Dr. Lass is the Charles I Thomas Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (http://www.case.edu/med/ophthalmology/ ) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, member of the Center for Anterior Segment Diseases and Surgery in the University Hospitals Eye Institute (http://www.uhhospitals.org/tabid/982/Default.aspx), Medical Director of the Cleveland Eye Bank, and Medical Director of the Case/UH Cornea Image Analysis Reading Center. After completing his ophthalmology residency at Boston University Medical Center in 1977, he went on to complete a two year fellowship in cornea and external diseases at Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Eye Research Institute of the Retina Foundation. He joined the faculty at CWRU School of Medicine and the medical staff of University Hospitals in 1979 and became chair of the Department in 1993. He served for more than 20 years in this capacity, building its clinical programs to institute status at University Hospitals providing comprehensive and subspecialty care in all fields of ophthalmology, more than tripling the faculty and providing care throughout Northeast Ohio, overseeing residency training with one of the largest programs in the country, and leading the department and the larger visual sciences research center collaborating with over 30 investigators in both clinical and basic science departments to be 5th in the country in National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.
Dr. Lass’ first and foremost interest is providing excellent patient care. He is one of the leading cornea and external disease experts in the United States and was recognized for his efforts to advance the field receiving the Senior Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2004 and the prestigious R. Townley Paton award from the Eye Bank Association of America in 2012; this award is the highest honor for a corneal surgeon given by this leading cornea organization in the United States.
Over his entire career he has been strongly dedicated to medical student and resident education. He served as program director of the residency program for three periods of time while chair since 1993 and most recently from 2009 until 2014. He remains committed to teaching the next generation of ophthalmologists to be the finest in their medical and surgical skills and their compassion for their patients.
Dr. Lass has research interests in the area of corneal function and immunology, genetics, cornea image analysis, and clinical trials of corneal disease with over 200 publications with active funding from the NEI for these studies. He contributed to major advances in corneal preservation and transplantation including the NEI-funded Cornea Donor Study examining the effect of donor age on transplant survival and endothelial cell loss. This study reported its 10 year findings showing that donor age did not impact survival of the transplant for the great majority of donor corneas available in the United States. He is currently the study chair of the NEI funded multi-center prospective trial, the Cornea Preservation Time Study (http://cpts.jaeb.org/ViewPage.aspx?PageName=Home), which is examining the effect of preservation time of the donor on graft survival and endothelial cell loss following corneal transplantation. The study is the largest clinical research project in corneal diseases going on now in the United States and has the potential of doubling the donor supply of corneas if no difference in transplant survival and the loss of the endothelial cells that keep the cornea clear is found between the longer and shorter preservation time groups.
He is an avid cellist playing in local chamber music groups at various senior assisted living facilities and other organizations in Northeast Ohio. After organizing concerts for many years at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and ARVO, he is now a member of the Berlin-based World Doctors Orchestra (www.world-doctors-orchestra.org), dedicated to the advancement of global health through international musical collaboration and charity. Dr. Lass organized the WDO’s US debut in Cleveland and Severance Hall in 2009 and recently performed with the orchestra in Santiago, Chile in November 2014. His next concert with the group is in Seattle and Vancouver in June 2015 benefitting the Seattle Times Charities and the Vancouver Children’s Hospital.
Finally, Dr. Lass is actively volunteers at the Cleveland Free Clinic organizing a free eye clinic there. He is Medical Director of the Eversight Ohio (formerly the Cleveland Eye Bank) and a Board Member of the Cleveland Eye Bank Foundation and Eversight, one of the largest eye bank organizations in the United States.
American Board of Ophthalmology - Ophthalmology
Education & Training
1972, Boston University
Medical / Professional School(s)
1973, Boston University School of Medicine
1974, Rotating - Mount Auburn Hospital
1977, Ophthalmology - Boston Medical Center
1979, Ophthalmology - Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
Cataract and Lens Implant Surgery, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea Transplant Surgery, Corneal and External Diseases, Eye Exams, Eye Injury, Eye Trauma, Intra-Ocular Lenses (IOL)
UH Cleveland Medical Center
Department of Ophthalmology
11100 Euclid Ave
UH Landerbrook Health Center
5850 Landerbrook Dr
UH Eye Institute, Ste 306
UH Hudson Health Center
5778 Darrow Rd
UH Eye Institute, Ste 104
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As of December 31, 2015, Jonathan Lass, MD did not disclose any Outside Relationships with Industry.