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Ocular Surface Disease and Dry Eye Clinic

The Ocular Surface Disease and Dry Eye Clinic was established by Esen K. Akpek, M.D., professor of ophthalmology, in 2004. Under Dr. Akpek's direction, the clinic provides expert services delivered by a nine-member team, five days a week.

Dr. Akpek is renowned for her expertise in the surgical treatment of ocular surface diseases. She performs surgeries to reconstruct the ocular surface, including lamellar and penetrating keratoplasty, amniotic membrane and scleral grafting, and limbal stem cell transplantation. Dr. Akpek is among the few ophthalmologists in the world with extensive experience in keratoprosthetic (artificial cornea) surgery. Dr. Akpek’s unique training in ocular immunology as well as corneal surgery makes her qualified in all aspects of the ocular surface.

Ocular Surface Disease and Dry Eye Clinic Team
Seated (l-r): Samuel Yiu, Esen Akpek, Mahsa Salehi, Anisa Gire;
Standing (l-r): Michelle Hessen, Shanna Ingrodi, Karen Dunlap; Missing: Valerie Seligson

The Dry Eye Clinic is led by Michelle Hessen, O.D., instructor of ophthalmology.  Dr. Hessen is committed to the care and non-surgical treatment of many conditions affecting the ocular surface.  She examines and treats patients with dry eye associated with various conditions, including Sjögrens Syndrome, Graft versus Host disease, as well as a number of other autoimmune conditions. She also evaluates patients with blepharitis and allergic conjunctivitis.  She is accepting new patients for evaluation and longitudinal management of dry eye and other ocular surface diseases.  In addition, the Wilmer Eye Institute is one of the few institutions in the country that currently offer Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem (PROSE) treatment.

Dr. Hessen completed a nine week PROSE fellowship training at the Boston Foundation for Sight.  PROSE treatment is offered to those patients whose ocular surface disease/dry eye condition does not respond to all other available treatments. PROSE treatment is used to restore vision, support healing, reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in patients suffering from complex corneal disease. PROSE uses FDA-approved (1994) custom-designed and fabricated devices to replace or support impaired ocular surface system functions. 

Clinic Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday
For appointments, call 410-955-7927

Typical Conditions Treated:

Contact Information:

Primary care physicians, allergists, and general ophthalmologists should refer patients to:

Esen Akpek, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital and Bayview Medical Center)
Karen Dunlap, O.D. (Bayview Medical Center and White Marsh)
Allen Eghrari, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital and Bel Air)

Anisa Gire, O.D. (Bethesda and Bayview Medical Center)
Michelle Hessen, O.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Christina Prescott, M.D., Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital)

Mahsa Salehi, O.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Columbia and Green Spring Station)

Valerie Seligson, O.D. (Columbia and Green Spring Station)
Samuel Yiu, M.D., Ph.D. (Bel Air and Bayview Medical Center)

Dry Eye Studies:

If Interested in any dry eye studies: Please call Shanna Ingrodi, Study Coordinator at 410-955-5214, or email

Currently Enrolling

Validation of an Objective Measure of Dry Eye Severity in Saudi and U.S. Populations

Objective: To determine if a single valid dry eye severity variable can be estimated from a battery of clinical tests and patient self-reports.
Duration: There is only a one time study visit, lasting about 30 minutes.
Testing Involved: Questionnaires about dry eye symptoms and general health, tear osmolarity measures, tear productivity (Schirmer), imaging of tear break-up time, ocular surface staining and a finger prick test for Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Requirements: Males or females age 18 or older with a previous diagnosis of dry eye or to serve as a control, no previous diagnosis of dry eye.

Will I be paid to join this study?
No, but you will receive a voucher for free parking on the day of the study. If you take part in this study, you may help others in the future.

Impairment of Reading in Dry Eye and Effects of Reading on the Ocular Surface

Objective: To determine whether individuals with dry eye have impaired sustained silent reading function when compared to healthy individuals without dry eye
Duration: A one time research study visit, lasting about 2 hours
Testing Involved: Ophthalmology exam, ocular imaging, tear collection, reading speed testing
• Previous diagnosis of dry eye or no previous diagnosis of dry eye to serve as a control
• Age 50 or greater
• Vision at least 20/25 (with habitual correction)
• No mental issues, illiteracy, language problems which might possibly interfere with reading
• No contact lens wearing
• No ocular surgery within the past 3 months
• No use of cyclosporine, steroids, and glaucoma eye drops for last 30 days

Will I be paid to join this study?
No, but you will receive a voucher for free parking on the day of the study and $10 lunch card for use in our hospital cafeteria. If you take part in this study, you may help others in the future.

Linking the Inflammation of the Skin and the Eye in Rosacea

Objective: Rosacea (redness, flushing, and blood vessels on the face) is one of the most common skin disorders in North America. It can also involve your eyes.  Do you have burning, heavy, puffy eyelids, eye dryness, irritation, excessive tearing, redness, pain, eye fatigue and visual disturbances?  Your participation will help dermatologists and ophthalmologists to understand ocular rosacea. This may help to develop better rosacea medications.
Duration: 30 minutes (completed in 1 or 2 study visits) for photography and sample collection
Testing involved: Close-up photographs of affected eyes and facial skin
Sample of your tears, a few eyelashes, a superficial sample of your conjunctivae, and facial skin, all performed by ophthalmologists and dermatologists
Requirements: Males or females at least 18 years of age with either a previous diagnosis of rosacea or be free from skin disease to serve as a control

Will I be paid to join this study?
Yes. $80.

For more information, contact the Cutaneous Translational Research Program: 410-502-SKIN

  • You will be evaluated by the study staff for inclusion/exclusion/eligibility criteria.



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