Photo of John Kempen
John Kempen, MD, MPH, PhD, MHS
Affiliate, Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
Senior Scientist, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute

In partnership with Dr. Megan Murray, Dr. Kempen explores the practice of medicine and to health systems development, especially in the areas of ophthalmology and inflammatory eye disease in low-income countries.

Dr. John Kempen is well-known nationally and internationally as an expert in ocular inflammatory diseases—such as uveitis, scleritis, and others—as well as ocular complications of AIDS. He is also engaged in international research in India and Ethiopia regarding ophthalmic epidemiology and trachoma research.

Dr. Kempen is Co-Founder and President of Sight for Souls, a US 501(c)(3) charity developing self-sustaining, tertiary eye institutes in developing countries as a strategy to address global blindness through self-sustaining service delivery, public health outreach, training and research. Approximately 80% of global blindness and low vision requires individual-level clinical care, which is directly addressed by this strategy.

Dr. Kempen has doctoral training in epidemiology, and masters-level training in biostatistics and public health.  He has completed research fellowships in clinical trials and in preventive ophthalmology.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and a member of the American Uveitis Society, the International Uveitis Study Group, the Society for Clinical Trials, and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.  He was appointed by President Bush to serve as a member of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (2004-2008), and has approximately 150 publications in the leading journals of his specialty. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Ophthalmic Epidemiology.

Clinical Interests

Uveitis, iritis, pars planitis, panuveitis, sympathetic ophthalmia, choroiditis, retinitis, neuroretinitis, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease, Fuchs’ heterochromic cyclitis, retinal vasculitis, serpiginous retinochoroiditis, birdshot chorioretinitis, immunosuppressive therapy for eye disease, scleritis, orbital inflammatory disease, ocular complications of AIDS, cytomegalovirus retinitis, acute retinal necrosis, infectious retinitis, toxoplasmic retinitis, trachoma, international ophthalmology, Ethiopia, India.

  1. Epidemiology of Scleritis in the United Kingdom From 1997 to 2018: Population-Based Analysis of 11 Million Patients and Association Between Scleritis and Infectious and Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Disease. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2021 07; 73(7):1267-1276.

  2. Decreased risk of non-infectious anterior uveitis with statin therapy in a large healthcare claims database. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2021 Sep; 259(9):2783-2793.

  3. Dropped Nucleus during Cataract Surgery in South India: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2021 May 12; 1-8.

  4. Response to comments: Making the decision to donate eye organs: Perspectives from the families of the deceased in Madurai, India. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2021 04; 69(4):1020-1021.

  5. Risk of Cataract in Intermediate Uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 Mar 10; 229:200-209.

  6. Risk of Non-infectious Uveitis with Metformin Therapy in a Large Healthcare Claims Database. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2021 Mar 08; 1-7.

  7. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme-Inhibitors and Incidence of Non-infectious Uveitis in a Large Healthcare Claims Database. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2021 Feb 23; 1-6.

  8. Contemporaneous Risk Factors for Visual Acuity in Non-Infectious Uveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2021 Feb 23; 1-8.

  9. The Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS)-1: A Multinational Review of 447 Patients with Tubercular Intermediate Uveitis and Panuveitis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2020 Nov 17; 1-11.

  10. SARS-CoV-2 Serosurvey in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 11; 103(5):2022-2023.

More publications on Dr. Kempen's Mass Eye and Ear webpage.