Director, Visual Function/Electrophysiology Laboratory
Dr. Mary A. Johnson was a specialist in vision. A graduate of the University of Delaware (B.A. in biology and psychology, with distinction) and the Johns Hopkins University (M.A., Ph.D. in physiological psychology), she studies how normal vision works so that she can understand what is going wrong when vision is reduced. This helps her to diagnose eye problems when the eye doctor cannot find a reason for vision loss.
She studied ophthalmology as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wilmer Institute of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1982-1983, and thereafter dedicated herself to clinical research and patient care. She joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1983, and directed the Visual Function/Electrophysiology Laboratory at the Wilmer Institute from 1983-1993. She left Wilmer as an associate professor in 1993, and joined the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she is now a tenured associate professor and Director of the Visual Function/Electrophysiology Laboratory.
In 1993, Dr. Johnson was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, an international society of optical scientists and engineers. She was awarded this honor "For advancing the knowledge of electroretinography in normal eyes and in eyes with retinal disease." She served as a member of the Optical Society's Board of Directors from 1991-1993, and she chaired their annual meeting in Long Beach, California, in 1997.
Dr. Johnson was honored to receive the Walt and Lilly Disney Award in 2003 from the organization Research to Prevent Blindness, for her work in amblyopia research. She is continuing this work today, along with a number of other lines of research. She is best known for her work in studying retinal vascular disease in individuals who have diabetes or other disorders that cause a disruption in circulation to the eye. She has authored numerous original research papers, and has given talks about her research around the world. She has taught national courses in clinical electrophysiology.