Born in Beijing, China, Professor Yee immigrated to San Francisco, California, with his father, a thoracic surgeon, and his mother, an ophthalmologist. His maternal grandfather was Professor of Ophthalmology at the Peking Union Medical College, translated the first American textbook of ophthalmology into Chinese, and was the first ophthalmologist to examine a Chinese emperor, Pu-yi. His mother was the first ophthalmologist in San Francisco's Chinatown. Professor Yee graduated from Harvard College (B.A. summa cum laude) and Harvard Medical School (M.D. cum laude). He completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA School of Medicine, and was a fellow in neuro-ophthalmology at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Professor Yee was a Professor of Ophthalmology in the UCLA School of Medicine, and joined the Indiana University School of Medicine as Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology in 1987. Under his leadership, the number of departmental faculty members quadrupled, including clinicians and basic science researchers, vigorous programs of laboratory and clinical research were begun, and three endowed professorships were created. Professor Yee's research is in the neurophysiology of eye movements in normal humans and eye movement abnormalities caused by neurologic disorders. He has published over 150 papers and book chapters, and has received funding for his research from the National Institutes of Health and philanthropic groups.
Professor Yee was a Fulbright fellow, the Kenneth Feldman Professor of Ophthalmology in the UCLA School of Medicine, and the Dolly Green Research Professor of Research To Prevent Blindness. He has been the Chairman of the ACGME's Residency Review Committee for Ophthalmology, Vice President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Vice President of the Frank Walsh Neuro-Ophthalmological Society, President of the Chinese American Ophthalmological Society, and a fellow of the American Ophthalmological Society. Professor Yee became the first Merrill Grayson Professor of Ophthalmology in April 2003.