Cornea & External Disease; Ophthalmology; Vision science
As a clinician-scientist, I provide care for patients with medical and surgical problems of the cornea and perform clinical and laboratory research on corneal diseases. My goal is to discover treatments and preventive strategies for diseases causing corneal swelling (such as Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy and bullous keratopathy) that currently can only be treated by corneal transplantation.
As a specialist in cornea and external diseases of the eye, I treat a wide range of eye problems and perform a variety of surgical procedures including corneal transplantation, cataract surgery, conjunctival tumor surgery, and transplantation of the artificial cornea when standard corneal transplantation has failed.
One of the most common reasons for corneal transplantation is corneal edema. Edema of the cornea develops from loss of corneal endothelial cells and causes irreversible vision loss in thousands of people yearly. Beyond surgical transplantation of the endothelial cell layer with human donor corneal tissue, no vision-restoring treatments are available.
The most common reason for corneal edema in the United States is Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy. My current research focuses on understanding why Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy is more common in women than men. We are using techniques in clinical epidemiology to study the distribution of Fuchs dystrophy in the population and to identify risk factors for Fuchs dystrophy. In the laboratory, we use techniques in molecular biology and cell physiology to investigate the physiology of the corneal endothelium and to elucidate the roles of estradiol in corneal endothelial health and disease.