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Jose Cunha-Vaz

Prof. José Cunha-Vaz is Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal and President of the Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image.

Short CV

Born November 5, 1938, Coimbra, Portugal
Married. Three children.
1962 M.D., University of Coimbra, Portugal
1965 Ph.D., University of London, United Kingdom
1967 Doctor, Medical Science, University of Coimbra, Portugal. 
  Certified of American and Portuguese Boards of Ophthalmology (1969)
F.A.A.O. - Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (1981)
F.C. Ophth. - Fellow of the College of Ophthalmologists - U.K. 
  • President of the Board of Administration of AIBILI (Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image)
  • Coordinator, Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinal Vascular Diseases Section,
  • Editor-in-Chief of Ophthalmologica 

Scientifc Interest

Main areas of interest: Retina; Diabetic Retinopathy; Blood-Retinal Barrier; Phenotyping retinal degenerations

  • José Cunha-Vaz identified the Blood-Retinal Barrier (BRB), their tight interendothelial junctions, measured its permeability and demonstrated the presence of active transport systems. These findings are fundamental for understanding retinal disease.
  • José Cunha-Vaz developed vitreous fluorometry and the retinal leakage analyzer, for clinical evaluation of the BRB. With these methods he delineated the importance of BRB in retinal disease.
  • Recently, José Cunha-Vaz introduced multimodal macula mapping leading to the identification of different phenotypes of diabetic retinopathy.


  • Academia Ophthalmologica Internationallis
  • European Academy of Ophthalmology
  • European Society of Retinal Specialists (Euretina)
  • Jules Gonin Club
Dr. José Cunha-Vaz
Dr. José Cunha-Vaz

Research Group

Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image

More information about AIBILI



Azinhaga de Santa Comba, Celas

Phone: +351 239 480 100
Fax: +351 239 480 117

cunhavaz[at] / aibili[at]


Key Publications

  • Cunha-Vaz, J.G., Shakib, M., Ashton, N.: 
    Studies on the permeability of the blood-ocular barrier.  I. On the existence, development and site of a blood-retinal barrier.
    Br. J. Ophthalmol.  1966, 50:411-453.
  • Shakib, M., Cunha-Vaz, J.G.:
    Studies on the permeability of the blood-retinal barrier.  IV. Junctional complexes of the retinal vessels and their role on their permeability.
    Exp. Eye Res. 1966, 5:229-234.
  • Cunha-Vaz, J.G., Maurice, D.M.:
    The active transport of fluorescein by retinal vessels and the retina.
    J. Physiol.  1967, 191:467-486.
  • Cunha-Vaz, J.G., Faria de Abreu, J.R., Campos, A.J., Figo, G.:
    Early breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier in diabetes. 
    Br. J. Ophthalmol. 1975, 59:649-656. 
  • Cunha-Vaz, J.G.:
    Vitreous fluorophotometry. 
    Prog. Retinal Res. 1984, 89-114.
  • Lobo, C.L. Bernardes, R.C., Figueira, J.P., Faria de Abreu, J.R., Cunha-Vaz, J.G.:
    Three-year follow-up of blood retinal barrier and retinal thickness alterations in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and mild nonproliferative retinopathy. 
    Arch. Ophthalmol. 2004, 122: 211-217.
  • Cunha-Vaz J.G., Bernardes, R.:
    Nonproliferative retinopathy in diabetes type 2. Initial stages and characterization of phenotypes. 
    Progr. Retinal Eye Res. 2005, 24:355-377.

Research Groups