Concerned about the hardships that the Saudi people had to endure while traveling abroad to seek remedies and surgeries for their ocular problems, the late King Khaled recognized the need for his country to have a comprehensive treatment and research center devoted only to eye care. In the late 1970s, King Khaled and his ministers proposed the creation of an eye care center that would service the entire Middle Eastern region. In August 1979, a Royal Order was issued to build King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, a hospital that would rank among the finest in the world. The government donated 2.5 km2 of land on the northwest outskirts of Riyadh for the project. King Khaled closely followed the progression of its construction. By June 1981, phase one was completed, which comprised most of the hospital, a mosque, 22 villas, six five-story apartment buildings, a community center, and tennis courts. Phase two, consisting of the remainder of the hospital, roads, landscaping, and additional housing, was completed in late 1982. The hospital began operation in December 1982. but, King Khaled passed away just as the construction of the hospital was nearing completion. The hospital was formally opened by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, in November 1983.