A Retina Specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) with specialization in eye disease (ophthalmology) and further sub-specialization in disease of the back of the eye (vitreous and retina.)
A Retina Specialist is highly trained, having completed college, 4 years of medical school (M.D.), one year of medical internship, 3 years of ophthalmology residency training (eye diseases and surgery), and 2 years of retina disease and surgical training.
What does a Retina Specialist do?
A retina specialist is 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.
Some of the surgeries retina specialists perform are:
Injections into the eye to treat Macular Degeneration
Retinal detachment surgery
Diabetic vitrectomy surgery
Macular pucker vitrectomy
Macular hole vitrectomy
Repair of ruptured globe
(Adapted from http://www.asrs.org/patients/what-is-a-retina-specialist)