The Cornea Center of Excellence is dedicated to bringing together the world’s largest group of scientists and physicians to understand corneal biology, develop treatments for corneal conditions, and improve access to sight-saving treatments.
Image: Fuchs dystrophy specimen showing fragmented mitochondria in the corneal endothelium. Taken by: Anne-Sophie Benischke, PhD
Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH
Ula V. Jurkunas, MD
See a list of Cornea COE faculty
The cornea is the eye's most powerful structure for focusing light; it also protects the rest of the eye from injuries and microbial pathogens (such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses). However, the cornea itself is susceptible to infections, inflammation, injuries, and genetic conditions that can disrupt corneal function and cause vision loss.
According to the World Health Organization, corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide, and alleviating this global burden is dependent not only on elucidating disease mechanisms and improving therapeutic approaches, but also on increasing access to ophthalmic care.
Major Research Breakthroughs
In the last 20 years, our faculty have speaheaded many new innovations and advances in the field. Notably, they have:
- Identified molecular clues, including the role of oxidative stress, in the pathogenesis of Fuchs’ endothelial corneal dystrophy
- Identified the molecular and cellular immune basis of dry eye disease, including the role of interleukin-17
- Developed and optimized drug-eluting contact lenses
- Developed the “Lucia,” a novel corneal prosthesis, to help combat global corneal blindness
- Received FDA approval for novel method of cultivating corneal stem cells for ocular surface reconstruction
2020 Vision: Promising Areas For Future Research
Investigators are working to develop novel biomaterials for corneal replacement, regeneration, and management of corneal injuries.