Eleonora Georgeta Lad

Eleonora Georgeta Lad

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

External Address: 
Duke Eye Center, 2351 Erwin Road DUMC 3802, Durham, NC 27705
Internal Office Address: 
Duke Eye Center, DUMC 3802, Durham, NC 27710


Eleonora (Nora) Lad, MD, PhD is a clinician scientist and retinal ophthalmologist with the primary goal of developing novel strategies for early diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Dr. Lad specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of macular diseases, such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular diseases. She is involved in clinical trials and innovative therapies for the treatment of macular diseases. Dr. Lad is committed to providing the highest level of evidence-based patient care.

Dr. Lad’s career goal is to translate her doctoral training in neuroscience into developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for AMD. Her research interests are the following:
1) investigating the role of neuroinflammation and abnormal protein aggregates in the pathogenesis of AMD and developing relevant treatments
2) visual function testing in dry AMD with the goal of establishing functional endpoints for future clinical studies in early AMD
3) elucidating the use of novel retinal imaging biomarkers for early diagnosis of aging diseases (AMD and Alzheimer’s disease), including through the use of artificial intelligence (machine and deep learning).  On these studies, she is collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of investigators from Ophthalmology, Geriatrics, Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Dr. Lad is the recipient of the VA Merit Award I01, Patient-Oriented Research Career Development (K23) Award from the National Eye Institute, the 2016 Research to Prevent Blindness Ernest & Elizabeth Althouse Special Scholar Award, the 2016 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award, Heed Foundation award, and Duke Institute for Brain Sciences incubator award, among others. She is a member of the Macula Society, Retina Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, International Society for Eye Research, Society of Heed Fellows, Society for Neuroscience and American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair.

Education & Training

  • Medical Retina Fellowship, Duke Eye Center, Duke University School of Medicine 2011 - 2012

  • 3 year residency, Ophthalmology, Stanford University, School of Medicine 2008 - 2011

  • M.D., Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 2007

  • Ph.D., Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science 2005

  • B.S., Albion College 2000

Selected Grants

ARIS: AMD Ryan Initiative Study awarded by Emmes Corp (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2023

APL2-304 awarded by Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2022

IPA - Dr. Sandra Stinnett awarded by Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

Lightside III CSP005 awarded by LumiThera, Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

IPA - Malina Sexton awarded by Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

IPA - Simone Degan awarded by Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

Pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration awarded by Novartis Pharma AG (Co-Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2021

IPA - Isabelle Doan awarded by Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

BIMD - Collaborate Research Agreement awarded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020


Lad, E. M., et al. “Medical retina.” The Ophthalmology Clinical Trials Handbook, 2015, pp. 49–196.

Ong, Sally S., et al. “Ocular amyloid imaging at the crossroad of Alzheimer's disease and age-related macular degeneration: implications for diagnosis and therapy.J Neurol, vol. 266, no. 7, July 2019, pp. 1566–77. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00415-018-9028-z. Full Text

Chew, Emily Y., et al. “Effect of Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor on Retinal Neurodegeneration in Patients with Macular Telangiectasia Type 2: A Randomized Clinical Trial.Ophthalmology, vol. 126, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 540–49. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.09.041. Full Text

Chan, Victor T. T., et al. “Spectral-Domain OCT Measurements in Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.Ophthalmology, vol. 126, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 497–510. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.08.009. Full Text

Smilnak, Gordon J., et al. “Comorbidity of age-related macular degeneration with Alzheimer's disease: A histopathologic case-control study.Plos One, vol. 14, no. 9, 2019, p. e0223199. Pubmed, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0223199. Full Text

Margeta, Milica A., et al. “CD163+ macrophages infiltrate axon bundles of postmortem optic nerves with glaucoma.Graefe’S Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology = Albrecht Von Graefes Archiv Fur Klinische Und Experimentelle Ophthalmologie, vol. 256, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 2449–56. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s00417-018-4081-y. Full Text

Ong, Sally S., et al. “Controversies and Future Directions of Ocular Biomarkers in Alzheimer Disease.Jama Neurol, vol. 75, no. 6, June 2018, pp. 650–51. Pubmed, doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.0602. Full Text

Thompson, Atalie C., et al. “Review of Ophthalmology Medical Professional Liability Claims in the United States from 2006 through 2015.Ophthalmology, vol. 125, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 631–41. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.11.018. Full Text

Cocce, Kimberly J., et al. “Visual Function Metrics in Early and Intermediate Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration for Use as Clinical Trial Endpoints.Am J Ophthalmol, vol. 189, May 2018, pp. 127–38. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2018.02.012. Full Text

Thompson, Atalie C., et al. “Association of Low Luminance Questionnaire With Objective Functional Measures in Early and Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, vol. 59, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 289–97. Pubmed, doi:10.1167/iovs.17-22528. Full Text

Lad, Eleonora M., et al. “Evaluation of inner retinal layers as biomarkers in mild cognitive impairment to moderate Alzheimer's disease.Plos One, vol. 13, no. 2, 2018, p. e0192646. Pubmed, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192646. Full Text


Lad, Eleonora M., et al. “Identity of pigmented subretinal cells in age-related macular degeneration.Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol, vol. 254, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 1239–41. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s00417-015-3249-y. Full Text

Lad, Eleonora M., et al. “Retinal glioneuronal hamartoma in neurofibromatosis type 1.Arch Ophthalmol, vol. 130, no. 10, Oct. 2012, pp. 1335–37. Pubmed, doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2012.2250. Full Text

Lad, E. M., et al. “Erratum: Retinopathy of prematurity in the United States (British Journal of Ophthalmology (2008) 92 (320-5) DOI: 10.1136/bjo.2007.126201corr1).” British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 94, no. 9, 1 Jan. 2010, p. 1268. Scopus, doi:10.1136/bjo.2007.126201corr1. Full Text