Ophthalmology Research

The department of ophthalmology at Beaumont Hospitals is one of the largest and busiest ophthalmology departments in the United States. Over 6,000 major eye surgeries are performed in Beaumont’s state-of-the-art ophthalmology specific operating rooms. Additionally, more than 2000 laser procedures are performed each year at the Beaumont Eye Institute. The Department of Ophthalmology has a 35-year history of participation in state-of-the-art research involving virtually all aspects of eye disease. Beaumont ophthalmologists have been national and international leaders in clinical trials evaluating new treatments for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, complicated retinal detachment, macular hole, retinopathy of prematurity, glaucoma, cataract and refractive surgery. Beaumont ophthalmologists have participated in clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, industry based studies and philanthropic foundations.

In addition to providing comprehensive ophthalmic services through the Beaumont Eye Institute and the Beaumont Eye Group, the department of ophthalmology has a full complement of fellowship-trained ocular sub specialists in the subspecialties of cornea, glaucoma, retinal, pediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology ophthalmic pathology and oculoplastic surgery. Beaumont ophthalmologists believe a strong research portfolio provides our patients with the opportunity to participate in state-of-the-art treatments for blinding disease.

Key research areas 

Current active research protocols include treatments for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, vitreomacular adhesions and neuro-ophthalmology. 

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. Beaumont ophthalmologists participated in the development and new and effective treatments for wet age-related macular degeneration. Additional work is ongoing to explore new treatment options in this disease.

Diabetic macular edema is the primary cause of visual loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Beaumont ophthalmologists are studying new treatments for this blinding condition.

Retinopathy of prematurity is a devastating condition afflicting premature infants. Beaumont ophthalmologists are internationally recognized for their expertise in the treatment of this condition. Beaumont is an international referral center for pediatric retinal disease.  Beaumont ophthalmologists are currently leading a multicenter national study investigating new treatment options for this disease.

Vitreomacular adhesions are caused by many different conditions.  The standard treatment is surgical vitrectomy.  In many of the conditions, the vitreous attachment to the retina is very strong, making the surgical separation difficult.  Beaumont ophthalmologists are currently evaluating intravitreal injections with a pharmacological agent to induce vitreolysis.  The use of these enzymes is thought to liquefy the vitreous/induce posterior vitreous detachment allowing for more efficient vitrectomy and/or non-surgical options in this disease management.

Neuro-ophthalmology has just formed a cooperative research consortium under the Nation Institutes of Health, national Eye Institute.  It will be known as Neuro Ophthalmology Research Disease Investigator Consortium (NORDIC).  Beaumont ophthalmologists have joined this group and will be participating in it as a framework for new research in this field.  The first trial will be on Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

Department highlights

  • Recent approved FDA treatments include:  Lucentis (2006—intravitreal injection for wet age-related macular degeneration); and Ozurdex (2009—intravitreal dexamethasone implant for macular edema due to retinal vein occlusion).  The FDA has recommended the Intraocular Telescopic implant for end-stage age-related macular degeneration (2009).
  • There have been positive study results announced by Neurotech (2009-NT-501 encapsulated cell technology for dry age-related acular degeneration). 

Awards and honors

The Vitreoretinal Fellowship Program was recently awarded the 2008-2009 educational Allergan Horizon Grant that has funded the following research:  in Vivo Retinal ganglion cell imaging in Retinopathy of Prematurity.

Investigators presented abstracts/posters and numerous national/international presentations.  Some include:  the annual William Beaumont Hospital/Associated Retinal Consultants Research Meeting, Combined meeting of American Society of Retina Specialists, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Retinal Congress, Macula Society, Association of Pediatric Retinal Surgeons, The Great Lakes Retina Club, Detroit Regional Ophthalmology Interchange and Michigan Society of Eye Physicians/Surgeons.

There were numerous investigator/multi-centered study reports published as peer reviewed articles in the following journals:  Archives of Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, Retina, Developmental Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology, and Investigative Ophthalmology.

Active research

We are participating in multi-centered research protocols which include treatments for the following diseases: Retina; wet and dry Macular Degeneration; Diabetic Retinopathy; Retinopathy of Prematurity; Vitreomacular adhesions; and Neuro-Ophthalmology (pseudotumor cerebri and nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy).  Our physicians are involved as Principal Investigators in many single site prospective and retrospective studies.  Our Ophthalmology Research Lab is translational and involves analysis of patient’s blood or eye tissues.  Knowledge gained from translational research has spurred animal projects involving more basic experiments as well.  It includes pediatric retinal fellowships at Beaumont.  The program is designed to give foreign fellows a mixture of clinical observation and laboratory research.

Principal Investigator


Research interest

George Williams, M.D.

Chair, Department of Ophthalmology;
Director, Beaumont Eye Institute;
Vice Chief, Surgical Services, Academic


John Baker, M.D.

Chief, Pediatric Ophthalmology

Pediatric Ophthalmology

Antonio Capone Jr., M.D.

Director, Ophthalmology Clinical Research


Christopher Chow, M.D.

Attending, Cornea Service


Edward Cohn, M.D.

Attending, Neuro-Ophthalmology Service


Kimberly Drenser, M.D., PhD

Director, Ophthalmology Research Lab


Steven Dunn, M.D.

Director, Cornea Service


Bruce Garretson, M.D.

Attending, Retina Service


Geoffrey Gladstone, M.D.

Attending, Oculoplastic Service


Robert Granadier, M.D.

Medical Director, Beaumont Eye Institute


Tarek Hassan, M.D.

Director, Vitreoretinal Fellowship


David Heidemann, M.D.

Attending, Cornea Service


Robert Lesser, M.D.

Chief, Glaucoma Service


Alan Ruby, M.D.

Attending, Retina Service


Lori Stec, M.D.

Director, Consult Service/Medical Student Program;
Assistant Program Director,
Ophthalmology Residency Beaumont Eye Institute


Michael Trese, M.D.

Chief, Adult and Pediatric Retinal


Asher Weiner, M.D.

Attending, Glaucoma Service


Contact information

Kristi Cumming, RN, MSN
Research Nurse Manager, Ophthalmology
Phone: 248-551-4603
Email: 13089@beaumont.edu

George A. Williams, M.D.
Department Chair, Ophthalmology
Phone: 248-551-2175
Email: gwilliams@beaumont.edu