Northeast Wisconsin Retina Associates

DOES EVERY PATIENT WITH A RETINAL CONDITION NEED TO SEE A RETINA SPECIALIST?

The simple answer is “No”. As a comparison, some patients with straightforward cardiac issues are effectively managed by their primary care physician. Not every heart condition needs to be managed by a cardiologist.

It is important to keep in mind however, that the field of retina has changed dramatically over the past two decades and continues to evolve very rapidly. Even for a full-time retinal specialist, it is challenging to stay abreast of the newest developments in therapy.

Optometrists do not typically provide treatment for retinal diseases. General ophthalmologists may choose to provide treatment for some conditions (for example, diabetic retinopathy). The complex surgical procedures of scleral buckling and vitrectomy should only be provided by a retinal specialist.

In the 21st century model of eye care, however, most patients with serious diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration necessitating laser treatment and/or injection of medications into the eye are best served by referral to a fellowship-trained, board-certified retinal specialist.