Justis P. Ehlers, MD

Department Ophthalmology
Primary Location Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Type of Doctor Adults Only
Languages English
Surgeon Yes
Locations Specialties & Treatments

Treatment & Services

  • Vitreoretinal Surgery
View all 1 Treatment & Services +

Specialty in Diseases & Conditions

  • Acquired Vitreoretinal Diseases
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cystoid Macular Edema
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Endophthalmitis
  • Eye Injuries
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Macroglobulinemia
  • Macular Hole
  • Macular Pucker
  • Ocular Injuries
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion
View all 13 Specialties +


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About Justis P. Ehlers, MD

Justis P. Ehlers, MD, is a Staff physician on the vitreoretinal service of the Cole Eye Institute in the Department of Ophthalmology at Cleveland Clinic. He was appointed in 2010. Dr. Ehlers received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude at the University of Notre Dame. He completed his medical degree at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Following medical school, he did an internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and served as Chief Resident from 2004-2005. From the Wills Eye Institute, Dr. Ehlers then completed a vitreoretinal surgery and disease fellowship at the Duke Eye Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

Clinically, Dr. Ehlers specializes in the diagnosis and management of medical and surgical vitreoretinal diseases including: age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), retinal vascular occlusive disease, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, myopic degeneration, cystoid macular edema, ocular trauma, epiretinal membranes, vitreomacular traction syndrome, and macular holes.

Active in research, Dr. Ehlers has participated as a co-investigator on numerous clinical trials including studies on macular degeneration, vitreoretinal interface abnormalities, retinal venous occlusive disease, and ophthalmic imaging.

Dr. Ehlers has a particular interest in advanced vitreoretinal imaging, including intraoperative optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT is a non-contact imaging modality that provides high resolution cross-sectional and three-dimensional information of tissue architecture and microstructure. While working with Dr. Cynthia Toth at Duke University, Dr. Ehlers tested and optimized a prototype operating microscope integrated OCT system allowing for real-time OCT-based visualization of intraocular maneuvers. Intraoperative OCT allows for direct feedback of the surgeon regarding the impact of surgical maneuvers and the need or lack of need for additional intervention. Complementing the use of intraoperative OCT, Dr. Ehlers is currently developing novel OCT-friendly surgical instrumentation. Dr. Ehlers is a major contributor to the medical literature having authored more than 50 original reports, book chapters, electronic publications, and scientific abstracts. Additionally, Dr. Ehlers was the co-chief editor of the Wills Eye Manual, 5th Edition, one of the best-selling texts in ophthalmology. He currently serves as a scientific reviewer for numerous ophthalmic journals and has served as an associate editor of the journal, Retina. Dr. Ehlers serves on the American Academy of Ophthalmology COMPASS Retina Subspecialty committee and previously served as an American Academy of Ophthalmology congressional advocacy ambassador.

Education & Professional Highlights

Education & Professional Highlights


Education & Fellowships

Fellowship - Duke University Medical Center
Vitreoretinal Surgery
Durham, NC USA

Residency - Wills Eye Hospital
Philadelphia, PA USA

Internship - Saint Luke's Hospital
Preliminary Medicine
Chesterfield, MO USA

Medical School - Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO USA

Undergraduate - University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN USA

Professional Highlights

  • Co-chief Editor, Wills Eye Manual, 5th edition.
  • Heed Fellow and Ronald G. Michels Fellow, Duke Eye Center
  • Chief Resident, Wills Eye Institute
  • Associate Editor, Retina, 2009-2010.


  • Ophthalmology

Specialty Interests

Diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, retinal vein occlusions, macular holes, macular puckers and epiretinal membranes, eye injuries and ocular trauma, myopic degeneration, retinal artery occlusions, cystoid macular edema, histoplasmosis, choroidal neovascularization, retinal neovascularization, and other vitreoretinal diseases. Advanced vitreoretinal imaging, with particular interest in optical coherence tomography (OCT) and utilizing OCT in the operating room to improve our understanding of vitreoretinal surgical diseases and the ultrastructural impact of surgical maneuvers, to help guide surgical interventions and improve outcomes.

Awards & Honors

  • Ronald G. Michels Fellowship Award, 2009
  • Heed Fellowship Award, 2008
  • Shipman Award, 2008
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, 2003
  • Senior Merit Scholar, 2003
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2000

Innovations & Patents

  • Furthering the progress of the use of intraoperative optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the study of vitreoretinal surgical diseases and the impact of surgical manipulations on microstructural anatomy, such as with optic-pit related maculopathy.
  • Development of the use of OCT contrast agents for enhanced visualization of tissue interfaces for ophthalmic applications of OCT imaging, including the development of “functional OCT” for incisional integrity assessment.
  • Optimization and testing of OCT integration into the surgical microscope, allowing for real-time visualization of surgical maneuvers, characterization of intraocular instrumentations, and optimization of capturing OCT-visualized intraoperative motion.


  • American Society of Retina Specialists, 2008- present
  • Society of Heed Fellows, 2008- present
  • Wills Eye Hospital Society, 2008 - present
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 2006 - present
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2005 - present
  • American Medical Association, 2003 - present
Research & Publications

Research & Publications

See publications for Justis P. Ehlers, MD.

(Disclaimer: This search is powered by PubMed, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed is a third-party website with no affiliation with Cleveland Clinic.)

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists may collaborate with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries to help develop medical breakthroughs or provide medical expertise or education. Cleveland Clinic strives to make scientific advances that will benefit patient care and support outside relationships that promise public benefit. In order for the discoveries of Cleveland Clinic physicians' and scientists' laboratories and investigations to benefit the public, these discoveries must be commercialized in partnership with industry. As experts in their fields, Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists are often sought after by industry to consult, provide expertise and education.

To assure professional and commercial integrity in such matters, Cleveland Clinic maintains a program that reviews these collaborations and, when appropriate, puts measures in place to minimize bias that may result from ties to industry. Cleveland Clinic publicly discloses the names of companies when (i) its physicians/scientists receive $5,000 or more per year (or, in rare cases, equity or stock options) for speaking and consulting, (ii) its physicians/scientists serve as a fiduciary, (iii) its physicians/scientists receive or have the right to receive royalties or (iv) its physicians/ scientists hold any equity interest for the physician's/scientist's role as inventor, discoverer, developer, founder or consultant.* In publicly disclosing this information, Cleveland Clinic tries to provide information as accurately as possible about its physicians' and scientists' connections with industry.

As of 2/25/2016, Dr. Ehlers has reported the financial relationships with the companies listed below. In general, patients should feel free to contact their doctor about any of the relationships and how the relationships are overseen by Cleveland Clinic. To learn more about Cleveland Clinic's policies on collaborations with industry and innovation management, go to our Integrity in Innovation page.

Consulting and/or Speaking. Dr. Ehlers receives fees of $5,000 or more per year as a paid consultant, speaker or member of an advisory committee for the following companies:

  • Leica Microsystems GmbH
  • Bioptigen, Inc.
  • ThromboGenics NV
  • Alcon, Inc.

Royalty Payments. Dr. Ehlers receives or has the right to receive royalty payments for inventions or discoveries commercialized through the companies shown below:

  • Bioptigen, Inc.
  • Synergetics USA, Inc.

Public Health Service-Reportable Financial Conflicts of Interest. Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians engage in basic, translational and clinical research activities, working to solve health problems, enhance patient care and improve quality of life for patients. Interactions with industry are essential to bringing the researchers' discoveries to the public, but can present the potential for conflicts of interest related to their research activities. Click here to view a listing of instances where Cleveland Clinic has identified a Public Health Service (PHS)-Reportable Financial Conflict of Interest and has put measures in place to ensure that, to the extent possible, the design, conduct and reporting of the research is free from bias.

* Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists subscribe to the guidance presented in the PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and the AdvaMed Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals. As such, gifts of substantial value are generally prohibited.

Patient Satisfaction Reviews

235 Patient Satisfaction Reviews

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

The comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cleveland Clinic.

Overall Star Ratings
4.9 out of 5
Explains 4.9
Listens 5
Courtesy, Respect & Concern 5
Knows Medical History 4.9
Time Spent with Patient 4.9
Patient Rating of Doctor 4.9

18 Patient Comments

Reviewed on Feb 28, 2017

Dr. Ehlers is remarkable .. very pleased that I came to Cleveland and he is my doctor.

Reviewed on Jan 24, 2017

I appreciated having very specific written instructions and was encouraged to call the MD any time with questions.

Reviewed on Jan 12, 2017

Was really worried about my surgery w/Dr. Ehlers. Everything went great.

Reviewed on Jan 10, 2017

I can't say enough good things about Dr. Ehlers. He is extremely knowledgeable, kind, and caring. He listens to and is respectful of his patients. He saved my eyesight and did not do invasive procedures recommended by some others ophthalmologists. I am very grateful to him.

Reviewed on Jan 3, 2017

Dr. Ehlers is very professional, knowledgeable, and carting

Reviewed on Dec 22, 2016

the best doctor ever

Reviewed on Dec 22, 2016

Dr. Ehllers is very professional and explains everything in a way I understand and answers any questions I have. He's a great doctor.

Reviewed on Dec 20, 2016

great job

Reviewed on Nov 15, 2016

All good experiences and results

Reviewed on Oct 4, 2016

Very good.

Reviewed on Sep 20, 2016

Dr. Ehlers is exceptional. He listens well to my concerns, is always responsive and has great interpersonal skills. I trust him and his professional expertise.

Reviewed on Sep 6, 2016

I receive injections for macular degeneration from Dr. Ehlers. I developed a staph infection after one injection. The experience was painful and frightening in its impact on my vision. Dr. Ehlers and his team were outstanding in working with me medically and in calming my fear. I felt at all times that I was receiving the best possible care and that my outcome would be the best it was possible to achieve. My vision has improved steadily for which I am extremely grateful which I owe to the excellent care I received.

Reviewed on Aug 23, 2016

All were great

Reviewed on Aug 18, 2016

It is a great staff at this office.

Reviewed on Aug 16, 2016

I get to see him again in four months it is a good day

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2016

My progress is discussed each month--and joint discussion as to continuing procedures. The excellence of the care and Dr. Ehlers personal concern have 'made the difference' for me.

Reviewed on May 17, 2016

Dr. Ehlers has always been very clear on instructions about treatment and follow-up care. He has always listened closely to my comments and questions and addressed items in a clear manner.

Reviewed on Apr 28, 2016

Each visit Dr. Ehlers reviews my current situation, and we discuss together--the best choice of treatment. He always takes the time to explain, review and then we decide together. Frankly, I cannot praise him enough.

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