Meet a Specialist: James Chodosh, MD, MPH
James Chodosh, MD, MPH, was in medical school when he discovered his passion for ophthalmology. “I was stunned by the beauty of the human eye. I thought I would never tire of examining eyes. And I never have,” he says.
Dr. Chodosh is Associate Director of the Cornea and Refractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. He cares for patients with a broad range of conditions that affect the cornea—the clear, outer layer of the eye that plays an important role in focusing vision.
Dr. Chodosh has expertise with the most severe, vision-threatening conditions, such as corneal infections, burns, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)—a rare, but serious condition that results in burn-like injuries on the body, including the eyes.
He also specializes in an artificial cornea transplant technique, known as the Boston keratoprosthesis, or KPro. “Keratoprosthesis offers hope to many patients with corneal blindness,” says Dr. Chodosh, who is Director of the Boston Keratoprosthesis Clinical Programs at Mass. Eye and Ear. It is most often performed after a standard cornea transplant has failed or when such a transplant is unlikely to be successful.
Dr. Chodosh notes that he has had many “profound interactions” with his patients. In particular, he remembers one patient with severe facial and upper-body burns that left her blind in both eyes. Dr. Chodosh coordinated care with burn surgeons at Mass. General Hospital and implanted a Boston KPro in one eye. “Today, she can recognize faces, read, and type on her smart phone. It brings me great joy to have helped restore her vision,” he says.
Research Aims to Improve Patient Care
In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Chodosh is deeply passionate about research.
He is working with corneal specialist Hajirah Saeed, MD, to improve diagnostic tests and treatment prevention strategies for SJS. It is unclear what causes the condition, but it has been linked to certain medications and infections. Together, they aim to identify specific genes and biomarkers that may increase the risk of SJS. They are also developing new methods to triage patients with early symptoms, which will lead to prompt diagnosis and treatment. (Learn more about Mass Eye and Ear’s SJS research program)
Dr. Chodosh has also been studying adenoviruses since 1989 and is an international pioneer in molecular virology, viral genomics and viral pathogenesis. He is collaborating with Jaya Rajaiya, PhD, to study the immune system’s role in a type of corneal infection known as adenovirus keratitis. This research will provide insight into how the cornea responds to injury and help build the foundation for new therapies.
Dr. Chodosh is also interested in studying corneal ulcers. He is collaborating with Michael Gilmore, PhD, and Paulo Bispo, PhD—colleagues in Harvard Ophthalmology’s Infectious Disease Institute—to improve diagnostic tests and develop novel treatments for corneal ulcers.
Teaching the Next Generation of Ophthalmologists
As a Harvard Ophthalmology faculty member and Director of the Cornea Fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Chodosh enjoys mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows. “Teaching is not only about transferring knowledge and wisdom—it’s also about helping students question what is ‘known’ so that we can continue to advance our understanding of the eye and its disorders.”
View Dr. Chodosh’s online profile
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