The Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery Division is internationally acclaimed and boasts an impressive research program, a comprehensive fellowship training program, and unrivaled clinical and surgical care to more than 36,000 patients a year.  The Duke Cornea Division represents the largest tertiary referral center for corneal and anterior segment disease in North Carolina and the Southeast region. 

Led by Terry Kim, MD, immediate past President of the American Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS), the award-winning team of 10 board-certified cornea specialists and one optometrist evaluate and treat the full range of corneal and anterior segment disorders and diseases using state-of-the-art equipment and technology.  


  • Provide the best possible care for individuals experiencing visual impairment due to structural changes or anomalies of the anterior segment. 

  • Discover important new knowledge about causes, mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of corneal and ocular surface, dry eye and refractive errors 

  • Translate research innovations into new care modalities 

  • Train future cornea leaders in the medical and surgical management of cornea, external disease 


Pre-clinical and Clinical Research  

Participated or led several recent Principal Investigator-initiated and industry-initiated clinical trials have resulted in the introduction of new medications and therapeutics to patients. 

  • new medications for dry eye disease  

  • serum tears for GVHD  

  • next generation OCT guided ophthalmic surgery  

  • corneal neurotization  

  • acyclovir for zoster eye disease  

  • genetic testing for corneal disorders   

  • ocular tumor registry  

  • multiphoton imaging of conjunctival lesions  

  • epigenetics of ocular tumors 

  • immune contribution to MGD  

  • dendritic cells and retinoic acid in conjunctival scarring  

  • macrophages in maintenance of corneal nerve physiology  

  • innate lymphoid cell network in ocular surface tissues  

  • Esteemed fellowship program for more than 40 years  

  • Highly-challenging and deeply-rewarding environment for the medical school students, residents, and fellows 

  • Graduates of this program have become leaders in academic and private medicine worldwide. With a focus on in depth clinical and surgical training,  

  • Duke fellowship trained sub-specialists receive intense medical training  

  • Clinical and surgical rotations with Duke Cornea specialists at the main Duke Eye Center and at our satellite locations  

  • A specific learning track at Miracles in Sight Eye Bank 

  • Cornea Fellowship is registered with the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO) fellowship compliance program and meets guidelines set forth by the AUPO fellowship compliance committee.  

  • Active in education on a local, national and international level, leading and organizing meetings at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), and other prominent national and international conferences.   

  • Cornea fellows lead monthly Cornea Conferences by presenting case presentations on various aspects of corneal disease. 

  • Hosts a regular Journal Club led by the Cornea faculty to discuss advanced clinical cases 

  • Holds an annual “Controversies in Cornea and Cataract Surgery” conference, featuring prominent visiting guest faculty from around the country 

  • Diseases and disorders of the cornea and anterior segment such as cataracts; refractive errors (e.g., myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism) 

  • Utilize noninvasive diagnostic imaging modalities to accurately diagnose conditions affecting the cornea and employ a wide range of cutting-edge treatments and surgical interventions.  

  • Cataract surgery using advanced laser surgery technology and advanced intraocular lenses for astigmatism and presbyopia correction  

  • Refractive surgery (PRK, LASIK, INTACs, implantable collamer lenses, and corneal crosslinking).  

  • Corneal degenerations and dystrophies (e.g. keratoconus and Fuchs’ dystrophy) 

  • Corneal inflammation, scarring and ulcers 

  • Dry eye, blepharitis, and meibomian gland dysfunction; and complex ocular surface disorders (e.g., limbal stem cell deficiency, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, and ocular graft vs. host disease) 

  • Medical and surgical therapies include advanced corneal transplantation (DMEK, DSAEK, DALK, PKP, and Boston keratoprosthesis type 1) 

  • Intraocular lens exchange, anterior segment reconstruction  

  • Cornea collagen crosslinking  

  • Scleral contact lens fitting and autologous serum and platelet-enriched plasma eye drops (for severe dry eyes),  

  • Tumor excisions, limbal stem cell transplants 

  • Ocular surface reconstruction (for ocular surface disease and tumors)