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Janey L. Wiggs

Paul Austin Chandler Professor of Ophthalmology, Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

If you weren’t an ophthalmologist, what would you be doing?

I think I would be either a geologist or an archaeologist. I enjoyed digging and finding usual rocks as a child (and still do!). As for other fields in medicine, as a student I enjoyed pathology, infectious disease and heme/onc.

A person in your sub-specialty / field you look up to (and why)

David Epstein was the Director of the Glaucoma Service at Mass Eye and Ear when I was a resident and glaucoma fellow. He was a great leader and mentor who provided important support and encouragement at early stages of my career.

What has been the biggest breakthrough in ophthalmology / your specific field over the last 10-20 years, and what are the reasons behind your choice?

In the clinical care of glaucoma the OCT has significantly impacted how we diagnose and care for patients.  Combined with visual field testing the OCT provides the critical metrics that allow for determination of patient worsening over time.  Another, more recent, advance that also is likely to impact clinical care in the future is the polygenic risk score (PRS) for glaucoma.  The measure of the burden of genetic risk for a patient can help identify individuals who are most at risk for disease.  Importantly, in the future, combined the PRS with OCT and visual fields will enable the development of a precision medicine model for glaucoma.

Do you have any predictions for your sub-specialty / field of expertise over the next 10 years?

I predict that genetic information will become integrated with clinical care in glaucoma and likely other eye diseases as well.  This information will help determine the prognosis and clinical course as well as help develop surveillance and treatment plan appropriate and tailored for each patient.

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