Meet a Specialist: Deeba Husain, M.D.

Husain Deeba web

Dr. Husain was in high school when she fell in love with ophthalmology. After spending many summers volunteering at eye clinics in India, she realized how important vision is to quality of life. And she wanted to help make a difference in people’s lives.

“The most exciting part of the experience was watching the cataract surgeries. It was amazing that someone who had been blind the day before could suddenly see again after surgery. That’s when I knew I could really help people by becoming an ophthalmologist,” she says.

Medical Training and Early Career

Dr. Husain earned both her medical degree and master’s degree in surgery from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of Aligarh University in India. Soon after, she joined Mass. Eye and Ear as a research fellow. During that time, she studied photodynamic therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—a leading cause of blindness worldwide—with Drs. Evangelos Gragoudas and Joan W. Miller. Their pioneering research laid the groundwork for the first effective therapy for the advanced “wet” form of AMD.

Dr. Husain then completed her residency training at Harvard Ophthalmology, followed by a vitreoretinal fellowship at Mass. Eye and Ear. Afterward, she joined the Boston University School of Medicine faculty, serving as Director of the Retina Service and the Retina fellowship training program for almost a decade.

Specialist in Complex Retinal Conditions

Today, Dr. Husain is a vitreoretinal specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear, where she cares for patients who have a wide range of disorders that can cause vision loss, such as:

In addition to seeing patients at Mass. Eye and Ear’s main Charles Street campus she serves as Site Director for Mass. Eye and Ear’s Stoneham-Retina Consultants practice. “At Retina Consultants, we partner with neighboring hospitals and referring physicians to provide convenient access to the best retina care,” she says.

Advancing Patient Care for AMD

Dr. Husain is once again working with Drs. Miller, Gragoudas, and Demetrios Vavvas to study therapeutic approaches to AMD. She is especially interested in understanding what causes the disease to develop and progress from dry to wet.

“Although wet AMD is less common—accounting for about 10-15 percent of AMD cases—it can cause sudden vision loss, if not caught early,” she explains. “If it is diagnosed early, we can give patients medications to stop the abnormal blood vessel growth seen in wet AMD. But we need to figure out what causes the disease, so we can intervene sooner for patients with dry AMD.

Already, Dr. Husain and colleagues have discovered that patients with any stage of AMD may carry early signs of the disease in their blood. These “blood biomarkers” may eventually lead to earlier diagnoses and better prognoses for patients with AMD.

Dr. Husain’s clinical experience with patients drives her passion for research, and she believes crucial breakthroughs are imminent. “This is an especially exciting time for the retina field. We are seeing many new important discoveries—so the patient you diagnose today might be able to benefit from a more effective treatment in the near future.”

Generous Mentor to Future Vision Leaders

In addition to caring for patients and conducting research, Dr. Husain is also a Harvard Ophthalmology faculty member. She mentors ophthalmology residents and retinal fellows in the clinic and operating room. She also collaborates with ophthalmology faculty at medical schools in India, where she often speaks as a guest lecturer on retinal disease.

Contact Dr. Husain’s office at 617-573-4371 (main Charles Street campus) or 781-662-5520 (Retina Consultants, Stoneham).

View Dr. Husain’s online bio

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