The Father of Modern Corneal Science

Claes Dohlman, MD, PhDClaes H. Dohlman, MD, PhD

Born in 1922 in Sweden, Claes Henrik Dohlman, MD, PhD stands as one of the most highly honored ophthalmologists in the world. Recognized as the founder of modern corneal science, he has produced work that is now considered “classic” literature on understanding corneal biology. His investigations of corneal physiology laid the groundwork for modern clinical practice in dry eye disease, management of corneal burns, wound healing, corneal transplantation, and keratoprosthesis.

Dr. Dohlman’s six decade career reflects many firsts: first in the world to create an organized cornea subspecialty (Mass. Eye and Ear), first to create a formal structured cornea fellowship program (Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens), first to recruit full-time cornea fellows to Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, and first to pioneer surgical innovations in keratoplasty and keratoprosthesis. His most notable achievement is the Boston KPro, from which he receives no personal profits.

During his career, Dr. Dohlman has trained first-hand over 200 cornea specialists—more than any other ophthalmologist in the world. His “real” contributions to ophthalmic education are incalculable considering the hundreds of second- and third-generation cornea specialists who have trained under his protégés.

Among his honors are an AAO Laureate Award, the Gullstrand Gold Medal (awarded once every decade), and a named Harvard Professorship. Despite a lifetime of accomplishments, Dr. Dohlman continues to channel his energy into further developing KPro, shaping and setting new standards for the field, and inspiring the ophthalmology and vision research communities.