A photo of Virginia Miraldi Utz.

Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Ophthalmology

513-636-4751

Board Certified

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“As a pediatric ophthalmologist at Cincinnati Children’s, I thoroughly enjoy working with children and their families, and will take as much time as the family needs to fully explain the diagnosis and “next steps” for evaluation. My care does not end at the exam, but hope my families find it easy to communicate with me and appreciate the opportunity to be a partner in their child’s care.”

My Biography & Research

Biography

Several experiences throughout college and medical school inspired me to become a pediatric ophthalmologist. As an undergraduate, I mentored a 6 year old boy with nystagmus and low vision through a Big Brother/Big Sister Program. I saw firsthand how visual impairment impacted this child’s quality of life and education. As a medical student and resident in ophthalmology, I saw the challenges that children face with chronic autoimmune and genetic disorders involving the eye, and have dedicated my career to the care of children with these disorders. I hope that my contributions as a clinician and researcher will help improve the visual outcomes, quality of life and visual function in my patients. As a pediatric ophthalmologist and Associate Professor of Pediatric Ophthalmology, I care for children with general pediatric eye disorders as well as specialized ocular conditions including uveitis (eye inflammation) and genetic disorders involving the eye and body. I feel tremendously privileged to care for children, and appreciate the opportunity to serve patients and their families.

I seek to create a partnership of mutual respect and make it a priority to take family and patient concerns seriously. I do my best to be available to patients when they need me or have a question or concern. I want patients to leave my clinic with the answers they need or an action plan of our next steps to resolve any concerns. I know how important these hallmarks of care can be from personal experience. I work collaboratively with other specialists in Rheumatology, Genetics, Hematology/Oncology, and Neurology to manage patients with complicated conditions involving the eye.

We established an Eye Genetics Clinic in 2012 to provide families with same-day, multidisciplinary appointments with Ophthalmology and Human Genetics. Our goal is to improve communication among providers and patients, and to provide patients with a comprehensive care plan and convenient access to care. Disorders that we evaluate include: Inherited Retinal Disorders (retinal dystrophies, retinal dysfunction):

  • Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA)
  • Stargardt Disease
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Choroideremia
  • XL Retinoschisis
  • Congenital Stationary Night Blindness
  • Blue Cone Monochomacy
  • Achromatopsia

Ocular Development Problems: These are conditions that occur when the eye or the structures within the eye do not develop normally.

Genetic Syndromes that Affect the Eye: These include any conditions that can affect multiple body parts and the eye.

For complicated patients with uveitis and other autoimmune disorders of the eye, I partner with rheumatology faculty, neuro-ophthalmology, nephrology, gastroenterology and retina specialist to manage patients with complicated autoimmune conditions.

I am humbled to be named to the Best Doctors in America list and the Top Doctors list as chosen by peers in Cincinnati Magazine since 2016. I am honored to serve on the editorial board for the Ophthalmic Genetics Journal, as chairperson of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) Pediatric Uveitis Committee and as vice-chair for the AAPOS Genetic Eye Disease Committee.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family. My children and I enjoy making art projects out of recyclables, exploring nature and hiking, swimming and playing pickleball. I start my day in the early morning with a run, swim or cardio, stability and resistance training.

Research Interests

As a leader in the field, I actively share my findings through published articles, presentations at national meetings, and through my work with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). I collaborate with rheumatology on several research projects including:

  • Improving quality of life in children with JIA-associate d uveitis
  • Biomarkers for predicting the development of uveitis in children with JIA
  • Treatment outcomes in children with non-infectious uveitis

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Ophthalmology

Clinical Divisions

Ophthalmology

Research Divisions

Ophthalmology, Rheumatology, Human Genetics

My Locations

My Education

Medical School: Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH.

Residency: Ophthalmology, University Hospitals Eye Institute Case Medical Center, Case Affiliated Hospitals Residency Program, Cleveland, Ohio.

Fellowship: Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic; Cleveland, Ohio.

Preceptorship: Pediatric Uveitis, The Retina Group, Columbus, OH; Cincinnati Eye Institute, Cincinnati, OH.

Board Certification: American Board of Ophthalmology, 2013.

My Publications

Comprehensive assessment of quality of life, functioning and mental health in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and non-infectious uveitis. McDonald, J; Cassedy, A; Altaye, M; Andringa, J; Cooper, AM; Drews-Botsch, C; Engelhard, G; Hennard, T; Holland, GN; Jenkins, K; et al. Arthritis Care and Research. 2021.

Discontinuing adalimumab in patients with controlled juvenile idiopathic arthritis-associated uveitis (ADJUST-Adalimumab in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis-associated Uveitis Stopping Trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Ebert, CD; Kelly, NK; Porco, TC; Ramanan, AV; Arnold, BF; Acharya, NR; Doan, T; Gonzales, JA; von Scheven, E; Angeles-Han, ST; et al. Trials. 2020; 21.

Assessing the validity and reliability of the Effects of Youngsters' Eyesight on Quality of Life (EYE-Q) questionnaire among children with uveitis. Cassedy, A; Altaye, M; Andringa, J; Cooper, AM; Drews-Botsch, C; Engelhard, G; Hennard, T; Holland, GN; Jenkins, K; Lambert, SR; et al. Arthritis Care and Research. 2020.

Systemic and ocular manifestations of a patient with mosaic ARID1A-associated Coffin-Siris syndrome and review of select mosaic conditions with ophthalmic manifestations. Utz, VM; Brightman, DS; Sandoval, MA; Hufnagel, R; Saal, HM. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics. 2020; 184:644-655.

Chlamydia Conjunctivitis in 2 Prepubertal Children: An Uncommon Presentation of Child Sexual Abuse. Brownell, AD; Utz, VM; Makoroff, KL; Shapiro, RA; Mortensen, JE. Pediatric Emergency Care. 2020; 36:e473-e475.

S100 Proteins, Cytokines, and Chemokines as Tear Biomarkers in Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis-associated Uveitis. Angeles-Han, ST; Miraldi Utz, V; Thornton, S; Schulert, G; Rodriguez-Smith, J; Kauffman, A; Sproles, A; Mwase, N; Hennard, T; Grom, A; et al. Ocular Immunology and Inflammation. 2020; 1-5.

Bilateral rhegmatogenous retinal detachments from giant retinal tears in an infant with abusive head trauma and Stickler syndrome. Ebert, JJ; Utz, VM; Sisk, RA. American Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports. 2020; 17.

Effectiveness of long-term infliximab use and impact of treatment adherence on disease control in refractory, non-infectious pediatric uveitis. Utz, VM; Bulas, S; Lopper, S; Fenchel, M; Sa, T; Mehta, M; Ash, D; Lovell, DJ; Kaufman, AH. Pediatric Rheumatology. 2019; 17.

Survey of practice patterns for the management of ophthalmic genetic disorders among AAPOS members: report by the AAPOS Genetic Eye Disease Task Force. Drack, AV; Miraldi Utz, V; Wang, K; Alcorn, DM; Brooks, BP; Costakos, DM; Couser, NL; Heon, E; Levin, AV; Lloyd, IC; et al. Journal of AAPOS. 2019; 23:226-228.e1.

Gene therapy for RPE65-related retinal disease. Utz, VM; Coussa, RG; Antaki, F; Traboulsi, EI. Ophthalmic Genetics. 2018; 39:671-677.