Sheila West Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins Medical School, Wilmer Eye Institute
Sheila West, Ph.D.
Dr. Sheila West is a Professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute and holds the El Maghraby Chair in Preventive Ophthalmology.
Dr. West received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is recognized for her wide-ranging discoveries in public health ophthalmology, notably in trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. Her research has informed all aspects of the World Health Organization (WHO) SAFE Strategy for trachoma control. Her clinical trial demonstrated that a single dose of azithromycin could reduce recurrence of post-operative trichiasis by 30%; her research showed that several years of annual Mass Drug Administration with azithromycin would likely be needed to achieve the WHO goal of reducing trachoma to <5% at district level, which led to the recommendations on program survey frequency, and she led the first clinical trial to demonstrate that clean faces would lead to reduction in trachoma.
Dr. West is internationally recognized as at the forefront of bringing population science to ophthalmology, and she was the first to report that cataract, specifically nuclear cataract, was related to smoking. Further work led to authoring the Chapter in the Surgeon General’s report on the risk of eye diseases with smoking.
She has published extensively on disparities in eye health and was the first to find differences in prevalence of Cataract and AMD between African American and Caucasian populations. Dr. West was also the first to study the population prevalence and risk factors for Diabetic Retinopathy in Latinx populations in Arizona and that glaucoma was a leading cause of blindness.
Dr. West and her family have spent considerable time in Africa and are avid travelers.