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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 services delivered by an expert 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.

Both Dr. Hessen and Dr. Anisa Gire 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 410-955-5080

Typical Conditions Treated:

Contact Information:

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

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

Anisa Gire, O.D. (Bethesda and Johns Hopkins Bayview)
Lee W. Guo, O.D., F.A.A.O. (Bel Air)
Michelle Hessen, O.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Sezen Karakus, M.D. (Johns Hopkins Hospital, Columbia)
Tiffany S. Liu, M.D. (Bel Air)

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. (Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview)

Dry Eye Studies:

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

Currently Enrolling

A Phase 2, Multicenter, Vehicle- and Sham-Controlled, Randomized Study of RESTASIS® X in Patients With Moderate to Severe Dry Eye Disease

Stage 1: To evaluate the safety and pharmokenetics of Restasis X administered as subconjunctival injection in patients with moderate to severe dry eye disease. Exploratory pharmacodynamics will also be evaluated.
Stage 2: To evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of Restasis X administered as a subconjunctival injection in patients with moderate to severe dry eye disease with one or more concomitant systemic immune mediated diseases. Exploratory pharmacodynamics will also be evaluated.

Stage 1: 9 visits over 26 weeks
Stage 2: 7 visits over 14 weeks or 13 visits over 26 weeks

Testing Involved:
Ophthalmology exam, questionnaires, vital signs, tear sampling, blood and urine samples, treatment administration, imaging

Stage 1:
• Age 18 or greater
• Women of childbearing potential must not be pregnant, nursing or planning a pregnancy; reliable birth control must  be used during the study
• No contact lens use within 1 month of screening or during the study
• No ocular surgery within the past 3 months
• No use of Restasis or topical cyclosporine within 12 months of screening visit
• No use of any other topical ophthalmic medication aside form artificial tears within 1 month of baseline
• Current use or anticipated use of punctual plugs or cauterization during the study
• No patients with glaucoma or high eye pressure
• No patients who are in any other research study
• Multiple other criteria will be reviewed for full study eligibility at the screening and baseline visits

Stage 2:
All of the above as well as documented history of one of the following immune-mediated diseases: 
Sjogrens, RA, Chronic OA, Lupus, Hashimotos, Scleroderma, Atopic dermatitis, Eczema, Ankylosing spondylitis

Will I be paid to join this study?

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.

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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