Joan W. Miller, M.D.

Chief and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology



Macular Degeneration

Board Certification

  • Ophthalmology

Main Campus
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-573-3915
Fax: 617-573-3698



Dr. Joan Miller is an internationally recognized expert on retinal disorders. As a vitreoretinal physician in Mass. Eye and Ear's Retina Service, she treats patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal degenerations, and diabetic retinopathy.

Dr. Miller received her medical degree and ophthalmology residency training from Harvard Medical School. She then completed fellowships in ophthalmology research and vitreoretinal surgery at Mass. Eye and Ear. Dr. Miller is the first female physician to achieve the rank of Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and the first woman to chair the Department of Ophthalmology. She is also the first woman appointed as Chief of Ophthalmology at both Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to her these roles and responsibilities, she also co-directs Mass. Eye and Ear's Angiogenesis Laboratory.

Dr. Miller, along with Dr. Evangelos Gragoudas, are credited with developing photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (Visudyne®). This therapy was the first AMD treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drug regulatory agencies worldwide. In addition, Dr. Miller is recognized for co-discovering the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in eye disease and demonstrating the therapeutic potential of VEGF inhibitors. This work formed the scientific basis of anti-angiogenic ophthalmic therapies, which are widely used to prevent vision loss in AMD and other retinal diseases by blocking abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. Dr. Miller continues to conduct research to improve therapeutic options for retinal disease.

Dr. Miller has received numerous prestigious awards. For her contributions to the development of anti-angiogenic retinal therapies, she was a co-recipient of the 2014 Antonio Champalimaud Vision Award, which is the highest distinction in ophthalmology and visual science. She also was the first woman to receive the Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology.

Clinical Interests

Diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous; age-related macular degeneration; diabetic retinopathy; photodynamic therapy

Research Interests

Neuroprotection and ocular neovascularization, particularly as it relates to macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy; genetics of AMD; strategies for early intervention in AMD


For a complete list of publications, please see her CV.

Vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor is temporally and spatially correlated with ocular angiogenesis in a primate model. Miller JW, Adamis AP, Shima DT, D'Amore PA, Moulton RS, O'Reilly MS, Folkman J, Dvorak HF, Brown LF, Berse B. Am J Pathol. 1994 Sep;145(3):574-84.

Photodynamic therapy of experimental choroidal neovascularization using lipoprotein-delivered benzoporphyrin. Miller JW, Walsh AW, Kramer M, Hasan T, Michaud N, Flotte TJ, Haimovici R, Gragoudas ES. Arch Ophthalmol. 1995 Jun;113(6):810-8.

Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin for choroidal neovascularization caused by age-related macular degeneration: results of a single treatment in a phase 1 and 2 study. Miller JW, Schmidt-Erfurth U, Sickenberg M, Pournaras CJ, Laqua H, Barbazetto I, Zografos L, Piguet B, Donati G, Lane AM, Birngruber R, van den Berg H, Strong A, Manjuris U, Gray T, Fsadni M, Bressler NM, Gragoudas ES. Arch Ophthalmol. 1999 Sep;117(9):1161-73. Erratum in: Arch Ophthalmol 2000 Apr;118(4):488.

Prevention of experimental choroidal neovascularization with intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody fragment. Krzystolik MG, Afshari MA, Adamis AP, Gaudreault J, Gragoudas ES, Michaud NA, Li W, Connolly E, O'Neill CA, Miller JW. Arch Ophthalmol. 2002 Mar;120(3):338-46.

Receptor interacting protein kinase mediates necrotic cone but not rod cell death in a mouse model of inherited degeneration. Murakami Y, Matsumoto H, Roh M, Suzuki J, Hisatomi T, Ikeda Y, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14598-603.

View a complete list of publications on>>



  • Harvard Medical School, M.D.
  • Life Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SB


  • Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School


  • Retina, Mass. Eye and Ear