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Jonathan Lass, MD

Specialty: Ophthalmology

Jonathan Lass, MD
  • Professor, CWRU School of Medicine



UH Cleveland Medical Center
11100 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106


Jonathan Lass, MD, is the Charles I. Thomas Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, member of the Center for Anterior Segment Diseases and Surgery in the University Hospitals Eye Institute, medical director of Eversight Ohio, and Director of the UH Eye Image Analysis Reading Centers. 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 Case Western Reserve University 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 in 2013.

Patient Care

Dr. Lass’s first and foremost interest is providing excellent patient care. He is one of the leading cornea and external disease experts in the U.S. and was recognized for his efforts to advance the field receiving the Senior Honor Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2004. He subsequently received the prestigious R. Townley Paton Award from the Eye Bank Association of America in 2012, and the Castroviejo Medal from the Cornea Society in 2017; these two awards are the highest honor for a corneal surgeon given by these two leading cornea organizations 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 then served as the study chair of the NEI funded multi-center prospective trial, the Cornea Preservation Time Study, which examined the effect of preservation time of the donor on graft survival and endothelial cell loss following Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK). The study found that corneas could be preserved longer than previously practiced out to 11 days of storage without impacting graft success and endothelial cell loss. Numerous other factors were also discovered impacting DSAEK outcomes to guide best practices presented in 12 publications that have come out since 2015 in high profile journals.

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, dedicated to the advancement of global health through international musical collaboration and charity. Dr. Lass organized the WDO’s U.S. debut in Cleveland and Severance Hall in 2009 and recently performed with the orchestra in Paris in June 2019 and Houston August 2019 benefiting local charities. The orchestra since its founding in 2008 has raised over 1 million Euros for charities around the world.

Finally, Dr. Lass serves as medical firector of the Eversight Ohio, and on the boards of the Cleveland Eye Bank Foundation and Eversight, one of the largest eye bank organizations in the United States. He also serves as the assistant editor of the journal of the Cornea Society, Cornea.


  • Cataract and Lens Implant Surgery
  • Comprehensive Ophthalmology
  • Cornea Transplant Surgery
  • Corneal and External Diseases
  • Eye Exams
  • Eye Injury
  • Eye Trauma
  • Intra-Ocular Lenses (IOL)


Board Certifications

  • Ophthalmology - American Board of Ophthalmology


Fellowship | Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology - Massachusetts Eye And Ear Infirmary (1977 - 1979)

Residency | Ophthalmology
Ophthalmology - Boston Medical Center (1974 - 1977)

Internship | Rotating
Rotating - Mount Auburn Hospital (1973 - 1974)

Medical Education
Boston University School Of Medicine (1973)

Boston University (1972)

Languages Spoken


Industry Relationships

University Hospitals is committed to transparency in our interactions with industry partners, such as pharmaceutical, biotech, or medical device companies. At UH, we disclose practitioner and their family members’ ownership and intellectual property rights that are or in the process of being commercialized. In addition, we disclose payments to employed practitioners of $5,000 or more from companies with which the practitioners interact as part of their professional activities. These practitioner-industry relationships assist in developing new drugs, devices and therapies and in providing medical education aimed at improving quality of care and enhancing clinical outcomes. At the same time, UH understands that these relationships may create a conflict of interest. In providing this information, UH desires to assist patients in talking with their practitioners about industry relationships and how those relationships may impact their medical care.

UH practitioners seek advance approval for certain new industry relationships. In addition, practitioners report their industry relationships and activities, as well as those of their immediate family members, to the UH Office of Outside Interests annually. We review these reports and implement management plans, as appropriate, to address conflicts of interest that may arise in connection with medical research, clinical care and purchasing decisions.

View UH’s policy (PDF) on practitioner-industry relationships.

As of December 31, 2016, Jonathan Lass did not disclose any Outside Relationships with Industry.