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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 seven-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)
Anisa Gire, O.D. (Bethesda and Bayview Medical Center)
Michelle Hessen, O.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

Functional Impairment of Reading Ability in Dry Eye Patients and Effects of Sustained 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 symptoms
Duration: There is only a one time study visit, lasting about four hours.
Testing Involved: Ophthalmology exam, ocular imaging, tear collection, reading speed testing
Requirements: Males or females age 50 or older with a previous diagnosis of dry eye syndrome or No previous diagnosis of dry eye syndrome to serve as a control

Will I be paid to join this study?
No, but you will receive a voucher for free parking on the day of the study.

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

PROOF: Progression of Ocular Findings of Dry Eye Disease

*Enrolling CONTROL patients only*

Objective: To determine the rate of progression of dry eye disease defined as an increase in disease severity
Duration: 5 years, with visits every 6 months
Testing involved: Ophthalmology exam, tear collection, Impression cytology
Requirements: Women, aged 64 or older with no history of any dry eye disease to serve as controls

Will I be paid to join this study?
No, but you will be given a parking voucher for the study visits.

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

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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