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What is a Retinal Specialist?

A retinal specialist is a medical doctor who has specialized in ophthalmology and sub-specialized in diseases and surgery of the vitreous body of the eye and the retina.

Ophthalmology is a specialty of medicine dealing with the diseases of the eye and the surrounding tissues, including the eye lids, eye muscles, eye socket, optic nerve and the optic tracks. Because of the many different aspects necessary for the proper function of the eye, ophthalmology has been divided into several subspecialties. One of these is the specialty of retina.

A retinal specialist focuses their work on the retina, which is the delicate nerve tissue that lines the back inside wall of the eye, the vasculature which supports the retina, and the vitreous which is the jelly material that fills the central cavity of the eye.

Retina specialists are highly trained. They are required to complete medical school and specialized training as an ophthalmologist, and then pursue additional vitreoretinal training. The full breadth of training for a retina specialist includes:

  • Medical school – 4 years
  • Internship – 1 year
  • Ophthalmology residency – 3 years
  • Retina-Vitreous fellowship – 1 or 2 years

Retinal specialists treat a variety of conditions, ranging from age-related macular degeneration to retinal detachment and cancers of the eye. A retinal specialist may also treat a patient who has experienced severe eye trauma and may be consulted in the case of patients dealing with hereditary diseases of the eye.

The medical treatments and surgical procedures used by retinal specialists are extremely exacting and delicate. Most retinal surgeries require a microscope and are therefore called microsurgical procedures. Retina-vitreous surgeons work on extremely delicate tissues in an incredibly small space. The laser is a vital medical tool used by retina specialist for procedures in both office and hospital settings.

Some of the surgeries retinal specialists perform are:

  • Retinal detachment surgery
  • Diabetic vitrectomy
  • Macular pucker vitrectomy
  • Macular hole vitrectomy
  • Macular translocation
  • Repair of ruptured globe
  • Conditions & diseases treated by retina specialists
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Macular hole/Pucker
  • Ocular malignancies – retinoblastoma
  • Retinal detachment
  • River blindness/Onchocerciasis

Retinal damage can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. Our retinal specialists commonly treat the retinal conditions mentioned above. To learn more about what a retinal specialist can do for you, contact Pacific Eye Institute at (800)345-8979 or to schedule an appointment.

Meet Our Retinal Specialist

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