Timothy W. Olsen, MD

Timothy W. Olsen, MD

As a member of the Vitreoretinal Surgery and Disease service at Emory Eye Center, Timothy W. Olsen, MD's clinical expertise is in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, complex retinal detachment surgery, and pediatric retinal disorders.

Dr. Olsen’s vision for the Ophthalmology Department is to ensure the best possible clinical care, educational environment, and research support for a productive and fiscally responsible academic ophthalmology program.

Two distinguished doctoral students, Paul Loftness and George Mathai, have earned their PhD degrees through projects initiated in Dr. Olsen’s laboratory. Both have written and defended their thesis work on a specific device for advanced AMD. This work is based on collaborative studies with distinguished professors of mechanical engineering, who have co-developed a medical device. Colleagues include Professor Arthur Erdman at the University of Minnesota as well as Professors David Rosen and Shreyes Melkote at Georgia Tech. Together, these collaborations have led to the development of a novel macular translocation device that is currently under investigation to address advanced AMD.

Dr. Olsen’s research is focused on age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He and Dr. Xiao Feng developed the Minnesota Grading System (MGS) for AMD, which has won awards internationally. This system is a non-interventional model of AMD, allowing work to be done at the biochemical level and is now moving into gene expression analysis in conjunction with Dr. Paul Wong (Emory) in AMD and mitochondrial function.

His current projects are targeting advanced stage AMD, and he collaborates with engineers at Georgia Tech (David Rosen, PhD and Shreyes Melkote, PhD) through the department of biomedical engineering. Together, with graduate student George Mahtai, this team is currently helping to facilitate the development of new surgical instrumentation to address advanced AMD.

Dr. Olsen also collaborates with numerous drug delivery experts. He and coworkers have described novel methods of drug delivery such as the suprachoroidal route using small microcannulae. He maintains a long-term collaboration with Henry F. Edelhauser, PhD and Uday Kompella, PhD, at the University of Colorado on the role of transscleral drug delivery systems. Novel studies on the use of aerosolized delivery in the gas phase of vitrectomy are conducted in conjunction with with Amir Naqwi, PhD and on-going pre-clinical studies.

He has an active surgical lab, using advanced surgical techniques in the pig model of various vitreoretinal disorders. He holds three patents. As principal investigator on many separate grants, total funding for his grants is currently at just over $5.4 million for research.

National Recognition

He holds leadership positions in the American Ophthalmologic Society (AOS), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). He has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors for The Emory Clinic, Board of Trustees for the Center for the Visually Impaired, and is an active member of the Macula and Retina Society as well as the Society of Heed Fellows.

He serves as an executive editor for the American Journal of Ophthalmology, and on the editorial board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS), Ocular Surgery News (OSN), and is a reviewer for numerous journals.

Recent awards include:

  • 2010: Young Investigator Award, Macula Society
  • 2011 and 2012: “Top Doctors,” Retina Specialty, Atlanta magazine
  • 2012: Gold Fellow Award, ARVO
  • 2011 and 2012: Top Ophthalmologist, U.S. News & World Report
  • 2011: 135 Leading Ophthalmologists in America, Becker’s ASC (Ambulatory Surgery Centers) Review

Areas of Clinical Interest

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Complex retinal detachment surgery