Mass. Eye and Ear is a worldwide center of excellence for the care, research and teaching of disorders that affect the eye, ear, nose, throat, head and neck. A teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, it is ranked as one of the best hospitals in the U.S. for care in Ophthalmology (eye care) and Otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat, head and neck care). Since 1824, it has earned a reputation for pioneering medical and surgical procedures, which has resulted in several groundbreaking medical discoveries. A few milestones include discovering: the first hereditary cancer gene; the first diagnosis of retinopathy of prematurity; the first treatment for retinitis pigmentosa; and performance of the first cochlear implant in the New England area. In addition, Mass. Eye and Ear's physicians and researchers developed two surgical procedures for Meniere's disease and developed a unique surgical method to restore speech, swallowing, and normal breathing in patients with paralyzed vocal cords.