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Five Questions for Elyse McGlumphy

Five Questions for Elyse McGlumphy

Elyse McGlumphy joined Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine as an assistant professor of ophthalmology in July 2020. McGlumphy specializes in the medical, laser and surgical care of patients with cataracts, open angle glaucoma and narrow angle glaucoma, as well as glaucoma associated with other eye disorders or trauma. She sees patients at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Frederick and Green Spring Station locations.

McGlumphy received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She completed residency training in ophthalmology at the University of Maryland, where she was chief resident, and a subspecialty fellowship in glaucoma at the Wilmer Eye Institute.

What attracted you to ophthalmology, and to glaucoma in particular?

During medical school, I really fell in love with surgery. I particularly enjoyed my ophthalmology rotations, because not only was I able to do surgery, but I could also see patients in clinic. The fine detail needed in ophthalmic surgery was also very appealing to me.

As a resident, I noticed that I developed the closest relationships with patients I was following for glaucoma. By having them come back frequently, I got to know them, and it made the patient-doctor relationship that much more rewarding.

What attracted you to Wilmer?

During my fellowship at Wilmer, I was impressed by the huge diversity in glaucoma faculty and the collegial and friendly environment. They’re on the cutting edge of so many studies, new technologies and the development of surgical devices. Having some of the greatest minds in one department is an amazing opportunity.

What are your research interests?

I’m very interested in understanding factors that influence intraocular pressure. For example, does the timing of patients’ drug administration play a role in the variation of their pressure? Are there behavioral modifications that make a difference in their pressure? I am also interested in understanding more about surgical decision making in glaucoma and finding areas in need of good randomized prospective trials. We want to do everything we can to improve surgical outcomes for our patients.

Are you currently conducting research?

A study came out of India that is very interesting and promising. It showed that meditation plays a role in lowering eye pressure, and we think that’s because meditation probably plays a role in the body’s stress response. At Wilmer, we’re going to repeat that study to see if we find something similar. If we do, that would be a nice tool that would allow patients to take part in the management of their glaucoma, because right now, all we have to offer them is drops or surgery.

I am collaborating with my colleague Tom Johnson on research to better understand intraocular pressure variation and the role for home monitoring of intraocular pressure. Some patients whose eye pressure is “low” in clinic have worsening glaucoma, and we believe that may be due to spikes in pressure at different times. If patients can measure their eye pressure at home, we can get a better idea of what’s happening, and whether more aggressive treatment would be appropriate.

I’m doing a project on long-term outcomes after Xen implantation, which is one of the newer glaucoma surgeries I perform. I’m also doing a project as previously mentioned, to look at medical decision-making in glaucoma surgery recommendations. We’re looking at how patients do following surgery, and at where we may need clinical trials to answer questions so we can improve patient outcomes.

Do you have a particular philosophy as it relates to your work?

My goal is to always involve patients as much as possible so they can be an active part of their care. I believe that educating patients on their condition and having them be active participants is important.

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