Meet a Specialist: Emma Davies, MD

EmmaDavies lab coat headshotEmma Davies, MD, has been fascinated by the workings of the eye since a young age. As an undergraduate, she investigated squid and crustacean visual systems, which fueled her interest in the eye.

Later, as a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Davies gained more exposure to ophthalmology. “I was studying multiple sclerosis—a neurological condition that affects parts of the brain that are devoted to vision—and I realized that the eye is a sensitive marker for many diseases. The eye acts as a portal to provide clues into what may be going on in the body as a whole,” Dr. Davies explained. “That’s when I knew ophthalmology was the right medical field for me.”


Cornea Specialist

Today, Dr. Davies is a member of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. She cares for patients with a wide range of conditions that affect the cornea—the clear, outer layer of the eye that plays an important role in focusing vision. Most commonly, she sees patients with cataracts, corneal scarring (from conditions like infection, trauma, or keratoconus), and corneal swelling from a degenerative disease called Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy. She also frequently performs surgery to correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism.

“What I like most about the cornea is that I can make a profound and lasting difference in someone’s life. With so many treatments available today, I can improve a person’s vision and correspondingly increase their quality of life,” Dr. Davies said.

For instance, she remembers one of her first cataract patients, who had severely impaired vision to the point where he could barely see a hand in front of his face. After having surgery to remove the clouded lens, the patient experienced a dramatic improvement in his sight. “I remember taking the eye patch off the first day after surgery, and the patient immediately burst into tears because he could finally see. I will never forget how gratifying it felt to see the patient’s raw emotion and excitement over what we had accomplished in just one day,” said Dr. Davies.

Research Aims to Improve Patient Care

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Davies also performs clinical research. She hopes her work will help improve cornea surgical techniques and outcomes for patients. In particular, she has published several studies on complex cataract surgery, descemetorhexis without endothelial keratoplasty (DWEK) for patients with Fuchs' disease, and the management of complicated corneal infections.

From Trainee to Teacher

Dr. Davies—an alumna of Harvard Ophthalmology/Mass. Eye and Ear—is now a mentor to ophthalmology residents and clinical fellows. As a faculty member, she especially enjoys helping trainees refine their surgical technique. “I love being able to pass on my knowledge and continue to advance our clinical and surgical skills together,” she said.

View Dr. Davies’ online profile

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