Meet a Specialist: Z. Katie Luo, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Luo

Fascinated by the complexity and beauty of the eye, Dr. Z. Katie Luo was first drawn to ophthalmology in medical school, in part, because of her interest in microsurgery. Today, she is a cornea specialist and comprehensive ophthalmologist at Mass. Eye and Ear, where she performs cataract surgeries and laser vision correction procedures as well as pterygium surgeries to remove noncancerous growths on the cornea. 

Dr. Luo was born in China and speaks fluent Mandarin. After completing her undergraduate studies in China, she earned her MD/PhD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and continued her training in ophthalmology and cornea and external diseases at Mass. Eye and Ear. 

A Dedicated and Skillful Physician 

Dr. Luo is passionate about educating her patients so they can feel empowered to make informed decisions about their eye care. She recalls one patient, in particular, who came to her with an infected eye and rapidly decreasing vision. 

“I explained the pros and cons of following a more aggressive treatment plan versus a more conservative one,” Dr. Luo says. “We wanted to get to the bottom of the problem, so we decided together to go with aggressive treatment. I supported him through the whole process with frequent follow-ups outside of my normal clinic hours.” 

This particular case required a long-term commitment from both Dr. Luo and the patient. Dr. Luo remembers, “We had a lot of ups and downs together before he was seeing 20/20 again. Things would get better, and then they would get worse. But the story had a happy ending. The patient had a lot of faith in me, and in return, I did everything possible to help restore his vision and eye health.” 

Dr. Luo is known for building rapport with her patients. In fact, some patients drive for hours to see her because of her exceptional dedication and in-depth skills. Dr. Luo finds it easy to connect with patients of different ages and backgrounds and always finds a way to put them at ease. She is particularly skilled at explaining complex medical concepts in simple terms. “It brings me great joy to help patients understand their medical conditions,” Dr. Luo says. 

Helping and Mentoring Others 

Dr. Luo directs Project Gafas, a global outreach program that distributes donated glasses to underserved areas. To date, the program has helped thousands of people around the world. 

A generous teacher, Dr. Luo shares her passion for ophthalmology as a mentor to students, residents, and fellows. Her enthusiasm and practicality in training has inspired many medical students to choose the field of ophthalmology. 

Improving Vision and Patient Care 

Dr. Luo performs clinical research to help improve patient care. She is especially interested in figuring out when and how a slow-growing cataract starts to affect functional vision. She is also devoted to improving treatment options and quality of life in patients who develop graft-versus-host disease after stem cell transplants. This condition can cause a variety of serious eye problems that can lead to pain and poor vision. To date, she has helped many of these patients regain comfort and vision and, as a result, formed special bonds with them. 

Dr. Luo works full-time at Mass. Eye and Ear’s ambulatory care center, located at 800 Huntington Avenue in the Longwood/Mission Hill area, where she sees patients and performs most surgeries. She also performs laser vision surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham

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