Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS

Vice Chair for Research Innovation; Co-Director, Glaucoma Service

Subspecialty: Glaucoma

Areas of Interest

Early detection of disease and its progression, focusing on the invention and investigation of novel diagnostics for eye disease, most specifically for glaucoma.


Dr. Schuman is a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology, lauded for his research, discoveries, inventions, and compassionate patient care over the course of his more than 30-year career. In 2001, he and his colleagues were the first to identify a molecular marker for human glaucoma. In 1991 he was part of the team that invented optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology, which provides quick, non-invasive, high resolution 3D mapping of the eye and has become an essential tool for the detection and treatment of diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Today more than 60,000 of these machines are used every day across the globe.

Dr. Schuman comes to Wills Eye from NYU Langone Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he served as the Elaine Langone Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Neuroscience & Physiology. He was Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Professor of Neural Science in the Center for Neural Science at the NYU College of Arts and Sciences. He chaired the ophthalmology department at NYU Langone Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine from 2016 to 2020 and was Vice Chair for Ophthalmology Research in the department from 2020 to 2022. Prior to arriving at NYU in 2016, he was Distinguished Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology as well as Eye and Ear Foundation Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology and Director of UPMC Eye Center (2003-2016) and before that was at Tufts University (1991-2003), where he was Residency Director (1991-1999), Glaucoma and Cataract Service Chief (1991-2003), Professor of Ophthalmology (1998), and Vice Chair (2001 - 2003).

Among Dr. Schuman’s remarkable accomplishments are 22 patents, dozens of awards and recognitions, and contributions to more than 450 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Schuman received his AB in Psychology from Columbia University and his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After completing his internship year at Beth Israel Medical Center he went on to do his ophthalmology residency at the Medical College of Virginia and a glaucoma fellowship at Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Schuman’s first study of vision actually began during his undergraduate studies at Columbia University in what was then known as psychology but would today be categorized as neuroscience. He was motivated by parallels drawn to visual perception in his arts and humanities coursework at Columbia. The notions of “how we see what we see” and “how we perceive the world” were central to his choice of ophthalmology. The desire to understand more deeply and to find new and better ways to care for patients are the driving forces behind the work Dr. Schuman does in his clinical care and research. In addition to providing expert patient care, Dr. Schuman is currently working on research projects including stem cell treatment, artificial intelligence for imaging technology improvement, and novel diagnostics.

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Board Certification
American Board of Ophthalmology

Academic Affiliation
Professor, Ophthalmology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University


  • Fellowship:  Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma
  • Residency:  Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Medical School:  Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Honors and Awards

1995                             American Academy of Ophthalmology Honor Award

2002                             Alcon Research Institute Award of Excellence

2002                             Lewis Rudin Glaucoma Prize, New York Academy of Medicine

2002                             American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award

2003 – present            Best Doctors in America

2004                             American Society for Clinical Investigation

2005                             Who’s Who in Medical Sciences Education

2006                             ARVO/Pfizer Translational Research Award

2006 – 2016                    Pittsburgh’s Top Doctors

2006 – present                 America’s Top Doctors – The Best in American Medicine (Castle Connolly)

2006 – 2008                    American Medical Association – Physician’s Recognition Award with Commendation

2008                             American Ophthalmological Society

2009                             O’Connor Lectureship Award

2009                             University of Pittsburgh Innovator Award

2010                             ARVO Fellows Class of 2010, Silver Fellow

2010                             Visiting Professor, Pfizer Award

2010                             University of Pittsburgh Innovator Award

2011                             American Glaucoma Society Clinician – Scientist Award

2012                             Carnegie Science Awards: Life Sciences Award

2012                             Champalimaud Vision Award: Invention and validation of a revolutionary imaging system that reveals vivid details of eye anatomy

2013                             Life Achievement Honor Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology

2013                             ARVO, Fellows Class of 2014, Gold Fellow

2014                             Distinguished Professor, University of Pittsburgh

2015                             Special Recognition Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology

2016                             Association of American Physicians

2016                             New York Ophthalmological Society

2016                             Fight for Sight Physician/Scientist Award

2017                             Leslie Dana Gold Medal

2017                             American Glaucoma Society Innovator Award

2018                             American Glaucoma Society Lecturer

2018                             Fight for Sight Alumni Achievement Award

2019                             BrightFocus Scientific Impact Award

2021                             Eye Foundation of America Robert Murphy Visionary Award

2022                             USC Keck Roski Eye Institute Laureate Award

2022                             Pittsburgh Eye and Ear Foundation Muse Award


To search for journal publications by this doctor, visit the National Library of Medicine

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840 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107 Google Maps