Research Faculty

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA

Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology. Bioengineering and Pharmacology; B.A. Field Chair in Ophthalmologic Research; Dean Emeritus of the College of Medicine University of Illinois College of Medicine
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences 1855 W Taylor Street, MC 648 Chicago IL 60612
Photo of Dimitri Azar MD, MBA

Biographical Info

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA

Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology. Bioengineering and Pharmacology
B.A. Field Chair in Ophthalmologic Research
Dean Emeritus of the College of Medicine

Mailing Address:
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
1855 W Taylor Street, MC 648
Chicago IL 60612

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



“Dr. Azar was absolutely fantastic.  He was very patient and took plenty of time to explain everything to me.” comment from

Dr. Azar is an internationally recognized ophthalmic surgeon who served as Dean of the College of Medicine at University of Illinois from 2011 to 2017.

He joined the faculty in 2006 as Head of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. Previously he was a tenured Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Cornea Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Senior Scientist at Schepens Eye Institute and a faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He earned an executive MBA from University of Chicago. Dr. Azar is board certified in ophthalmology.

He is a leader in basic science and clinically related vision research, making significant contributions to the treatment of corneal diseases and to advances in refractive surgery through mathematical analyses and applications of advanced optics. His basic science research on matrix metalloproteinases in corneal wound healing and angiogenesis has been continually funded by the National Eye Institute R01 award since 1993.

Dr. Azar is the author of more than 400 scientific articles and book chapters. He is the editor of 14 books in ophthalmology and holds 15 patents. He has been named one of The Best Doctors in America or recognized among Castle Connolly’s Regional Top Doctors in America annually since 1994. He serves as a trustee for the Chicago Ophthalmological Society and for the Association of Research and Vision in Ophthalmology. Dr. Azar has received multiple leadership awards, including the 2009 Lans Distinguished Award and the University of Illinois at Chicago Scholar Award.


online at




UI Board of Trustees
approves appointment of
Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA as Dean

Patient Testimonials



BS/MD—American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Residency—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School
Research Fellowship in Cornea-Morphology—Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School
Clinical Fellowship in Cornea and External Eye Disease—Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
MBA—University of Chicago, Booth Graduate School of Business

Selected Honors and Awards

Chicago Super Doctors, 2012, 2013
Best Doctors in America, 1994 – present
American Academy of Ophthalmology Secretariat Award, 2014
Lans Distinguished Award, International Society of Refractive Surgery, 2009
American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award, 2004
American Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award, 1998
See a representative list of Dr. Azar’s published journal articles on PubMed.

Recent Publications

Moore JE, Atkinson SD, Azar DT, Worthington J, Downes CS, Courtney DG, Moore CB. Protection of corneal epithelial stem cells prevents ultraviolet A damage during corneal collagen cross-linking treatment for keratoconus. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Feb;98(2):270-4. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2013-303816. Epub 2013 Nov 28. PubMed PMID: 24288393.

Azar DT, Chang JH, Han KY. Wound healing after keratorefractive surgery: review of biological and optical considerations. Cornea. 2012 Nov;31 Suppl 1:S9-19. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31826ab0a7. Review. PubMed PMID: 23038040; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3682490.

Chang JH, Garg NK, Lunde E, Han KY, Jain S, Azar DT. Corneal neovascularization: an anti-VEGF therapy review. Surv Ophthalmol. 2012 Sep;57(5):415-29. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2012.01.007. Review. PubMed PMID: 22898649; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3709023.

Han KY, Fahd DC, Tshionyi M, Allemann N, Jain S, Chang JH, Azar DT. MT1-MMP modulates bFGF-induced VEGF-A expression in corneal fibroblasts. Protein Pept Lett. 2012 Dec;19(12):1334-9. PubMed PMID: 22670674; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3653774.

Han KY, Azar DT, Sabri A, Lee H, Jain S, Lee BS, Chang JH. Characterization of the interaction between endostatin short peptide and VEGF receptor 3. Protein Pept Lett. 2012 Sep;19(9):969-74. PubMed PMID: 22512651; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3646568.

Tshionyi M, Shay E, Lunde E, Lin A, Han KY, Jain S, Chang JH, Azar DT. Hemangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in corneal pathology. Cornea. 2012 Jan;31(1):74-80. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31821dd986. PubMed PMID: 22030600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3710690.

Ghanem RC, Han KY, Rojas J, Ozturk O, Kim DJ, Jain S, Chang JH, Azar DT. Semaphorin 7A promotes angiogenesis in an experimental corneal neovascularization model. Curr Eye Res. 2011 Nov;36(11):989-96. doi:  10.3109/02713683.2011.593730. PubMed PMID: 21999225; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3709026.

Mimura T, Chang JH, Kim TI, Onguchi T, Kojima T, Sakimoto T, Azar DT. MT1-MMP cleavage of the antiangiogenic proteoglycan decorin: role in corneal angiogenesis. Cornea. 2011 Oct;30 Suppl 1:S45-9. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31822816e0. Retraction in: Cornea. 2012 Apr;31(4):467. PubMed PMID: 21912230; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3181092.

Taneri S, Oehler S, Azar DT. Influence of mydriatic eye drops on wavefront sensing with the Zywave aberrometer. J Refract Surg. 2011 Sep;27(9):678-85. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20110317-01. Epub 2011 Mar 31. PubMed PMID: 21446641.

Gatinel D, Malet J, Hoang-Xuan T, Azar DT. Corneal elevation topography: best fit sphere, elevation distance, asphericity, toricity, and clinical implications. Cornea. 2011 May;30(5):508-15. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181fb4fa7. PubMed PMID: 21107250.

Categories: Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Research Faculty