Michael M. Altaweel, MD

Michael M. Altaweel, MD

Professor, Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Director


Appointments and Honors

Vitreoretinal Surgery Fellowship Director
Co-Director of the Wisconsin Reading Center
Monroe E. Trout Chair in Eye Research, McPherson Eye Research Institute


Retina, macula and vitreous diseases; ocular oncology

Medical and Surgical Interests

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Dislocated lens/intraocular lens
  • Epiretinal membrane
  • Macular degeneration
  • Macular hole
  • Ocular oncology
  • Ocular trauma
  • Ocular tumors/melanoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • Vascular occlusive disease

Research Interests

  • Retina imaging
  • Diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, macular edema
  • Diseases of the retina
  • ADalimumab vs. conventional ImmunoSuppression therapy for patients with non-infectious, intermediate, posterior, and panuveitides
  • Uveitic macular edema
  • Ocular melanoma

Research Highlights

Dr. Altaweel, along with international partners and in collaboration with the global drug company, Bausch and Lomb, published work that describes whether an intravitreous fluocinolone acetonide implant would improve visual outcomes in patients with uveitis when compared to systemic corticosteroid therapy. The findings were complicated by loss of follow-up given the length of the study, but do indicate that systemic therapy had significantly better visual acuity outcomes. This will impact patient care and has resulted in over 10,500 views and 27 citations via the JAMA Network.
Association between long-lasting intravitreous fluocinolone acetonide implant vs systemic anti-inflammatory therapy and visual acuity at 7 years among patients with intermediate, posterior, or panuveitis

Further, Dr. Michael Altaweel collaborated in the analysis of data from the second year of a multi-center consecutive randomized controlled trial to study the effect of the drug pegaptanib, an inhibitor of VEGF165, on neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The trial was in collaboration with the global pharmaceutical company, Eyetech. In year one of the trial, vision loss was reduced when provided the drug and the year 2 findings maintained this benefit. It was also found that progression to legal blindness was reduced in those that received pegaptanib over the 2 years. Importantly, these results also indicated that VEGF165 plays an important role in the progression of the disease.
Year 2 efficacy results of 2 randomized controlled clinical trials of pegaptanib for neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Dr. Michael Altaweel recently published on a new technique for the use of silicone oil, an invaluable tool often used as a vitreous substitute. However, previous techniques using silicone oil had been known to lead to various complications including elevated IOP.  Dr. Altaweel pioneered a technique that uses the pressurized air infusion line of the constellation vitrectomy machine which avoids overfill and underfill, a common problem, and produces consistent IOP.
Reservoir technique: a novel method for pressure-controlled silicone oil infusion using the constellation vitrectomy system


Fellowship: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI

Residency: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Internship: Ottawa Civic Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Medical School: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada