Meet a Specialist: Milica Margeta, MD, PhD

margetamilicaFor Milica Margeta, MD, PhD, a career in ophthalmology offered the ideal mix of patient care and research. “Advances in eye care are happening all the time and made possible through innovative research,” said Dr. Margeta, who has a PhD in neuroscience. “It’s exciting to be able to care for patients, while also studying ways to improve their treatment options.

Glaucoma Specialist

At Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Margeta specializes in glaucoma—a lifelong and potentially blinding group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. Many patients with glaucoma have elevated pressure inside the eye, which is major risk factor for optic nerve damage. Although there is currently no cure for glaucoma, early detection and treatment with eye drops and/or surgery can often slow or stop the progression of vision loss.

“Because living with glaucoma often involves multiple visits to a doctor’s office each year, I develop long-term relationships with my patients,” said Dr. Margeta. In fact, she remembers forming a close bond with one particular patient who had closed-angle glaucoma. To prevent permanent vision loss, Dr. Margeta treated her with eye drops and performed two different surgeries—laser peripheral iridotomy and glaucoma valve surgery. “The treatment was a huge success. The patient ended up with 20/20 vision and unimpaired peripheral vision. She was very grateful that we were able to save her sight,” said Dr. Margeta.

The Immune System and Glaucoma

In addition to treating patients, Dr. Margeta is a K12 Scholar in the Harvard Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program. As a scholar, she is actively engaged in research and committed to finding better treatments for glaucoma. She is particularly interested in understanding what happens in the optic nerve of patients with glaucoma.

“When most people think about glaucoma, they think about the importance of lowering the eye pressure. But that’s not true for everyone. For some people, the disease continues to worsen, even if their eye pressure is controlled,” explained Dr. Margeta.

To learn more about the potential causes of glaucoma, she is studying how immune system cells may affect the optic nerve in patients with glaucoma. Understanding how these cells function in glaucoma may ultimately lead to new therapies that repair damaged tissue and/or prevent vision loss.

Teaching Trainees

As an Instructor in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Margeta shares her expertise with medical students. In the clinic, she also mentors ophthalmology residents and glaucoma fellows who are training to become specialists.

View Dr. Margeta's online bio

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