Meet a Specialist: Ann-Marie Lobo, MD
A member of the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Ann-Marie Lobo specializes in the treatment of patients with inflammatory eye disease, or uveitis. Left untreated, uveitis may lead to complications such as cataract, macular edema and glaucoma, which eventually result in vision loss. Inflammatory eye disease can often be safely controlled if it is treated early and aggressively, particularly with some of the newer medications available.
The moments during a patient’s first eye exam fascinate Dr. Lobo. “This first encounter with the patient reveals so much,” she says. “It always inspires me because it is the critical first step in the development of a diagnosis and, ultimately, a treatment plan.”
In 2006, Dr. Lobo was accepted into the Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology Residency Training Program. It was precisely the training she had hoped for, she explains. “I wanted to train at a world renowned academic medical school that offered incomparable clinical and research opportunities,” she says. “Mass. Eye and Ear was that place.”
Following residency training, Dr. Lobo honed her skills further by completing a fellowship in uveitis under the mentorship of Dr. George Papaliodis, who directs the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. There, Dr. Lobo cross-trained in the department’s retina, cornea, and uveitis services. This multidisciplinary training makes her especially effective in managing inflammatory eye disease in her patients whose treatments often overlap internal medicine and ophthalmology. Today, as a member of the Uveitis Service, Dr. Lobo applies her highly tuned set of skills and knowledge to ensure that every patient receives the best care – and the best outcome – possible.
It was the prospect of forming lasting relationships with patients that led Dr. Lobo to consider specializing in ophthalmology. “We’re very visual creatures so most people tend to take care of their eyesight. They keep coming back, even for standard, routine care,” she notes. Dr. Lobo began to witness that special bond with patients while she was still in training. “These will be your patients for life,” Dr. Papaliodis once predicted, as she assisted him in the clinic. Today some of the patients she helped him treat still stop by to give her a hug.
The last two decades have brought progress in the treatment of inflammatory eye disease, but challenges remain. “We still don’t have all the answers,” she says. “That can be frustrating for the patients, and for me, as well. When they face possible loss of eyesight, many patients, understandably, become quite fearful. Every patient’s situation is unique and my role is to educate each individual about their disease and available treatment options so that, moving forward, we can make the most informed decisions about their care.”
As a researcher, Dr. Lobo is determined to help develop better, more effective treatment options for her patients. She and her colleagues in the Uveitis Service are enrolling patients in several clinical trials investigating new medications and treatments developed specifically for uveitis. “It’s an exciting time for the field of uveitis,” she says, “because there is now increased interest in finding new uveitis treatments that will offer patients therapeutic options with fewer side effects, good efficacy and good safety. It’s wonderful when I have a patient who’s interested in participating in one of our studies because that patient’s involvement helps us learn more about the disease so we can advance treatment for the entire uveitis community.”
In addition to her practice at Mass. Eye and Ear’s main Charles Street campus, Dr. Lobo sees patients for uveitis care at the hospital’s Longwood eye care practice on Huntington Ave., and at the Stoneham office on Montvale Ave. Dr. Lobo also provides comprehensive ophthalmology services at the Longwood and Stoneham locations.
Contact Dr. Lobo’s office at 617-573-3202.
View Dr. Lobo’s online bio for more information.