Joseph F. Rizzo III, M.D.

Harvard Medical School

David Glendenning Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology in the field of Neuro-Ophthalmolgy, Department of Ophthalmology
Director of Alumni, Department of Ophthalmology
Co-director, Mobility Enhancement and Vision Rehabilitation Center of Excellence

Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Director, Neuro-Ophthalmology Service
Director, Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship 
Senior Scientist


Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliation

Research Summary

Dr. Rizzo dedicates his research to studying the mechanisms of vision loss, improving diagnostic methods, and developing new treatments for blinding diseases. In the late 1980s, he founded the Boston Retinal Implant Project to develop a retinal prosthesis and offer a new therapeutic option for patients who have acquired blindness. His clinical research focuses primarily on the study of optic neuritis/multiple sclerosis, ischemic optic neuropathy, pseudotumor cerebri, and giant cell arteritis.


1974: B.S., Biology and Chemistry, Louisiana State University

1978: M.D., Louisiana State University

Postgraduate Training

1979: Internship, Adult Medicine, University of Southern California/Los Angeles County Hospital

1982: Residency, Neurology, Tufts/New England Medical Center

1985: Residency, Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine

1986: Clinical Fellowship, Neuro-ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear

Academic Appointments

2011-present: David G. Cogan Professor of Ophthalmology in the Field of Neuro-ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

2010-present: Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

1998-2010: Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

1990-present:Research Affiliate, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1989-1998: Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

1986-1990: Clinical Research Affiliate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1986-1988: Instructor in Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School


Selected Publications

For a full publication list, please see his CV.

Activation of retinal ganglion cells in wild-type and rd1 mice through electrical stimulation of the retinal neural network. Jensen RJ, Rizzo JF 3rdVision Res. 2008 Jun; 48(14): 1562-8.

Electric stimulation with sinusoids and white noise for neural prostheses. Freeman DK, Rizzo JF, Fried SI. Front Neurosci. 2010 Feb 12; 4: 28.

Use of optical coherence tomography to evaluate papilledema and pseudopapilledema. Heidary G, Rizzo JF 3rdSemin Ophthalmol. 2010 Sep-Nov; 25 (5-6): 198-205.

Effects of GABA receptor antagonists on thresholds of P23H rat retinal ganglion cells to electrical stimulation of the retina. Jensen RJ, Rizzo JF 3rdJ Neural Eng. 2011 Jun; 8(3): 035002.

A hermetic wireless subretinal neurostimulator for vision prostheses. Kelly SK, Shire DB, Chen J, Doyle P, Gingerich MD, Cogan SF, Drohan WA, Behan S, Theogarajan L, Wyatt JL, Rizzo JF 3rdIEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2011 Nov; 58(11): 3197-205.

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