Retina Medicine, Public Health, and the Promise of Teleophthalmology


Retina physicians are members of several communities. As providers of care to a local patient population, we are an important resource of medical knowledge for that community. We are also part of a network of subspecialty-trained ophthalmologists, having received additional training in vitreoretinal surgery—and, thus, we are a community of retina surgeons.

What is sometimes not talked about, however, is that retina surgeons are also part of the larger medical community, and that we can play an important role in improving the health of populations. Although public health, per se, may be rarely discussed in retina meetings and conferences, the kinds of issues public health deals with are in our clinics on a daily basis in the form of patients with diabetes, who smoke, who may be overweight, and who may be afflicted with other chronic conditions.

Retina physicians can play an important role in public health by simply caring for the patients in their clinics. However, if our reach can be extended to rural and remote areas—and even to international locales that lack the kind of medical infrastructure that we enjoy in the United States—the practice of retina can play an even greater role in improving public health.

Teleophthalmology—the use of digital mediums to screen patients, to diagnose disease, and even to remotely train fellow physicians—may be a useful tool for allowing retina surgeons to be greater participants in the sphere of public health. Teleophthalmology offers a lot of promise and potential, even if it is still an emerging concept in our field. In the years to come, it will be interesting to see if teleophthalmology delivers on its promise, and if we as practitioners will be afforded a way to get involved in improving not only the health of individual patients, but of populations as well.


Contact Info

Bryn Mawr Communications LLC
1008 Upper Gulph Road, Suite 200
Wayne, PA 19087

Phone: 484-581-1800
Fax: 484-581-1818

Michael Jones
Senior Editor

Janet Burk

About New Retina MD

New Retina MD delivers cutting-edge content to retina specialists in their first 15 years of practice. Each issue provides fresh insight from younger physicians plus established mentors on clinical and nonclinical issues affecting ophthalmologists in the earlier stages of their careers. NRMD features surgical pearls, clinical research endeavors, practice management, medical reimbursement and policy, continuing educational requirements, financial planning, innovations, and more.