Fernanda Abalem, M.D.

Fernanda Abalem, MD

Adjunct Research Assistant Professor


Maria Fernanda Abalem, MD, MsC, PhD, is a medical uveitis and surgical retinal specialist with expertise in conditions of inherited retinal degeneration (IRD). She was trained at the Kellogg Eye Center by Drs. Thiran Jayasundera and John Heckenlively between 2016-2018 and joined the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center in 2019 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Abalem splits her time between Ann Arbor, MI and Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she still maintains a clinical practice and serves on faculty at University of Sao Paulo.

Dr. Abalem is a research faculty at the University of Michigan with ongoing projects in structural and functional endpoints for therapeutic clinical trials, patient reported outcomes (PRO), image informatics (artificial intelligence to characterize phenotype and predict disease progression), and genotype-phenotype correlations. She serves on ARVO Professional Development and Education Committee (PDEC) and co-chairs the planning committee for the Big Data and Career Development meetings.

Areas of Interest

Research Summary

Prior to joining as faculty, Dr. Abalem was a Foundation Fighting Blindness fellowship awardee at the Kellogg Eye Center, during which she published extensively on Stargardt disease, X-linked retinoschisis, structural-functional characterization in IRDs, and patient reported outcomes.

Dr. Abalem is a co-inventor of the Michigan Retinal Degeneration Questionnaire (MRDQ), a validated patient-reported outcomes measure for inherited retinal degeneration.

Clinical Interests

Inherited retinal degenerations, ophthalmic genetics, patient reported outcomes, artificial intelligence.

Published Articles or Reviews

  1. Abalem MF; Rodrigues MPM.; Abalem JC; Mendonça RC. Ocular barotrauma during scuba diving. Rev Bras Oftalmologia. 2011;70(6):419-422. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-72802011000600017
  2. Lima FB, Abalem MF, Ruiz DG, et al. Prevalence of eye disease in Brazilian patients with psoriatic arthritis. Clinics (Sao Paulo) 2012;67(3):249-253. PMID:22473406Carricondo PC, Tanaka T, Shibata ST, Zacharias LC, Leite TA, Abalem MF, Takahashi WY. Socioeconomic barriers to rhegmatogenous detachment surgery in Brazil. J Ophthalmol 2014;2014:452152. PMID: 25506423
  3. Abalem MF, Francischini S, Carricondo PC, Graziano RM. Fundus autofluorescence in Tay-Sachs disease. JAMA Ophthalmol 2014;132(7):876. PMID:24852271
  4. Abalem MF, Carricondo PC, Pimentel SL, Takahashi WY. Idiopathic organ transplant chorioretinopathy after liver transplantation. Case Rep Ophthalmol Med 2015;2015:964603. PMID: 25861498
  5. Abalem MF, Machado MC, Santos HN, et al. Choroidal and Retinal Abnormalities by Optical Coherence Tomography in Endogenous Cushing's Syndrome. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2016;7:154. PMID: 28018289
  6. Abalem MF, Carricondo PC, Rao RC. Bullseye Retinopathy from Antiretroviral Therapy. Ophthalmology 2017;124(10):1539. PMID: 28938929
  7. Abalem MF, Carricondo PC, Santos H, et al. Confluent Endpoint Subthreshold Argon Laser for Serous Macular Detachment in Tilted Disc Syndrome Refractory to Anti-VEGF. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging Retina 2017;48(9):760-763. PMID: 28902338
  8. Grisolia ABD, Abalem MF, Lu Y, Aoki L, Matayoshi S. Teleophthalmology: where are we now? Arq Bras Oftalmol 2017;80(6):401-406. PMID: 29267581
  9. Abalem MF, Qian CX, Branham K, et al. Double hyperautofluorescent ring on fundus autofluorescence in ABCA4. Ophthalmic Genet 2018;39(1):87-91. PMID: 28726568
  10. Qian CX, Wang A, DeMill DL, Jayasundera T, Branham K, Abalem MF, Khan N, Heckenlively JR. Prevalence of Antiretinal Antibodies in Acute Zonal Occult Outer Retinopathy: A Comprehensive Review of 25 Cases. Am J Ophthalmo. 2017;176:210-218. PMID: 27993590
  11. Abalem MF, Otte B, Andrews C, et al. Peripheral Visual Fields in ABCA4 Stargardt Disease and Correlation With Disease Extent on Ultra-widefield Fundus Autofluorescence. Am J Ophthalmol 2017;184:181-188. PMID: 29038010
  12. Zhao PY, Abalem MF, Nadelman D, et al. Peripheral Pigmented Retinal Lesions in Stargardt Disease. Am J Ophthalmol. 2018;188:104-110. PMID: 29288030
  13. Abalem MF, Rao PK, Rao RC. Nystagmus and Platinum Hair. Jama 2018;319(4):399-400. PMID:29362773
  14.  Abalem MF, Johnson MW, Jayasundera T. Progressive Bilateral Cecocentral Scotomata. JAMA Ophthalmol 2018; Jan 1;137(1):107-108. PMID: 30347014
  15. Abalem MF, Zhao PY, Rao RC. A Flushed Face and Dilated Retinal Veins. Jama Ophthalmol 2018; Dec 1;136(12):1414-1415. PMID: 30267052
  16. Abalem MF, Eagle K, Rao RC. Painless in the Neck: A Search for a Cause of Unilateral Retinopathy. Brit Med Journal 2018; Jun 14;361:k1703. PMID: 29903774
  17. Abalem MF, Musch DC, Birch DG, Pennesi ME, Jayasundera T. Diurnal variations of foveoschisis by optical coherence tomography in patients with RS1 X-linked retinoschisis. Ophthalmic Genet 2018; Aug;39(4):437-442. PMID:29902095
  18. Alahmadi B, Omari A, Abalem MF, Andrews C, Schlegel D, Branham K, Khan NW, Fahim AT, Jayasundera T. Contrast Sensitivity Deficits in Patients with Mutation-Proven Inherited Retinal Degenerations. BMC Ophthalmol 2018; Dec 7;18(1):313. PMID: 30526558
  19.  Araujo RB, Azevedo BMS, Andrade TS, Abalem MF, Monteiro MLR, Carricondo PC. Subconjunctival 0.1% epinephrine versus placebo in maintenance of mydriasis during vitrectomy: a randomized controlled trial. Intl J Ret Vitreous 2018; Oct 17;4:38. PMID: 30349740
  20. Motta AAL, Bonanomi MTBC, Abalem MF, Damico FM et al. Short-term effects of intravitreal bevacizumab in contrast sensitivity of patients with diabetic macular edema and optimizing glycemic control. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2019 Feb 11;149:170-178. PMID: 30763599
  21. Abalem MF, Omari AA, Schlegel D, Khan NW, Jayasundera T. Macular hyperpigmentary changes in ABCA4-Stargardt disease. Int J Retina Vitreous 2019;5:9. PMID: 30984415
  22. Hall L, Frizzera LP, Coelho LF, Carricondo PC, Oyamada MK, Pimentel SLG, Abalem MF. Prospective Evaluation of Intravitreal Bevacizumab for Ischemic Central Retinal Vein
  23. Occlusion. Int J Retina Vitreous 2019;5:32. PMID: 3137224
  24. Alghanem H, Padhi TR, Chen A, Niziol LM, Abalem MF, Dakki N, et al. Comparison of Fundus-Guided Microperimetry and Multifocal Electroretinography for Evaluating Hydroxychloroquine Maculopathy. Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2019;8(5):19.
  25. Abalem MF, Nazareth Veloso Dos Santos H, Garcia R, Chen XD, Carricondo PC, Cabral Zacharias L, et al. The effect of glycaemia on choroidal thickness in different stages of diabetic retinopathy. Ophthalmic Res. 2020.
  26. Lacy GD, Abalem MF, Musch DC, Jayasundera KT. Patient-reported outcome measures in inherited retinal degeneration gene therapy trials. Ophthalmic genetics. 2020;41(1):1-6.
  27. Lacy GD, Abalem MF, Popova LT, Santos EP, Yu G, Rakine HY, et al. Content generation for patient-reported outcome measures for retinal degeneration therapeutic trials. Ophthalmic genetics. 2020;41(4):315-24.
  28. Lacy GD, Abalem MF, Andrews CA, Popova LT, Santos EP, Yu G, et al. The Michigan Retinal Degeneration Questionnaire: A Patient Reported Outcomes Instrument for Inherited Retinal Degenerations. American journal of ophthalmology. 2020.
  29. Mohammed S, Li Tingyang, Abalem MF et al. Density-based classification in diabetic retinopathy through thickeness of retinal layers from optical coherence tomography. Sci Rep.2020

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