Glaucoma Visionary Joel S. Schuman, MD to Join Wills Eye Hospital

Schuman joins Wills Eye from the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone

PHILADELPHIA, February 28, 2023 –Wills Eye Hospital today announced that world-renowned ophthalmologist Joel S. Schuman, MD, FACS will join Wills and the Vickie and Jack Farber Vision Research Center at Wills Eye. Dr. Schuman will hold the Kenneth L. Roper Endowed Chair and will serve as Vice Chair for Research Innovation, as well as Co-Director of the Glaucoma Service.

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 is an internationally-renowned glaucoma clinician-scientist,” said Julia A. Haller, MD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, Wills Eye Hospital. “He is truly a giant in the field of ophthalmology, and we are delighted that he has decided to join the Wills Eye team.”

Dr. Schuman comes to Wills Eye from NYU Langone Health and NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he has served as the Elaine Langone Professor of Ophthalmology and Professor of Neuroscience & Physiology. He is 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).

“Wills is adding another superstar to its roster with Dr. Schuman,” said Joseph P. Bilson, Chief Executive Officer, Wills Eye Hospital. “His pedigree speaks for itself and is complemented by a motivated, caring, and collaborative personality. On behalf of the Wills Eye hospital faculty and staff, I want to wish Dr. Schuman a very warm welcome.”

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.

“I am really energized by the chance to join to be a part of this phenomenal institution, truly one of the world’s premier ophthalmology hospitals,” said Dr. Schuman.  “The environment at Wills, the teamwork, and its devotion to ground-breaking research that fuels its outstanding clinical practice – all of these factors make Wills a great fit and I look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

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.

For more information about the Glaucoma Service at Wills Eye Hospital, click here.

About Wills Eye Hospital
Wills Eye Hospital is a global leader in ophthalmology, established in 1832 as the nation's first hospital specializing in eye care. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Wills Eye as one of America's top ophthalmology Hospitals since the survey began, has the most nationally ranked ophthalmologists in the country and is among the top academic training programs in the U.S. for its residency program as voted by physicians in the nation. Wills Eye is a premier training site for all levels of medical education. Its resident and post-graduate training programs are among the most competitive in the country. The Vickie and Jack Farber Vision Research Center at Wills harnesses the core strengths of Wills, the close connection between innovative research and advanced patient care, to discover therapeutic breakthroughs. Wills provides the full range of primary and subspecialty eye care for improving and preserving sight, including cataract and primary eye care, cornea, emergency care, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, ocular oncology, oculoplastics, pathology, pediatric ophthalmology, refractive surgery, retina, and strabismus. Ocular Services include the Wills Laser Correction Center and Diagnostic Center. Its 24/7 Emergency Service is the only one of its kind in the region. Wills Eye also has a network of six multi-specialty, ambulatory surgery centers throughout the tristate area.