Timothy W. Olsen, M.D., has two key areas of collaborative and translational research that span the range from premature infants to elderly individuals. First, he studies age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and his lab has developed novel medical (transscleral and suprachoroidal drug delivery) and surgical approaches toward treatment and regeneration of macular function. Second, his team studies the economic impact of blindness from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
Dr. Olsen has worked in developing nations (Peru, Mexico, the Philippines) and the regional U.S. (Georgia) to implement improvements in screening and improve the treatment of ROP globally by working with international partners on the economic advantages of treating this blinding disease.
- AMD. Dr. Olsen has developed a novel model to study AMD using eye bank eyes, graded according to current clinical staging criteria. Since there is no animal model that replicates human aging, this model serves as the best way to study the pathogenesis of AMD. At Mayo Clinic, he is building a bioinformatic network that will be used to help understand the complex pathways involved in the pathogenesis of AMD. In 2016, Dr. Olsen founded iMacular Regeneration, a company that is commercializing a potential device that may be used to translocate tissue that helps to restore macular function.
- ROP. Dr. Olsen and his team have defined the economic model for ROP (ECROP) that uses cost-benefit, cost-utility and cost-effectiveness analysis for the screening and treatment of ROP in various socioeconomic regions globally. His team has published results from Peru, Mexico and the U.S., and all studies to date indicate that screening and treatment of ROP represents one of the most cost-effective uses of health care resources. The goal of this research is to establish programs for the screening and treatment of ROP that will result in significant cost-savings for all countries studied to date, including the U.S.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Olsen's work to restore macular function in individuals with high-risk stages of AMD will improve quality of life for those with vision loss. His efforts toward educational training and implementation of evidence-based standards for the effective treatment of ROP globally will address the current epidemic of blindness from ROP, save millions of dollars in health care resources, and improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide.
- Chairman emeritus, Emory Eye Center, Emory University, 2016-present
- Founder, iMacular Regeneration, LLC, 2016
- Director and F. Phinizy Calhoun Sr. Professor and Chairman of Ophthalmology, Emory Eye Center, Emory University, 2008-2016
- William H. Knobloch Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine, 2008-2016
- Named, Atlanta Magazine's Top Doctors List, Atlanta, Georgia, 2011-2016