Scott William Cousins, MD

Professor of Ophthalmology
Robert Machemer, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology
Vice-Chair, Strategic Planning, Department of Ophthalmology
Professor in the Department of Immunology
Campus mail: Box 3802 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-3090

Scott W. Cousins, M.D. is currently the Robert Machemer, M.D. Professor of Ophthalmology and Immunology, Vice Chair for Research, and Director of the Duke Center for Macular Diseases at Duke Eye Center. As Vice Chair, he oversees all basic science research as well as the Ophthalmology Site-Based Research Group, which administrates clinical research for Duke Eye Center. Dr. Cousins is also Medical Director of Hospital-Based Imaging and Procedures for Duke Eye Center.

Dr. Cousins is a retina-trained ophthalmologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of macular diseases, especially age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular diseases. Dr. Cousins is active in both clinical and laboratory research. In his clinical practice, Dr. Cousins is involved in many trials and innovative therapies for the treatment of macular diseases, especially AMD and diabetic retinopathy. He has served as site PI for numerous phase1-3 clinical trials in AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and other retinal disorders. He has served as a consultant or member of data safety monitoring committees (DSMC) for numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology startup companies.

In his scientific laboratory, Dr. Cousins pursues both NIH-funded and industry-funded research in various areas of dry and wet AMD. In particular, he is studying the role of circulating bone marrow-derived progenitors (stem cells) in contributing to wet AMD. His laboratory is attempting to develop treatments for dry macular degeneration and improving vision in eyes with wet macular degeneration. His program is also developing blood tests and new imaging technologies for the identification of patients who are at high risk for progressing into complications.

Dr. Cousins has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, and other publications addressing topics of research or clinical care of retinal disease, especially AMD. In 2006, Dr. Cousins was awarded the prestigious Alcon Research Foundation Clinician Scientist Award. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health invited Dr. Cousins to join the National Advisory Eye Council. Dr. Cousins is also a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Retina Society, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Medical Association.

In 2010, Dr. Cousins was named one of the “Top 34 Ophthalmologists in the United States” by Becker’s ASC Review, a leading source of business and legal news for ambulatory surgery centers. They cited his leadership of the Duke Center for Macular Diseases and his ongoing research in macular degeneration as reasons for the honor.

Education and Training

  • Dartmouth College, B.A. 1977
  • Case Western Reserve University, M.D. 1982
  • Stanford University, Associate Professor, Ophthalmology And Microbiology
  • Case Western Reserve University, Intern, Internal Medicine
  • Washington University in St. Louis, Resident, Ophthalmology
  • University of Miami, Clinical Fellow, Ophthalmology
  • Washington University in St. Louis, Instructor and Chief Resident, Ophthalmology
  • University of Miami, Research Fellow, Ophthalmology
  • University of Miami, Postdoctoral fellow, Microbiology And Immunology
  • University of Miami, Instructor, Ophthalmology
  • University of Miami, Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology And Microbiology
  • University of Miami, Deputy Director Vascular Biology Inst, Biology
  • University of Miami, Director of Research, Ophthalmology
  • University of Miami, Professor, Ophthalmology

Selected Grants and Awards