About Joseph Ciolino, MD

Dr. Ciolino is a member of the Cornea Service and the Henry Freeman Allen Cornea Scholar. His clinical focus is in corneal transplants, keratoprosthesis, corneal cross-linking, and diseases of the anterior segment of the eye. As a clinician scientist, his research interests include translational projects such as keratoprosthesis and ocular drug delivery. In addition to his practice at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Ciolino also sees patients at Andover Eye Associates at138 Haverhill St. in Andover, MA. (978-475-0705).

Dr. Ciolino earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and subsequently pursued an ophthalmology residency at Albany Medical College, where he served as Chief Resident in his final year. Returning to Boston for a two-year fellowship in the Cornea, Refractive Surgery and External Disease Service, he received the nationally recognized Claes Dohlman Fellowship Award. He then joined Harvard Medical School's full time faculty at Mass. Eye and Ear under the K12 Harvard-Vision Clinical Scientist Development Program, a highly competitive institutional program funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Working with collaborators at Boston Children's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Ciolino has developed a drug-eluting contact lens capable of delivering various pharmaceutical agents, such as antibiotics, antifungals, and glaucoma medication. These drug-eluting lenses have the potential to improve surgical outcomes for patients with keratoprosthesis by both protecting the ocular surface of the eye and by preventing post-operative infections, and they may one day replace eye drops.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:



Mass Eye and Ear
243 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-523-7900

Medical Education

  • MD, Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Residency, Albany Medical Center
  • Residency, Massachusetts Eye and Ear***
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts Eye and Ear***

American Board Certifications

  • Ophthalmology, American Board of Ophthalmology


Dr. Ciolino is a clinician scientist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of corneal diseases. His research aims to develop and test a drug-eluting contact lens for the treatment of eye diseases. Specifically, he plans to carry out proof-of-concept studies to demonstrate the functionality and safety of this drug-eluting contact lens, advancing toward the goal of treating glaucoma, eye infections, and ocular inflammation in patients. He is currently working to bring a dexamethasone-eluting contact lens and a latanoprost-eluting contact lens closer to first tests in human subjects.


  • 1. Coco G, Kheirkhah A, Foulsham W, Dana R, Ciolino JB. Keratoconus progression associated with hormone replacement therapy. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2019 Sep; 15:100519. 

    2. Ross AE, Bengani LC, Tulsan R, Maidana DE, Salvador-Culla B, Kobashi H, Kolovou PE, Zhai H, Taghizadeh K, Kuang L, Mehta M, Vavvas DG, Kohane DS, Ciolino JB. Topical sustained drug delivery to the retina with a drug-eluting contact lens. Biomaterials. 2019 Oct; 217:119285.

    3. Coco G, Amparo F, Patel SP, Foulsham W, Carreno-Galeano JT, Stockslager SG, Ciolino JB, Yin J, Dana R. Oral guaifenesin for treatment of filamentary keratitis: A pilot study. Ocul Surf. 2019 Jul; 17(3):565-570. 

    4. Wirta DL, Torkildsen GL, Moreira HR, Lonsdale JD, Ciolino JB, Jentsch G, Beckert M, Ousler GW, Steven P, Krösser S. A Clinical Phase II Study to Assess Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Waterfree Cyclosporine Formulation for Treatment of Dry Eye Disease. Ophthalmology. 2019 Jun; 126(6):792-800.

    5. Kobashi H, Ciolino JB. Innovative Development of Contact Lenses. Cornea. 2018 Nov; 37 Suppl 1:S94-S98. 

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