Ophthalmic Pathology

The Eye Pathology Service at Mass. Eye and Ear is dedicated to the histopathologic diagnosis of ocular conditions. In addition to serving as a regional and national diagnostic center, the service is an integral part of training physicians and researchers in eye pathology.

Telephone: 617-523-7900
Fax: 617-573-3168


The Eye Pathology Laboratory at Mass. Eye and Ear is one of the oldest in the United States. It was founded by Dr. Benjamin Joy Jeffries in 1868. The eye pathology laboratory was, at the beginning, just a cabinet that held the Mass. Eye and Ear's pathological specimens and drawings. Dr. Jeffries was later named the Microscopist and Curator of the Pathological Cabinet of the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary.

It was not until 1891 that the first authentic pathology laboratory of the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary came into being, complete with a microscope. Before long, it was in active operation and proving itself to be a valuable adjunct to ever more precise diagnoses. In order to advance the work of the department, a camera and other equipment for a photographic room were added.

The Eye Pathology Laboratory has undergone many generational changes. It has had a distinguished list of directors such as Drs. Frederick Verhoeff, David Cogan, Taylor Smith, Daniel Albert, Thaddeus Dryja, and currently Frederick Jakobiec. The laboratory was dedicated to David G. Cogan in 1982 and is now located on the 3rd floor of Mass. Eye and Ear (Suite 328).

David G. Cogan Laboratory of Ophthalmic Pathology

For optimal diagnosis and management of cases, the Cogan Laboratory interacts with other clinical ophthalmology services. It facilitates accessioning, preparation of specimens, obtaining special stains and immunohistochemistry. The close proximity of the eye pathology service to Massachusetts General Hospital encourages collaboration among specialists between the two institutions when evaluating challenging cases. Thus, the laboratory has access to a wide spectrum of ancillary supports, such as flow-cytometry, histochemical and immunoperoxidase staining, and EM facilities.

The Cogan Laboratory has an eight-head teaching microscope and digital photography capabilities. It also has an extensive slide collection and reference books that are important resources for the education of residents and fellows.

The lab is still being enhanced with the acquisition of a new 12-headed microscope and a plasma screen for viewing slides by large groups, which will be used for diagnostic and teaching purposes, conferencing, and future TeleMed sessions.

Frederick A. Jakobiec, MD, DSc
Director of David G. Cogan Laboratory of Ophthalmic Pathology

The Director, Dr. Frederick Jakobiec, has clinical and research interests focused on ocular oncology, notably the characterization of ocular and adnexal (conjunctiva, eyelids, and orbital soft tissue and bones) inflammations and tumors. Pre-malignant and malignant conjunctival melanocytic disorders (so-called primary acquired melanosis) have been intensively studied. Clinicopathologic series with immunologic investigations have been employed in the study of lympho-proliferations of the ocular adnexa. He has subjected idiopathic orbital inflammations (pseudotumors) and Wegener’s granulomatosis to more rigorous clinicopathologic diagnostic criteria.