Michael A. Kass, MD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
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Michael Kass, MD

Dr. Michael Kass is the Bernard Becker Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Kass completed undergraduate training at the University of Michigan and received his MD degree and MS in neurophysiology from Northwestern University School of Medicine. His first academic position was assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine, and he then returned to the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine, rising through the academic ranks to professor. He was chairman of the department from 1998 to 2014.

Dr. Kass conducted some of the earliest studies on the effect of prostaglandins on the eye. This eventually led to the development of effective pharmacologic treatments for glaucoma. He demonstrated that adherence to prescribed medical treatment is suboptimal in many individuals which might explain why some glaucoma patients progress despite good intraocular pressure measurements in the office. He participated in the 5FU and Glaucoma Filtering Surgery Trial which proved that antimetabolite agents improved the results of trabeculectomy. Dr. Kass served as principal investigator of the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS). Ocular hypertension occurs in 4-7% of the people aged 40 and above in the United States and is a key risk factor for the development of open angle glaucoma. OHTS, which showed Level 1 proof that early treatment reduces the incidence of open angle glaucoma, provides a predictive model for estimating the risk of developing open angle glaucoma and 20-year estimates of the incidence of visual field loss. These data allow the patient and the clinician to make informed decisions about the frequency of examinations and the potential benefit of early treatment.

Dr. Kass has received the Life Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the International Glaucoma Societies Award, the Leslie Dana Medal from the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the President’s Award from the American Glaucoma Society.