Mass. Eye and Ear opens multidisciplinary center for thyroid eye disease and orbital surgery

December 14, 2016
Mass. Eye and Ear opens multidisciplinary center for thyroid eye disease and orbital surgery

Boston, Mass. — Massachusetts Eye and Ear recently opened the Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery, a multidisciplinary initiative to address complex conditions affecting the eye sockets, including orbital tumors and thyroid eye disease. Led by world-renowned experts with specialized training in ophthalmic plastic surgery, endoscopic orbital surgery, strabismus, thyroid gland disorders, neurosurgery and head and neck oncology, the Center will not only provide high quality care to patients with these conditions in one location, but will also support and promote an environment for pioneering novel treatments to improve upon current treatment strategies. The Center is based at the main campus of Mass. Eye and Ear at 243 Charles Street.

“Thyroid eye disease and tumors of the eye socket (orbit) are complicated, and potentially sight threatening, clinical conditions,” said Suzanne Freitag, MD, Director of the Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery Service and Co-director of the Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “The Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the United States that offers convenient, closely coordinated, subspecialty care and treatments that patients can readily access from a single location.”

Thyroid eye disease is an inflammatory condition involving both the thyroid gland and the eye sockets. Patients often experience severe inflammation of the eye sockets and surrounding tissues that can cause a multitude of problems including disabling double vision or permanent vision loss. Advanced medical and surgical therapies may be necessary to manage this disease and preserve visual function. 

Orbital tumors can affect the bones of the eye socket, the eyeball, the eye socket muscles, the optic nerve and the surrounding fat and can cause a number of symptoms, including double vision or bulging eye. Surgeons at Mass. Eye and Ear are pioneering minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove these tumors and speed up recovery time. They are also well equipped to provide care to patients with vascular and lymphatic orbital malformations, a rare subset of orbital tumors that require highly specialized care.

“Our team of multidisciplinary experts is conducting evidence-based research and pioneering minimally invasive, surgical techniques that are rapidly changing how we deliver care to our patients,” said Benjamin Bleier, MD, an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at HMS and a nationally renowned endoscopic sinus and skull base surgeon. “These innovations are resulting in less pain, a faster recovery time, and overall better quality of care for our patients.” 

Dr. Bleier co-directs the Center with Dr. Freitag and Dean Cestari, MD. Dr. Cestari is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS, and one of a handful of clinicians in the country who is board certified in both neurology and ophthalmology.

“We are very fortunate to have physicians who are constantly pushing the envelope in the way we approach complex patient care through research and collaboration,” said John Fernandez, President and CEO of Mass. Eye and Ear. “The Center for Thyroid Eye Disease and Orbital Surgery represents a marriage of ophthalmology and otolaryngology care that will ensure that we’re delivering the highest quality of care for Mass. Eye and Ear patients."

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Media Contact:
Suzanne Day
Media Relations, Mass. Eye and Ear

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. Now united with Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is the world's largest vision and hearing research center, developing new treatments and cures through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships.  Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. In the 2016–2017 “Best Hospitals Survey,” U.S. News & World Report ranked Mass. Eye and Ear #1 in the nation for ear, nose and throat care and #1 in the Northeast for eye care. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit