What is a Retina Specialist?
A retina specialist is a medical doctor who has completed residency training in ophthalmology. This is followed by fellowship training in handling problems with the back of the eye, referred to as the retina.
Fellowship training to become a retina specialist requires an additional two years of training. During this fellowship, we learn the medical and surgical treatment of various retinal diseases.
Those of us who complete fellowship training are then eligible to apply for acceptance into our professional societies, such as the American Society of Retina Specialists.
Some fellowships, such as mine at the University of Californina, Irvine , may have combined training with a uveitis specialist.
Diseases of the Retina
Based on their training and comfort level, retina specialists manage many different eye conditions of the retina and the vitreous; these include flashes and floaters, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye trauma, epiretinal membranes/macular puckers, macular holes, retinopathy of prematurity, and retinal tears/detachments.
The retina specialist also takes care of patients who have complications from cataract surgery.
Part of the practice of a retina specialist is in the clinic, where lasers, eye injections and other procedures are performed for different problems; these include diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, retinal tears and sometimes detachments.
Surgery for Retinal Disease
Some problems are best handled in the operating room, such as bleeding in the eye from diabetes, trauma, and more complex retinal detachments.
A typical retina specialist will use different tools in diagnosing and managing a patient’s condition; these include ultrasounds of the eye, scans of the retina (OCT), color pictures, and angiography. These tools can be used to help make a diagnosis, or monitor a patient’s response to treatment over time.
The relationship between a patient a retina specialist can sometimes be very brief, if the problem is relatively simple (like floaters), or sometimes, last for decades (like with diabetes, macular degeneration or complex surgical follow-up).
Whatever the problem, my commitment to you is this: to always treat you as a member of my own family.
Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
Lakeland | Winter Haven
Zephyrhills | Lake Mary