Dr. David Musch

David C. Musch, PhD, MPH

Emeritus Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Emeritus Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health
Office: 734-763-8175

Administrative Contact

Jennifer Allen: 734-936-9503


David C. Musch holds professorships in two University of Michigan schools: his primary appointment is Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in the Medical School, and his joint appointment is Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. He is also a Faculty Associate for Global REACH at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Musch received his undergraduate training and degree in the arts and sciences (BS) at Calvin College in 1976, where his major was in biology and chemistry. He then earned his master’s degree in public health (MPH), with an epidemiology focus at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health in 1978. After a summer internship at Monsanto Chemical in St. Louis, MO, he then completed a doctor of philosophy (PhD) program in epidemiologic science in 1981, with a dissertation that addressed inter-observer variation in the interpretation of chest radiographs for pneumoconiosis, at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School. In June 1981, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology as a Research Investigator, and in 1991 received a joint appointment on the faculty of the Department of Epidemiology. In 2003, he was promoted to Professor with tenure in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, and in 2016 was promoted to full Professor within the Department of Epidemiology. He also was a Visiting Professor at the Wenzhou Medical University, PR China from 2014-17.

While he serves as a senior methodologist within his primary Department, which has provided a diversity of research involvements across the spectrum of ophthalmic diseases, his research has focused on corneal transplantation outcomes, clinical trials of treatments for glaucoma, and best practices for the screening and care of prevalent childhood eye diseases.

Dr. Musch was appointed as a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology in 1997, a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in 2009, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2021. He has received multiple awards for his service to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), including its Honor Award (1990), Secretariat Award (2003, 2006, & 2013), its Senior Achievement Award (2006), and its Life Achievement Award (2020). He received the Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award from Research to Prevent Blindness, New York, NY in 2009.

He currently serves on the Advisory Group for the Cochrane Collaboration Eyes and Vision Group US Project, as the AAO’s methodology consultant for its Preferred Practice Pattern Committee, on the National Eye Institute’s Intramural Branch Data and Safety Monitoring Committee, and on multiple monitoring boards for ongoing clinical trials of treatments for glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, uveitis, and other diseases of the ocular system. He is a member of the editorial boards for three journals: JAMA Ophthalmology, Retina, and Eye and Vision, and a frequently called upon scientific reviewer for grant applications submitted to governmental agencies in the United States, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Areas of Interest

Research Summary

Epidemiological research (both observational and interventional designs) on common ophthalmic conditions, with a particular focus on glaucoma treatment, corneal transplantation outcomes, studies of childhood eye disorders. Advisor and consultant to multiple clinical research studies in the Department.

Patient-oriented clinical research at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center is thriving and active, with multiple clinical studies in the planning stage, in progress, or nearing completion at any time. In order to yield findings that are scientifically valid, these studies must be based on an appropriate design and rely on valid methods. Dr. David Musch, an epidemiologist, advises both clinicians and basic scientists about constructing research proposals, designing valid studies, and collecting outcome data. Once the data have been gathered, Dr. Musch advises on appropriate analytical methods, interpretation of results, and presentation of findings.

His own research addresses measures of treatment efficacy, disparities in eye care, multicenter clinical trial coordination, and variation in measurement and diagnostic abilities. From 1993 to 2004, Dr. Musch directed the Coordinating Center for the NIH-funded Collaborative Initial Glaucoma Treatment Study, and since then has been continuously funded by the National Eye Institute to gain insights from the data gathered on this study’s participants. His multicenter clinical trial involvement and methodological expertise has led to teaching courses on clinical trial principles and methods in the US and internationally. He is a member of the National Eye Institute’s Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for its intramural branch clinical trials, and is currently involved on Data and Safety Monitoring Boards for NIH and company-sponsored clinical trials of treatments for glaucoma, corneal transplantation, neovascular and geographic forms of age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, uveitis, macular telangiectasia type 2, presbyopia, retinitis pigmentosa, and gene therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis. 

Dr. Musch participates in research with colleagues in other departments in the Medical School, the School of Public Health, and other institutions. For example, he is working with Dr. Rachel Schumann of the State of Michigan’s Vision Screening Program on studies to improve the detection of childhood vision disorders and enhance follow-up of children who fail vision screening. 


  • PhD - Epidemiologic Science, University of Michigan
  • MPH - Public Health, Epidemiology, University of Michigan 

Published Articles or Reviews

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