Douglas J. Rhee, MD
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
|Office Hours:||Mon. 8 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Thu. and Fri. 12:45 p.m. - 4 p.m.|
Mass. Eye and Ear, Stoneham
One Montvale Avenue
Stoneham, MA 02180
|Medical School||University of Michigan, Ann Arbor|
|Residency||Thomas Jefferson University, Wills Eye Hospital (Ophthalmology)|
|Fellowship||University of Miami, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Glaucoma)|
|Fellowship||National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (Molecular Biology)|
|Teaching Affiliation||Associate Professor in Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School|
Dr. Rhee was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating valedictorian of his high school, he entered the combined pre-medical / medical program at the University of Michigan Medical School. After graduating in the top 10% of his class (Alpha Omega Alpha), he then finished an internship at the University of Michigan affiliated Oakwood Hospital (Dearborn, MI). Dr. Rhee completed his ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital where he also served as co-chief resident. He was awarded a competitive Heed Fellow award and completed a clinical glaucoma fellowship at the top ranked Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Miami, FL) and a post-doctoral laboratory fellowship at the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD) investigating the molecular biology of intraocular pressure regulation.
Dr. Rhee was an attending physician on the glaucoma service of Wills Eye Hospital for four years and clinical consultant of the National Eye Institute for five years prior to coming to Mass. Eye and Ear. Today, he is a glaucoma specialist, molecular biologist, and board-certified ophthalmologist.
Dr. Rhee was awarded Mass. Eye and Ear's Norman Knight Leadership Development Award in 2006. Between 2007 and 2012, he served in a succession of leadership roles in the Ophthalmology Department: Medical Director of Mass. Eye and Ear, Stoneham and Mass. Eye and Ear, East Bridgewater; Medical Director of strategic network development; and Associate Chief of Operations and Practice Development. In 2009, Dr. Rhee began serving as Vice President of the Massachusetts Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. In 2012, he was named President of the Korean American Ophthalmologic Society.
Dr. Rhee is an accomplished writer and educator. He co-authored the Wills Eye Drug Guide (first edition 1998, second edition 2001) and was the lead editor of the third edition of the Wills Eye Manual (2001). He authored and edited the Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Ophthalmology: Glaucoma (first edition 2003, second edition 2012) and the Ophthalmic Drug Guide (first edition 2007, second edition 2011). He has served as a co-editor of the Shields’ Textbook of Glaucoma (6th edition, 2010). He has published approximately 60 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and co-authored over 40 book chapters. Dr. Rhee first served as a consultant for the Physician’s Desk Reference for Ophthalmology from 1997 for five years and then became its lead medical editor in 2002. He reviews for several ophthalmic journals, and in 2006, Dr. Rhee began serving as a contributing editor for the trade publication Ocular Surgery News.
Dr. Rhee is a leading educator of ophthalmologists. He serves on various scientific or curriculum committees for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, National Institutes of Health, American Glaucoma Society, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, New England Ophthalmologic Society, and the American Board of Ophthalmology (the certifying organization for ophthalmologists). In 2007, his contributions to the American Academy of Ophthalmology were recognized by an Achievement Award. Dr. Rhee has organized and developed the curricula for numerous regional and national meetings for the continuing education of his colleague ophthalmologists. Dr. Rhee participates in the teaching of glaucoma to medical students, residents, and fellows. He lectures locally, nationally, and internationally.
Dr. Rhee cares for both adult and childhood glaucomas in our Charles Street/Boston, Montvale Avenue/Stoneham, and North Bedford Street/East Bridgewater offices. He specializes in complex and high-risk cases with an interest in rare clinical syndromes as well as the more common forms of glaucomas.
Some of Dr. Rhee’s clinical research interests include the outcomes of both traditional and novel/advanced surgical procedures. Combining his research and personal experience with these procedures, Dr. Rhee strives to optimally customize the treatment for an individual patient. Dr. Rhee has been included in the Best Doctors (Boston, MA) since 2007 and has was been honored by Boston magazine as one of its “Best Doctors.”
Dr. Rhee introduced the new surgical procedure, ab interno trabeculotomy (i.e. trabectome) to New England in 2006. The trabectome is a less invasive approach to filtration surgery. Dr. Rhee has the longest experience with this procedure on the East Coast. He has taught the procedure to numerous other glaucoma surgeons so that patients throughout the United States have easier access to this technology. Dr. Rhee is one of the few surgeons in New England who also offer canaloplasty and deep sclerectomy. Canaloplasty is a technique that relies upon creating a drainage pool of fluid within the sclera – essentially an “internal” bleb. Canaloplasty offers the potential of enhanced long-term safety above traditional glaucoma surgeries. Deep sclerectomy is similar to canaloplasty and is commonly performed in Europe. For some patients, endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP) may be appropriate. With the resources of the glaucoma service of Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Rhee is able to offer the widest array of surgical procedures and devices (e.g. Baerveldt, Ahmed, Molteno, and ExPress drainage implants) in New England.
Dr. Rhee is also involved in the development of emerging surgical devices. Select patients who have failed traditional surgical procedures may be eligible to participate in FDA approved clinical trials. These patients would only be included after a voluntary screening and a full informed consent process. Interested patients should inquire with Dr. Rhee about their possible eligibility.
At Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Rhee continues to receive regional, national, and international referrals. He spends the majority of clinical time at Mass. Eye and Ear’s campus in Boston, but also sees patients at Mass. Eye and Ear’s suburban centers in Stoneham, East Bridgewater, and the Harvard affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital .
In addition to his main interest of caring for patients, Dr. Rhee’s scientific research is aimed at determining the cellular and molecular causes of glaucoma while developing directed gene therapy as a viable treatment. He leads a molecular biology laboratory that uses a variety of approaches to understand and modify aqueous humor drainage. Using prostaglandin analogues and lasers as model systems, Dr. Rhee’s laboratory has further demonstrated the importance of the relationship of matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors as effector enzymes for the control of eye pressure. As these studies continue, his laboratory also investigates the role of matricellular proteins. His group works to further demonstrate the structural, functional, and mechanistic regulatory pathways of these proteins in normal and abnormal aqueous outflow. His group has recently shown that the prototypical matricellular protein, SPARC, plays an important role in the eye pressure of mice.
His clinical research interests include outcomes of novel and traditional surgical procedures, the psychological impact of glaucoma, and furthering the knowledge base of rare clinical forms of glaucoma including medication-induced (sulfonamide, corticosteroid, etc.), plateau iris syndrome, and idiopathic elevated episcleral venous pressure associated glaucoma. Dr. Rhee also participates in the other ongoing projects of the department.
Dr. Rhee has received the competitive American Glaucoma Society’s Clinician-Scientist award in 2004 and 2005 (the maximum number allowed by the society). In 2008, the American Glaucoma Society honored Dr. Rhee again with the Mid-Career Physician-Scientist Award. In 2008, Dr. Rhee was awarded the competitive RPB Physician-Scientist Award from the Research to Prevent Blindness organization. These awards were given to support his research into eye pressure regulation. His research has been funded by various public and private sources including the National Eye Institute and Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund.
Trainees in Dr. Rhee’s laboratory have won the James Shipman Award in 2003 and the prestigious Fight for Sight Student Fellowships in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Trainees have also received support from the rigorously competitive Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2010 and 2011.
Filippopoulos T, Rhee DJ. Novel surgical procedures in glaucoma: Advances in penetrating glaucoma surgery. Curr Opinion Ophthalmol. 2008; 19: 149-154.
Page updated: January 22, 2013