Thomas R. Friberg, MD, FACS

  • Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Director, Medical and Surgical Retinal Diseases
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

A Conversation With Dr. Friberg


Dr. Friberg is Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Chief of the Retina Service and is Professor of Ophthalmology, Bioengineering.  He has a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.  He received his residency training in ophthalmology at Stanford University Medical Center and completed subspecialty training in retinal diseases Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, and vitreous surgery at Duke University Eye Center.  He is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a member of the Retina and Macula Societies, ASRS, and the Club Jules Gonin.  He has served as Program Chairman for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), as the Chairman of Research for the Macula Society, and served on the Executive Committee of the Club Jules Gonin.

He has been Principal Investigator for numerous clinical trials particularly studying macular degeneration, and has authored well over 200 scientific publications.  His special interests include the treatment of macular degeneration, drug delivery strategies, diabetic retinopathy, efficient treatment of retinal detachment, and novel retinal imaging techniques. He is well known nationally and internationally and he has served as Editor in Chief of Seminars in Ophthalmology for more than 20 years. He serves as a grant reviewer for the NIH, the Austrian Science Fund, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. He was selected from among 500 candidates to serve on an international five-person panel to evaluate all University Professor and Assistant Professorship promotions in academic ophthalmology in Italy.  He serves on PhD committees for graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Zagreb, Croatia.   Dr. Friberg also teaches Retinal Fellows/Residents and medical students.  He consistently has been elected to the Best Doctors in America list by his peers for as long as this designation has been made.

Academic Affiliation

1973-1974 Medical Internship, Hennepin County General Hospital, Minneapolis, MN
1974-1977 Ophthalmology Residency: Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA

1978 Retina Fellowship: Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Ophthalmology
1979 Vitreous Fellowship: Duke Eye Center, Durham, NC

1979-1983 Director of Retina Service, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Georgia, Dept. of Ophthalmology, Augusta, GA
1983-1985 Director of Retina Service, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Texas, Health Science Center - Dallas, Department of Ophthalmology, Dallas, TX

1985-1991 Director of Retina Service, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh, Eye and Ear Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA
1985-present Staff appointments: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (formerly Eye and Ear Hospital of Pittsburgh), Veteran's Administration Medical Center

1992-1996 Acting Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
1992-present Director of Retina Service, Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Education & Training

  • University of Minnesota Institute of Technology Minneapolis, MN 1968 Mechanical Engineering B.S.
  • Stanford Grad. Sch. of Engineering, Stanford, CA 1969 Fluid mechanics, heat transfer and design M.S.
  • University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN 1978 Medicine M.D.

Research Interests

Friberg TR, Braunstein RA, Bressler NM: "Sudden Visual Loss Associated with Sexual Activity." Current Awareness in Biomedicine. Sheffield, England. Human Sexuality, Vol. 3, No. 15, August 1995.

Friberg TR, Braunstein RA, Bressler NM: "Sudden Visual Loss Associated with Sexual Activity." Ophthalmology Times 1995.

"Bright future for ER: YAG Laser, Vitreoretinal Surgery, Breaking News." Ophthalmology Times, December 18, 1995, p.10.

Friberg TR: "Sudden Loss of Vision" in Diagnostic Challenges, The Courtlandt Forum, pp 160-165, June 25, 1996.

Emergency Medicine: "Sexual Activity and Sudden Blindness." Excerpta Medica, Inc., January 1996, p. 60.

Friberg TR, Zafiropulos V, Kalaitzaki M, Kowalski R, Petrakis J, Fotakis C: Excimer Laser Cleaning of Mold-91. Contaminated Paper: Sterilization and Air Quality Considerations. Lasers in Medical Science. 12:55-59, 1997.

Friberg TR: Age-related macular degeneration. The Cortlandt Forum. 10(7):173-187, July 1997.

Friberg, TR: Management of bleeding during vitreoretinal surgery. Vitreoretinal Surgery and Technology; September 1997.

Friberg TR, Karatza EC: "The treatment of macular disease using a micropulsed and continuous wave 810 nm diode laser." Ophthalmology, 104: 2030-2038, December 1997.

Friberg TR, Zafiropuloz V, Futakis C: Removal of fungi and stains from paper substrates using excimer laser cleaning strategies. Restauratorenbläter, Verlag, Mayer and Co. Vienna, Austria, 1997.

Friberg, TR: Update on Diabetic Retinopathy. The Courtlandt Forum, 11(9): 185-204, 1998.

Richard-James Silicone Oil Study Group: Azen SP, Scott IU, Flynn HW Jr., et al. Silicone oil in the repair of complex retinal detachments. A prospective observational study. Ophthalmology, 105:1587-1597, 1998.

"New Ideas on Lasering Drusen: minimal lesions, longer time frame." Eye Net of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, September 1998, p. 20.

"Low Intensity Laser: An Option for AMB?" Eye Net of the Academy of Ophthalmology, March 1999, pp. 49-50. Friberg TR: Papilledema, optic neuritis, or neither? The Cordlandt Forum, 12(7): 173-174, July 1999.

Friberg TR: Treatment of macular disease with a binocular indirect ophthalmoscope laser delivery system. Ophthalmic Surg & Lasers, 30(7): 518-522, 1999.

Friberg TR and Guibord NM: Corneal endothelial cell loss after multiple vitreoretinal procedures and the use of silicone oil. Ophthalmic Surg & Lasers, 30(7): 528-534, 1999.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group: The age-related eye disease study (AREDS): Design Implications AREDS Report No. 1. Controlled Clinical Trials, 20:573-600, 1999.

Friberg TR: Editorial: Subthreshold (invisible) modified grid diode laser photocoagulation and diffuse diabetic macular edema (DDME). Ophthalmic Surgery & Lasers, 30(9):705, November/December 1999. 

Friberg TR: The prophylactic treatment of age-related macular degeneration (PTAMD) clinical trial. The IRIS Medical Newsletter, 4(1): pp. 3-4, 1999.

Research Grants

  1. 1990-2000 Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). National Eye Institute, Principal Investigator, $ 3,181,516 total cost-to-date (contract). 
  2. 1995-1998 Prophylactic Diode Laser Photocoagulation for the Prevention of Choroidal Neovascularization in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh, Principal Investigator, $150,000 total cost 
  3. 3/99-2/00 A Phase III randomized, multi-center, double-masked, placebo controlled parallel group study with Tin Ethyl Etiopurpurin photodynamic therapy in the treatment of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization associated with age-related macular degeneration. Miravant Medical Technologies, Principal Investigator, $90,175 total cost. 
  4. 1/00-12/00 A Randomized, Controlled Study on the Efficacy and Safety of Sandostatin LAR in the Therapy of Patients with Moderately Severe or Severe Non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR) or Low Risk Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR). Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Principal Investigator, $73,508 total cost.