The only one of its kind in the Commonwealth, VCU’s ophthalmic genetics service provides care for patients across Virginia and in surrounding states with known or suspected inherited eye diseases. Led by ophthalmic geneticist Dr. Natario Couser, whom is one of only a few individuals currently board certified by both the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, the clinic specializes in diagnosing and caring for both children and adult patients with genetic conditions involving the eyes, such as:

  • Albinism
  • Chromosomal disorders
  • Corneal dystrophies
  • Craniofacial syndromes
  • Hereditary optic neuropathies
  • Leber congenital amaurosis
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Stargardt disease
  • Usher syndrome
  • X-linked retinoschisis

The process of diagnosing a rare genetic disease can be challenging, and our team utilizes a broad range of clinical evaluations, techniques and services, including the following:

  • Comprehensive dilated eye examination
  • Electroretinography (ERG) testing
  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetic testing
  • Ophthalmic imaging
  • Visual field testing

Following a molecular diagnosis, our clinic also provides patients and families with information on support groups, relevant clinical trials and treatment options. We may also be able to connect patients with others who have the same rare condition, when desired.

Learn more about the ophthalmic genetics clinic

Natario Couser, M.D., M.S.

“We’re solving a mystery. Looking at an eye problem from a genetic angle often gives families a long-awaited diagnosis and it changes their world.”



Throughout their training, residents manage pediatric and adult patients with rare genetic eye conditions and can participate in related research projects. Our residency provides a unique opportunity to see these rare genetic eye disorders at a high volume and work and train alongside an expert team of ophthalmologists and genetic counselors to provide diagnoses and care for these patients and their families.

Learn more about the ophthalmology residency

Our Team

Natario L. Couser, M.D.

Natario L. Couser, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Natario L. Couser, M.D.

Natario L. Couser, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Ophthalmology

View Faculty Expertise Profile