Mission Statement

Discovery of new knowledge to benefit patients with blinding eye disease.


Since its inception, the Thomas R. Lee Center for Ocular Pharmacology has attracted substantial financial support and developed into a nationally recognized site. The center is a multidisciplinary coalition of clinicians and basic scientists. The center provides numerous opportunities for students and residents to learn about and perform research. The results of the studies are presented at national and international forums and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Confocal Microscopy: A unique capability of the center is in vivo confocal microscopy. The confocal scope has become pivotal to several projects because it permits sequential examination of intraocular structures over an extended period. As such, it has been employed to examine ocular effects of novel new drugs on eye diseases, such as:

  • glaucoma
  • age‑related macular degeneration
  • dry eye
  • inflammation

We have shown that confocal microscopy detects more subtle signs of inflammation than by slit lamp alone. Early detection of this inflammatory process allows the physician to adjust medication to stop flare-ups and potential corneal or lens transplant damage without overmedicating the patient.

Student Sight Savers Project, a major initiative begin in 2002, is one of the leading student-service projects at EVMS. This student-managed program has two objectives: to increase the awareness of glaucoma in the community and to educate medical students regarding eye disease. The primary activity of the program is to conduct screening for glaucoma at community events. In addition to purchase of equipment and start up funds in 2002, the program has received additional funding by the Friends of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation in recognition of its outstanding achievements. Drs. Williams, McCole and Sheppard are the faculty advisors.