Dr. Varma 

Rohit Varma, MD, MPH

Professor and Chair, Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary,
UIC Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Illinois Lions/Charles I. Young Chair in Ocular Research

Associate Dean for Strategic Planning, University of Illinois College of Medicine

Chair, NIH Toolbox Vision Section
Chair, AAO Public Health Committee

Mailing Address:
Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary
1855 W. Taylor Street, M/C 648
Chicago, IL 60612
Email:  rvarma@uic.edu


request and appointment

Sees patients at:
Millennium Park Eye Center
30 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 410
MPEC Phone: (312) 996-2020

Dr. Varma received his medical degree from the University of Delhi, India, in 1986. He did a glaucoma fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia while also completing a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He completed his ophthalmic residency at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins then did a second glaucoma fellowship at the Doheny Eye Institute at University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. He joined the Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty in 1995 where he served as a tenured Professor of Ophthalmology and Preventive Medicine, and Director of the Glaucoma Service, Ocular Epidemiology Center and the Clinical Trials Unit.

His primary research focuses on epidemiologic studies of eye disease in children and aging populations. He is the principal investigator (PI) on three large National Institutes of Health-funded community based studies: Los Angeles Latino Eye Study, Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Diseases Study, and the Chinese American Eye Study. He is the Los Angeles site PI for the Advanced Imaging in Glaucoma Study.

Dr. Varma is an international expert on changes in the optic nerve in glaucoma and new imaging techniques in the early diagnosis of glaucomatous optic nerve damage. He is currently involved in the development of novel implantable intraocular pressure sensors and drainage devices. Dr. Varma has edited two ophthalmic books and has more than 214 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is a board-certified ophthalmologist.

Among the many awards he has received are the Research to Prevent Blindness Sybil B. Harrington Scholar Award, the American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award, and the President’s Award-Glaucoma Research Foundation and the ARVO Fellow Silver Award.

He currently serves as Chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Public Health Committee. He also serves on the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities of the Institute of Medicine. 



 ARVO Silver Fellow Award


Eye Infirmary chair named to Institute of Medicine
Round Table


MD—Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi, India
MPH—Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Residency—Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Clinical Fellowship in Glaucoma—Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
Clinical Fellowship in Glaucoma—Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Selected Honors and Awards 

Super Doctors, 2012, 2013
ARVO Fellow Silver Award, 2009
President’s Award-Glaucoma Research Foundation, 2009
Los Angeles Super Doctors, 2007
American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award, 2006
Research to Prevent Blindness Sybil B. Harrington Scholar Award, 2003

See a representative list of Dr. Varma's published journal articles on Pub Med

Recent Publications

Le PV, Tan O, Chopra V, Francis BA, Ragab O, Varma R, Huang D. Regional correlation among ganglion cell complex, nerve fiber layer, and visual field loss in glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Jun 21;54(6):4287-95. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-11388. PubMed PMID: 23716631; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3691052.

Suñer IJ, Bressler NM, Varma R, Lee P, Dolan CM, Ward J, Colman S, Rubio RG. Reading speed improvements in retinal vein occlusion after ranibizumab treatment. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Jul 1;131(7):851-6. doi: 10.1001 /jamaophthalmol.2013. 114. PubMed PMID: 23699977.

McKean-Cowdin R, Cotter SA, Tarczy-Hornoch K, Wen G, Kim J, Borchert M, Varma R; Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study Group. Prevalence of Amblyopia or Strabismus in Asian and Non-Hispanic White Preschool Children: Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study. Ophthalmology. 2013 May 19. doi:pii: S0161-6420(13)00216-9. 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.03.001. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23697956.

Tarczy-Hornoch K, Cotter SA, Borchert M, McKean-Cowdin R, Lin J, Wen G, Kim J, Varma R; Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study Group. Prevalence and causes of visual impairment in Asian and non-Hispanic white preschool children: Multi-ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study. Ophthalmology. 2013 Jun;120(6):1220-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.12.029. Epub 2013 Apr 3. PubMed PMID: 23561327.

Varma R, McKean-Cowdin R, Vitale S, Slotkin J, Hays RD. Vision assessment using the NIH Toolbox. Neurology. 2013 Mar 12;80(11 Suppl 3):S37-40. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182876e0a. PubMed PMID: 23479542; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3662341.

Gao X, Gauderman WJ, Liu Y, Marjoram P, Torres M, Haritunians T, Kuo JZ, Chen YD, Allingham RR, Hauser MA, Taylor KD, Rotter JI, Varma R. A genome-wide association study of central corneal thickness in Latinos. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Apr 1;54(4):2435-43. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-11692. PubMed PMID: 23493294; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3621577.

Paz SH, Slotkin J, McKean-Cowdin R, Lee P, Owsley C, Vitale S, Varma R, Gershon R, Hays RD. Development of a vision-targeted health-related quality of life item measure. Qual Life Res. 2013 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23475688.

Bressler NM, Chang TS, Varma R, Suñer I, Lee P, Dolan CM, Ward J, Ianchulev T, Fine J. Driving ability reported by neovascular age-related macular degeneration patients after treatment with ranibizumab. Ophthalmology. 2013 Jan;120(1):160-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.07.027. Epub 2012 Sep 23. PubMed PMID: 23009891.

Sehi M, Zhang X, Greenfield DS, Chung Y, Wollstein G, Francis BA, Schuman JS, Varma R, Huang D; Advanced Imaging for Glaucoma Study Group. Retinal nerve fiber layer atrophy is associated with visual field loss over time in glaucoma suspect and glaucomatous eyes. Am J Ophthalmol. 2013 Jan;155(1):73-82.e1. doi:  10.1016 /j.ajo.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Oct 1. PubMed PMID: 23036570; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3525739.

Zheng L, Teng EL, Varma R, Mack WJ, Mungas D, Lu PH, Chui HC. Chinese-language montreal cognitive assessment for cantonese or mandarin speakers: age, education, and gender effects. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;2012:204623. doi: 10.1155/2012/204623. Epub 2012 Jul 9. PubMed PMID: 22830073; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3399373.