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Corneal/External Disease

The cornea/external disease service at Northwestern Medicine is a highly regarded center of excellence that provides comprehensive medical and surgical treatment for the full array of corneal conditions. These include keratoconus and other thinning disorders, corneal edema, corneal dystrophies, keratitis, infectious disease, pterygium, scarring and dry eye. We employ the latest diagnostic technology — such as corneal tomography, anterior segment OCT, specular microscopy and ultrasound biomicroscopy — to ensure we recommend the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Our surgeons perform penetrating and endothelial keratoplasty, lamellar keratoplasty, surface reconstruction, amniotic tissue transplantation, advanced cataract and refractive surgery and cornea cross-linking.


Our cornea specialists — Jeanine Baqai, MD; Surendra Basti, MD; Robert Feder, MD; and Ramez Haddadin, MD — received cornea subspecialty training in top centers around the country and consult on challenging patient problems. The specialists are actively involved in teaching ophthalmologists in regional, national and international courses and symposia. They are authors and editors of books and other training materials and serve the American Academy of Ophthalmology on various committees. Our team created the Chicago Cornea Association, which meets semi-annually to bring the Chicago cornea community together to discuss the most challenging cases and share best practice. We have residents and fellows working directly with us, helping to provide superior care to our patients.


Our cornea service has a long tradition of clinical research. We participate in studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health, collaborations with regional and national colleagues and research of our own design. Currently, we are investigating keratitis caused by the shingles virus, use of optical coherent tomography to better evaluate corneal inflammation and ulceration and new and potentially safer ways of performing corneal cross-linking for keratoconus.

Support for our research activities is much appreciated and helps us to stay at the cutting edge with the goal of one day bringing our findings into the mainstream of clinical care.

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