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Department of ophthalmology

Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Kohnen

About the department

The department of ophthalmology at University Hospital Frankfurt am Main of Goethe-University offers the entire spectrum of treatment and examination procedures in modern ophthalmology. A professor heads the department with numerous awards, over 30 years of experience, and 650+ publications. Science and research in all critical areas of ophthalmology are the main pillars of the work at the department. Furthermore, in the training of students and young doctors, they implement innovative concepts in individual support. The department was founded in 1910 as the City Eye Clinic, and since then, it has been housed in the buildings of the former Rothschild Foundation (Carolinum). More than 30,000 outpatients and inpatients are treated annually. 

The entire spectrum of modern diagnostic and therapeutic procedures is used for diseases of the anterior and posterior segment of the eye, the optic nerve, the eyelids and tear ducts, the orbit, and in strabismus patients. The particular focus lies on retinal and vitreous surgery, refractive surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, and treatment of squint and glaucoma.

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Treatment and diagnostic focus of the department

Eye diseases:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration, AMD (retinal disorder)
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (retinal disorder)
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity, ROP (retinal disorder)
  • Cataracts (clouding of the eye lens)
  • Glaucoma (eye nerve damage)
  • Keratoconus (corneal deformation)
  • Retinal detachment 
  • Retinal degeneration and retinal holes 
  • Strabismus (squint)
  • Lacrimal Duct Diseases 
  • Uveitis (inflammation of the vascular layer of the eye)
  • Dry eye syndrome

Surgical options:

  • Cataract Surgery 
  • Refractive surgery - freedom from glasses 
  • Plastic and reconstructive eyelid surgery 
  • Corneal interventions
  • Glaucoma surgery
  • Retinal and vitreous body surgery
  • Laser surgery

Outpatient care:

  • Carrying out examinations for the diagnosis and follow-up of eye diseases in cooperation with the resident ophthalmologist
  • Co-evaluation of findings as well as the creation and control
    of therapy plans in cooperation with the resident ophthalmologist 
  • Carrying out examinations to prepare for an operation 
  • Carrying out minor outpatient surgeries (secondary cataract laser, hailstone surgery)
  • Contact lens consultation
  • Emergency care (surgical and conservative)
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Doctor profile


  • 1982-1989 Medicine (Aachen, Bonn, USA) 
  • Approbation as Doctor: 01.02.1991 
  • 2006-2007 Health Care Management at European Business School, International University, Schloß Reichartshausen, Germany Degree: Health Care Management 
  • Doctorate 1989 Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn Dissertation: “Capsular and zonular ruptures as complications of cataract surgery with phacoemulsification“ 06.06.1989, overall rating: summa cum laude 
  • Habilitation treatise 2000 Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt Habilitation treatise: “Holmium: YAG laser thermal keratoplasty to correct hyperopia: Histological, ultrastructural, immunohistochemical, and clinical studies“ 
  • 1994 Specialist in Ophthalmology 
  • 2008 European Board of Ophthalmology (FEBO)


  • Since 2/2012 Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany 
  • 2011 Offer of the Val and Edith Green Presidential Professorship, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA 
  • 2011 Offer of the Professorship and Chairman position for Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Magdeburg, Germany 
  • 2011 Offer of the Professorship and Chairman position for Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology Goethe-University Frankfurt 
  • 2008 Fellow of European Board of Ophthalmologists (FEBO) 
  • 2007 Military Exercise (Chief Staff Surgeon), Military Hospital in Ulm, Germany 
  • 2003 - 2012 Deputy Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Goethe-University Frankfurt 
  • 2003 Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology, Goethe-University Frankfurt 
  • 2001 Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Goethe-University Frankfurt Since 
  • 2000 Visiting Professor of Ophthalmology, Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX/USA 
  • 1997 Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Goethe-University Frankfurt Prof. Dr. Thomas Kohnen, MD, Ph.D., FEBO Professor and Chair, Department of Ophthalmology Goethe University, Frankfurt 
  • 1996 Appointment as Head Surgeon 
  • 1995 – 1997 DFG (German Research Foundation) Scholarship at Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX/USA, “Physiology and pathophysiology of refractive corneal interventions with laser thermal keratoplasty (LTK). An experimental and clinical survey“ 
  • 1995 Traveler Scholarship, International Society for Refractive Surgery, Minneapolis, MN/USA 
  • 1994 – 1995 Assistant Medical Director, Military Hospital, Ulm, Military Service (Medical Officer) and Military Exercise (Chief Staff Surgeon) 
  • 1994 German Board of Ophthalmology, Tübingen, Germany 
  • 1992 – 1993 Scientific Assistant, University Eye Clinic, Gießen, Germany (resident in ophthalmology) 
  • 1991 MD, License to practice medicine 
  • 1989 – 1992 Scientific Assistant, Clinic Dardenne Bonn, Germany (resident in ophthalmology) 
  • 1989 Physician’s Examination 
  • 1986 / 1987 Scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Milan, Italy and Bombay, India

Awards, memberships, publications

  • Best Paper of Session from ASCRS 1994 
  • First Prize of the Festival (co-author) from ESCRS 1994 
  • Best Paper of Session (co-author) from ASCRS 1995 
  • Goar Award (co-author) from Baylor Alumni Meeting, Houston, TX / USA 1996 
  • DOG Research Award - total: 25,000 DM 1996 Kiewiet de Jonge Medal (ESCRS) 2000 
  • DOG Research Award (jointly with Dr. J. Bühren)- Total: $ 50,000 2001 
  • DOG Leonhard Klein Award - Total: € 7,500
  • Achievement Award from the AAO 2002 
  • Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today - Selection as one of the Top 50 opinion leaders 2005-6 
  • Kiewiet de Jonge Medal (Coauthor) from ESCRS 2005 
  • 3rd Prize for Educational Value - ESCRS / Alcon Annual Video Festival 2005 
  • R.M.O. Meeting, Zermatt – Video Winner 2006 
  • DOG Sicca Research Award - total: € 2,500 2007 
  • Senior Achievement Award – For many years of distinguished service in programs of the Society from the Board of Trustees, American Academy of Ophthalmology 2009 
  • FOCUS doctors list 2010 - Expert in refractive surgery and cataract choice- Top doctors 2010 
  • DOC Gold Medal 2010 
  • Prize for Extraordinary Commitment in Teaching 2013 
  • DOC Silver Medal 2014
  • Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft (DOG) [German Ophthalmologist Society]
  • Kommission für Refraktive Chirurgie (KRC) [Commission for Refractive Surgery]
  • Vereinigung Ophthalmologischer Lehrstuhlinhaber e.V. (VOL) [Association of Ophthalmologic Chairholders]
  • Berufsverband der Augenärzte (BVA) [Professional Association of Ophthalmologists]
  • Deutschsprachige Gesellschaft für Intraokularlinsen-Implantation, Interventionelle & Refraktive Chirurgie (DGII) [German-speaking Society for Intraocular Implantation, Intervention and Refractive Surgery]
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS)
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery (ISRS)
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) - Refractive Surgery Interest Group
  • European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS), (former EIIC)
  • International Intraocular Implant Club (IIIC)
  • Vereinigung Rhein-Mainischer Augenärzte [Association of German Rhine-Main Ophthalmologists]
  • Kontrollkommissionen for the Institut für medizinische und pharmazeutische Prüfungsfragen [Monitoring Commission for the Institute for Medicine and Pharmaceutical Examinations]
  • Frankfurter Medizinische Gesellschaft (FMG)
  • Author of more than 650 publications
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