Making a Retina Surgeon.

By Ehsan Rahimy, MD, and S.K. Steven Houston III, MD

This spring, we decided that it was time to start a blog. Not a blog for cat lovers or the 12 best recipes featuring bacon. No, this would be a blog where freshly minted retina doctors could read about the experiences and frustrations of a pair of young retina surgeons.

As young retina specialists, we thirst for engagement with our mentors. We know that retina would not stand as a powerful, innovative medical specialty were it not for its culture of tradition and guidance. But as the world becomes a place where people connect on smartphone screens more frequently than in the hallways of scientific meetings, we felt that our peers would want to use those backlit screens to peek in on developing careers of their generation.

Our generation isn’t nosy—we aren’t voyeurs whose professional validation derives from knowledge that we are a step ahead of Dr. Smith. Rather, we are a community. We want to know how colleagues from our generation tackle the real-world issues for which our fellowships did not prepare us. Fellowship might be over, but truthfully, the learning has just begun.

Thus, we present In each issue of NRMD, we will provide a verbatim replica of a recent post; in some installments, such as this one, we will only provide a portion of the post. We encourage you to visit the site. Comment, share, tweet—engage however you engage digitally. Let us know what you think of our posts. They won’t all be pretty; parts may touch on issues that frustrate us all. But, hey, that’s life as a retina surgeon trying to find footing in this evolving health care landscape.

—Ehsan Rahimy, MD, and S.K. Steven Houston III, MD

Go the Extra Mile…

As retina specialists, the bulk of our patients are sent from referring doctors. Although your practice may already have an established referral network, these relationships must be cultivated over time and there are always new areas for growth. The following tips can help you to develop meaningful relationships with referring doctors in order to provide the best care for your mutual patients.

Provide an Excellent Experience for the Patient

They WILL go back to the referring physician and let them know all the details. Make sure your staff sets the stage before the patient walks through the door, including courteous appointment scheduling and setting expectations regarding appointment wait times, insurance co-pays and deductibles, etc. Once in the door, it’s up to you and your staff to make the visit as good as possible. From the front desk to the doctor, smiles, empathy, and face-to-face time for explanations and questions goes a long way. 

Provide the Best Medical Retina and Surgical Retina Care

Establish yourself in the community as a thoughtful, caring, and ethical retina specialist that provides the best care possible. It takes time to develop your reputation, but only takes a second to destroy it. 

Get to Know the Referring Doctors in Person

When first starting into practice make the extra effort to meet referring doctors in person at their office. If your clinic volume starts out slow, block off time in the afternoon to do this. Make it a priority, as it will pay off in the long run. Get to know the referring physician AND the staff!!! Often, the office manager or schedulers will be the ones who decide which specialist to send the patient. n

Want More?

Visit to see what else Drs. Houston and Rahimy say about cultivating relationships with your referral network.


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.