What is a Retina Specialist
According to the American Society of Retina Specialists:
A retina specialist is a medical doctor who has specialized in ophthalmology and whom has then sub-specialized in diseases and surgery of the vitreous body of the eye and the retina. This subspecialty is sometimes known as vitreoretinal medicine.
Retina specialists treat a wide variety of eye conditions and diseases, working with both adults and children. They may work in both hospitals and clinics.
Retina specialists are highly trained. They must 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
What does a Retina Specialist do?
A retina specialist is clearly a highly trained subspecialist with special skills to diagnose and treat specific parts of the highly complex human visual system. Diagnosis of retina and vitreous diseases may require highly technical equipment and testing as well as thorough examination.
The retina is a light-sensitive area in the back of the eye, and it includes the macula, which is made up of light-sensitive cells that give us our ability to have sharp, detailed vision. In a healthy eye, images are focused onto the retina and then converted into electrical signals that are sent to the brain for processing. The vitreous body of the eye is a clear gel which fills the space between the retina and the lens. The retina, the macula, and the vitreous body can all be subject to diseases and conditions that can lead to blindness or vision interruption and may require the attention of a retina specialist.
The medical treatments and surgical procedures used by retina specialists are extremely exacting and delicate. Most of the surgeries require a microscope and are therefore microsurgical procedures. Retina-vitreous surgeons work on extremely delicate tissues in an incredibly small space. The laser is a vital part of the medical tools available to retina specialist and there are many office and hospital procedures in which a retina specialist will use a laser.
Retina specialists treat a variety of conditions, ranging from age-related macular degeneration to retinal detachment and cancers of the eye. A retina 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.
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