Eye Surgicenter in Carle Place, NY; and Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, NY. She has been active in research having been PI on several NEI R01 research grants. She was instrumental in the development of several refractive surgical procedures including epikeratophakia, synthetic keratophakia, epi-LASIK, and conductive keratoplasty (CK). Her current research continues to focus on refractive surgery and dry eye treatments.
For her pioneering work in refractive surgery that also included development and performance of the first excimer laser procedure in patients,
she has received over 90 professional recognition awards including the ISRK Lans Distinguished Refractive Surgeon Lecture, the ISRK/AAO Barraquer Lecture, the
AAO Whitney Sampson Lecture, the AAO Binkhorst Lecture, the ASCRS Steinert Lecture, and induction into the ASCRS Hall of Fame. She serves on numerous Editorial Boards of clinical and scientific journals and is an active member of multiple national and international professional societies that have accorded recognition including: Honorary President, Founding Member, International Association of Women Eye Surgeons; President, Association of Women Eye Surgeons; President, ASCRS; President, ISRS/AAO; and President, International Society for Contact Lens Research. She has over 1,800 publications and a number of patents in the fields of cornea and refractive surgery.
Dr. McDonald lives in Port Washington, NY, with her husband. She enjoys tennis, swimming, and walking. She has been active in a number of local and national charitable organizations.