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Merbs, Shannath

Shannath Merbs

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Oncology
Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

The Wilmer Eye Institute
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Merbs is a fellowship-trained surgeon in the Division of Oculoplastic Surgery. She has been on the faculty since 1997, and has been an associate professor of both Ophthalmology and Oncology since 2005. Dr. Merbs treats diseases of the tissues surrounding the eyes, including the eyelids and eye socket. This includes diseases such as drooping eyelids, congenital defects, benign and cancerous growths, tear duct problems, and the ocular effects of thyroid disease, as well as traumatic injuries to the eyelids, tear drainage system and bones of the eye socket.

Members of the Division of Oculoplastic Surgery are actively engaged in research to improve the quality of life of patients requiring removal of an eye. When a severely injured or disfigured eye must be removed, Dr. Merbs implants a temporary catheter into the back of the orbit, which allows a family member to deliver pain medication directly to the operative site. With this catheter developed at Wilmer, patients are able to leave the hospital the day of surgery and recover in a supportive and familiar environment free from pain, without the side effects of pain pills.

Dr. Merbs and others in the division are improving the treatment of orbital fractures, thyroid eye disease and orbital tumors by using pre-operative planning and intraoperative navigation. Dr. Merbs also performs research in Africa, working to improve the outcome of eyelid surgery for trachoma, the most common infectious cause of blindness worldwide.

Dr. Merbs sees patients at  Wilmer's Johns Hopkins Hospital and Green Spring Station locations. View reconstructive surgery options offered by the Oculofacial Plastic Surgery team.

To schedule a private consultation, please call: 410-955-1112


  • University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, B.S., Chemistry, 1982-1986
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, M.D., Ph.D., Molecular Biology, 1986 - 1993
  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Towson, Maryland, Internal Medicine Internship, 1993 - 1994
  • Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, Ophthalmology Residency, 1994 - 1997
  • Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, Oculoplastics Fellowship with Dr. Nicholas Iliff, 1997 - 1998

Awards and Certifications:

  • Graduation with Honors, University of Arizona, 1986
  • Nugent Award, Outstanding Senior, University of Arizona, 1986
  • Phi Beta Kappa Top Senior, University of Arizona, 1986
  • Medical Scientist Training Program, 1986 - 1993
  • Shanoff Award, Young Investigators Day, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1993
  • Ronald Michels Research Award, Wilmer Eye Institute, 1996
  • Heed Fellowship, Heed Ophthalmic Foundation, 1997
  • Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellowship for Physicians - Declined, 1997
  • Mentored Clinical Scientist Award (K08) - National Eye Institute, "Molecular Genetics of Primary Uveal Melanoma," 1997 - 2002
  • The Niuta and Roy Titus Faculty Development Award, Wilmer Eye Institute, 1998 - 2000
  • Research to Prevent Blindness, Faculty Development Award, 2000-2001
  • AO CMF Craniomaxillofacial Faculty Member, 2003
  • AFER/Pfizer Ophthalmics/Carl Camras Translational Research Award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2010
  • Leadership Development Program XVI, Class of 2014, American Academy of Ophthalmology 
  • American Board of Ophthalmology Certification, 1999


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