HMS Ophthalmology Center of ExcellenceCenter of Excellence

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.

Cornea Center of Excellence
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. 

View upcoming Cornea events...

Featured News

Boston KPro Newsletter

July 2, 2019

Boston KPro NewsletterThe latest issue of Boston KPro News is available. The new issue features:

  • FDA Approval Obtained for the Boston Keratoprosthesis Type I Lucia Design
  • Integrating a Pressure Sensor in the Boston KPro 
  • Boston KPro Usage Chart 
  • Finding an Optimal Substitute for Human Donor Corneas 
  • King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital Keratoprosthesis Center of Excellence
  • Pilot Program in Sudan 
  • Profiles of Distinguished Boston KPro Surgeons... Read more about Boston KPro Newsletter

Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH, and Team of Researchers Develop a Biomaterial for Corneal Repair and Regeneration

March 21, 2019

A clinical research team led by Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH, the Claes H. Dohlman Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, have developed a biomaterial for corneal repair and regeneration that could circumvent the need for corneal transplant surgeries. The new technology, named GelCORE (gel for corneal regeneration), is an adhesive gel packed with light-activated chemicals that can seal cuts or ulcers on the cornea and then encourage the regeneration of corneal tissue.

... Read more about Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH, and Team of Researchers Develop a Biomaterial for Corneal Repair and Regeneration