What is a retinal specialist?
A retinal specialist is a medical physician who has completed additional specialized training in diseases of the back part of the eye where the retina is located. Typically the training required after college would include four years of medical school, an internship year in medicine or surgery, three years of residency training in ophthalmology and two additional years of fellowship training in retinal diseases and surgery.
What is the retina?
All of our eyes have neurosensory retinal tissue, essentially an extension of the brain, which transmits signals from the eye to the visual processing area of the brain. This tissue is not only delicate but it can also reveal problems caused by other diseases such as diabetes to your eye doctor.
Should I see a retinal specialist?
Most people with or without eye problems are cared for by their primary eye care provider. If however, your eye doctor has recommended you see a retinal specialist, you should make that appointment without delay. In some cases you may not have a specific diagnosis but you may have unexplained vision loss that may prompt a referral to a retinal specialist. Many serious and vision threatening conditions may be able to be treated by a retinal specialist.
The most common reasons to be referred to a retinal specialist include:
Age related macular degeneration
Retinal tears and holes
Floaters and flashes of light
What should I expect for my retina exam?
After your history is reviewed, your vision and eye pressure will be checked. Your eyes will then be dilated with dilating drops so the retina specialist can get a complete view of your retina through your pupil. Since the dilating drops change the size of your pupil, your vision will be blurred and you will be light sensitive for about four hours. It is advisable you make arrangements to be driven home. The lights used during the examination are very bright. You may be temporarily dazzled by the lights and colors may be temporarily altered. Although the bright lights may be uncomfortable, they will not hurt or damage your eyes or your vision. Your appointment with a retinal specialist may involve various tests that are usually done on the same day of your appointment.
We do appreciate your trust in us and we value your time. Your total appointment time may take up to 2-4 hours since additional testing or procedures may be performed during your visit. In addition, in dealing with potentially vision threatening diseases, we strive to provide ample understanding of your condition and to provide time for you to ask additional questions. While we make every attempt to keep on schedule to minimize your wait time, delays do occur. We wish to assure you that even if your appointment time is delayed, we will not rush during your time for evaluation or treatment.
Please do not wear any eye makeup on the day of your appointment. You may wish to bring a snack in case your appointment time runs later than expected.