Seven things everyone should know about retina specialists

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(BPT) - Healthy sight allows you to see all of the world’s wonders, and healthy retinas make healthy sight possible. When retinal disease strikes and a clear view of the world is replaced by a curtain-like shadow, central blurriness or straight lines that appear wavy, it’s critical to seek out the expert care uniquely provided by a retina specialist.

“Many retinal diseases have no symptoms in the earliest stages. Therefore, it’s critical to see a specialist with advanced training in the treatment of retinal conditions for those who are at risk. Once symptoms appear, one should see a retina specialist as soon as possible,” American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) Foundation President Judy E. Kim, M.D., FASRS, said. “With a mastery of the newest and most sophisticated tools and surgical techniques available, retina specialists can often preserve and improve a patient’s vision, allowing them to get back to activities like working, driving and reading that can be challenging or impossible with impaired vision.”

Millions of Americans have retina specialists to thank for saving their vision from conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy so they can see for a lifetime, but others who haven’t needed the care of a retina specialist may be in the dark about the advanced early detection and state-of-the-art treatments they offer. During May’s Healthy Vision Month, learn more about America’s retina specialists and the importance of the sight-saving care they provide.

  1. Retina specialists are medical doctors. There are many types of eye health providers, but not all have attended medical school. Retina specialists are among the most extensively trained and highly skilled eye care providers, having completed up to 10 years of advanced medical training to specialize in ophthalmology and sub-specialize in diseases and surgery of the retina.
  2. Retina specialists are physicians and surgeons. Retina specialists can treat many retinal conditions by administering medications, but most are also trained surgeons who perform surgical procedures on tissue thinner than a butterfly’s wing in the retina to treat issues such as retinal detachment and macular hole.
  3. Retina specialists treat two of the leading causes of irreversible blindness in the U.S. AMD and diabetic retinopathy are retinal conditions that affect more than 20 million people in the U.S. Both conditions can result in blindness, but if caught and treated early, a retina specialist can often save or improve vision in people with these and other retinal conditions.
  4. Retina specialists are responsible for sight-saving breakthroughs. Less than 20 years ago, many people diagnosed with common retinal conditions like AMD were destined to become legally blind. Today advances in the diagnosis and treatment of AMD and other retinal diseases made possible by retina specialists allow many patients to preserve their vision through personalized medical and surgical treatment approaches.
  5. Retina specialists have access to advanced retinal imaging. People who are at risk or experience symptoms of a retinal condition should visit a retina specialist’s office, which is equipped with cutting-edge imaging technologies, allowing for earlier diagnosis, closer monitoring and breakthrough treatment approaches that can help save sight. These state-of-the-art imaging technologies include optical coherence tomography (OCT), fluorescein angiography and ophthalmic ultrasound, just to name a few.
  6. Retina specialists treat adults and children. Some of the conditions retina specialists treat are more common in adults and older people such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy and retinal detachments. Children can also experience retinal conditions such as retinopathy of prematurity, affecting premature babies, and Leber congenital amaurosis, an inherited retinal disorder that can cause visual impairment in infancy. Retina specialists also care for children who experience eye trauma, and those diagnosed with retinoblastoma, the most common form of eye tumor in infants and young children.
  7. Find your retina specialist in just a few clicks. Find a retina specialist from the comfort of your own home or on the go with ASRS’s Find a Retina Specialist locator. Search the ASRS database of member retina specialists using a physician's name or enter your country, city, state or zip code. Results are listed and shown on a map of your area. Access the search tool at FindYourRetinaSpecialist.org.

For more information about retina specialists and the conditions they treat visit SeeforaLifetime.org. Also, download and share these printable retina health resources in English and Spanish:

About ASRS

The American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) is the largest organization of retina specialists in the world, representing more than 3,000 members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 63 countries. Retina specialists are board-certified ophthalmologists who have completed fellowship training in the medical and surgical treatment of retinal diseases. The mission of the ASRS is to provide a collegial and open forum for education, to advance the understanding and treatment of vitreoretinal diseases, and to enhance the ability of its members to provide the highest quality of patient care. Learn more at ASRS.org. Like ASRS on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter for the latest retina health information.






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