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José Cunha-Vaz, M.D., Ph.D.


José Cunha-Vaz, M.D., Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and Honorary President of the Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image (AIBILI), a not-for-profit Clinical Research Organization. He is now Honorary Editor of Ophthalmic Research and Coordinator of the Diabetic Retinopathy Section of the European Vision Institute Clinical Research Network (

Dr. Cunha-Vaz’s work has included laboratory and clinical research in retina and intraocular fluids with special emphasis on blood-retinal barriers and diabetic retinopathy. He was the first to identify the anatomical basis of the Blood-Retinal Barrier and initiated its clinical measurement by developing vitreous fluorometry, multimodal macular mapping and OCT-Leakage.

He has received the Diaz Caneja Prize of the University of Valladolid (1993), the Paul Henkind Award of the Macula Society (1998), the Alcon Research Institute Award (1998), the Eva Kohner Award from the European Society of Diabetes (2008), Helmholtz Medal of the European Society of Ophthalmology (2008), the Gian Battista Bietti Gold Medal of the Italian Society of Ophthalmology (2010), the BIAL Award (2012) the Weisenfeld Award of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (2014), Prémio Nacional de Saúde, (Portugal 2014), the Albert C. Muse Prize in Ophthalmology (2014), Prize Sociedade de Ciências Médicas de Lisboa (2015) EURETINA Award Lecture (2016), Gold Medal Award (Sociedad Española de Retina y Vitreo (2018). Dr. Cunha-Vaz has received the Orders of Merit and Henry the Navigator from Portugal.


"Professor Rosario Brancato was a kind, loyal and enthusiastic person. He was a true friend of his friends and someone I always felt I could trust. He was always ready to know more and he always tried to contribute with new ideas. He was always very supportive of effort uniting ophthalmology across Europe"