The concept of the establishment of a National Specialist Eye Hospital was contained in a memorandum to the Federal Govemment by a renowned Ophthalmologist and pioneer Director, Prof. H.C. Kodilinye, as a result of which in 1979, Decree No. 52 was promulgated by the Murtala/Obasanjo Administration towards the establishment of the hospital presently known as the National Eye Centre, Kaduna. The decree has since been changed to act 258 LFN.

The need for the establishment of the Hospital cannot be far fetched from the revelation of a WHO statistics that about 1 million Nigerians were blind, two-thirds of whom can either be cured or prevented from going blind.
The decree setting up the Centre, therefore, mandates it to provide comprehensive ophthalmic services, training facilities for ophthalmologists, orthoptists, Ophthalmic Nurses and all cadres of Eye health manpower as well as to create research facilities for the development of Ophthalmology in Nigeria and beyond.

In 1981, the Centre was listed under the Federal Government Gazette No. 24, volume 68 of May 1 st after the commencement of work in early 1980. By 1984, hospital equipments worth millions of Naira were delivered to the hospital. In October, 1990, the completion of the Project was handed over to a Presidential Task Force constituted by the Babangida Administration and chaired by Professor B.D. Musa.
The hospital was eventually commissioned on 21 st of December, 1992 by President LB. Babangida with Professor Adenike Abiose as the first substantive Chief Medical Director of the hospital (after its commissioning).

The hospital has 100 beds, 10 consultant clinics, 7 Operating theatres and several laboratories in addition to other specialized units such as X-ray, Orthoptics, Optometry, Central Sterilization Department and Pharmacy.
Though skeletal activities started in the Centre progressively from 1985, when staff moved from the temporary administrative office in Sambo Road, U/Sarki, Kaduna to the present permanent site, it was not until 1993 after commissioning in December, 1992 that clinical services actually took off within the hospital.

Since then, the Centre has, over the years progressively pursued and improved on its mandate by reaching out to more patients, engaging in the training of various cadres of Eye health manpower as well as undertaking or collaborating with other bodies nationally and internationally in research activities.