Veena Rao, MD | FLACS | Cataract Surgeon
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Dr. Veena Rao is an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon specializing in glaucoma and cataracts. A native North Carolinian, she earned her Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in Biology and English literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following college, she completed a Master’s degree in Biology at Oxford University in the United Kingdom before specializing in medicine at Yale Medical School, graduating with Honors. She then returned to North Carolina for her residency in ophthalmology and fellowship in glaucoma at the Duke Eye Center at the Duke University School of Medicine. For her surgical skill during her ophthalmology training, she earned the K. Alexander Dastgheib, MD, Eye Surgery award, which recognizes a Duke ophthalmologist who demonstrates excellence in eye surgery. She has a special research interest in glaucoma surgical technique as well as patient education and medical adherence; she has published and presented her work in these areas nationally.

Prior to joining CEENTA, Dr. Rao served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, working primarily at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, Massachusetts. During that time, she also served as a consultant in glaucoma for the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Dana Farber Cancer Center.

Dr. Rao is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, where she serves on the Annual Meeting Committee for Glaucoma. She is also an active member of the American Glaucoma society and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

Dr. Rao is happy to be back in North Carolina. When she isn’t practicing medicine, she enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, and gardening.

Dr. Rao practices in our Matthews (724 Aubrey Bell Drive, Matthews, NC) and Monroe (1632 East Roosevelt Boulevard,Monroe, NC) offices. To make an appointment with her, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

Education & Fellowship

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bachelor's degree, Biology and English, 2005

University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, Master of Science in Biology (Integrative Bioscience), 2006

Yale University School of Medicine, cum laude, 2011

Department of Internal Medicine, University of North Carolina Hospitals, 2012

Duke Eye Center, Duke University School of Medicine, 2015

Duke Eye Center, Duke University School of Medicine, 2016

Associations & Memberships

American Academy of Ophthalmology
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
American Glaucoma Society
American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

Featured Procedures

Femto Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: Femto Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery, or FLACS, replaces many of the steps during cataract surgery that require a blade and softens the cataract, allowing for an easier and smoother removal. In addition, the laser corrects mild astigmatism by relaxing the cornea at a precise depth, length, and orientation in a more precise and effective manner compared to manual, hand-made incisions. It can also improve the quality of vision by reducing some visual aberrations, it expands the visual range of astigmatism-correcting lens implants, and it may enhance the quality and range of near vision in extended range lens implants.


The K. Alexander Dastgheib, M.D. Eye Surgery Award, 2015
Awarded to a senior ophthalmology resident at the Duke Eye Center who “Has Demonstrated Excellence in Surgical Skill and Judgment”

Cosmetic Surgery Forum Residents and Fellows Program Grant Award, 2013
Awarded for significant research submitted to the conference, covering all expenses to attend and present research at the annual Cosmetic Surgery Forum meeting

Peter F. Curran Prize, 2011
Awarded to a graduating medical student for an outstanding thesis at the Yale School of Medicine

Farr Scholar, 2011
Awarded in recognition of excellence in research as a Yale Medical student

Yale Endowed One-Year Research Fellowship, 2009-2010
Fully funded one-year research fellowship to pursue research at Yale School of Medicine

Marvin P. Moser Student Research Fellowship, 2007
Fully funded summer research fellowship in cardiology

Clarendon Fund Bursary Scholarship for The University of Oxford, 2005-2006
Merit-based scholarship awarding full university & college fees for graduate study at the University of Oxford

Dean’s List at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001-2005

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Honors Program, 2001-2005

Community Involvement

Dr. Rao has given continuing education talks including:

"Normal Tension Glaucoma"
Your Open Angle Glaucoma Patient: My Approach to Counseling Patients"


PublicationsRao V, Woolson S, Whigham B, Coffman C, Muir K. “Laser Trabeculoplasty Practice Patterns in Relation to Glaucoma Medication Adherence.” In preparation.

Rao VS, Peralta EA, Rosdahl JA. “Validation of a glaucoma knowledge assessment in glaucoma patients.” Clinical Ophthalmology, 2016:10, 1913-1918.

Rao V, Christenbury J, Lee P, Herndon L, Challa P. “Simultaneous Implantation of an Ahmed and Baerveldt Glaucoma Drainage Device for Uncontrolled Intraocular Pressure in Advanced Glaucoma." Journal of Glaucoma, Sept 2016.

Rao V and Woodward J. “Management of Benign Essential Blepharospasm". Pearls and Pitfalls in Oculoplastic Surgery. Second Edition. Eds. Morris E. Hartstein, John B. Holds, Guy G. Massry. New York: Springer Science. 2014.

Rao V, Schneider E, Proia A, Fekrat S. 2014. "Development of Bilateral Acquired Toxoplasmic Retinochoroiditis During Erlotinib Therapy" JAMA Ophthalmology, 132: 1150-1152.

Rao V, Chi S, Woodward J. 2014. “Reversing Facial Fillers: Interactions Between Hyaluronidase and Commercially Available Hyaluronic-Acid Based Fillers” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 13: 1053-1056.

Peng S, Gan G, Rao VS, Adelman RA, Rizzolo LJ. 2012. “Effects of proinflammatory cytokines on the claudin-19 rich tight junctions of human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)”. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 53: 5016-5028.

Chen X, Seth RK, Rao VS, Huang JJ, Adelman RA. 2012. “Effects of music therapy on intravitreal injections: a randomized clinical trial.” Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 28: 414-419.

Peng S, Rao VS, Adelman RA, Rizzolo LJ. 2011. “Claudin-19 and the barrier properties of the human retinal pigment epithelium.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 52: 1392-1403.

Rao VS, Safdar B, Parkosewich J, Lee LV, D’Onofrio G, and Foody JM. 2009. “Improvements in Time to Reperfusion: Do Women Have an Advantage?” Critical Pathways in Cardiology 8: 38-42.

Rao V and Foody JM. “Cardiovascular Disease in Women.” ACP Medicine. Ed. David C Dale. New York: BC Decker, 2008.

Rao V. “Case Files Internal Medicine” (book review) 2007. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 80: 140-141.

PresentationsLaser Trabeculoplasty Practice Patterns in Relationship to Glaucoma Medication Adherence. V Rao, S Woolson, K Muir. American Glaucoma Society Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA. Feb 2015.

Simultaneous Implantation of Two Glaucoma Drainage Devices for Uncontrolled Advanced Glaucoma. V Rao, J Christenbury, P Lee, L Herndon, P Challa. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2014 Annual Meeting. Orlando, FL. May 2014.

Reversing Facial Fillers: Interactions Between Hyaluronidase and Popular Hyaluronic Acid-Based Fillers. V Rao, S Chi, and J Woodward. Cosmetic Surgery Forum 2013. Las Vegas, NV. Dec 2013.

Effects of Ectopic Serum on the Barrier Properties of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium. VS Rao, S Peng, RA Adelman, LJ Rizzolo. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2010 Annual Meeting. Fort Lauderdale, FL. May 2010.

Effects of TNF-α and IL-1β on the Tight Junctions of the Human Fetal RPE. Shaomin Peng, VS Rao, RA Adelman, LJ Rizzolo. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2010 Annual Meeting. Fort Lauderdale, FL. May 2010.

Does Music Therapy Decrease Anxiety Levels for Patients Receiving Intravitreal Injections? RA Adelman, X Chen, VS Rao, R Seth. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2010 Annual Meeting. Fort Lauderdale, FL. May 2010.

Improvements in Time to Reperfusion: Women Have an Advantage. V Rao, B Safdar, J Parkosewich, LV Lee, G D’Onofrio, JM Foody. American College of Cardiology 57th Annual Scientific Session. Chicago, IL. March 2008.

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