Steve Charles: A Giant of Retina Surgery With Commentary by Kirk H. Packo, MD

By Kirk H. Packo, MD


We point to certain people in our field that gave us the tools of our trade. Steve Charles, MD, stands the highest on that list. Over the years, Steve has developed and taught us the basic food groups of surgical retina: vitrectomy fluidics and cutters, endophotocoagulation, internal fluid drainage, membrane delamination, retinotomy…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Steve Charles, MD is the founder of the Charles Retina Institute in Memphis, Tenn.

Dr. Charles was photographed at the fourth annual meeting of the Vit-Buckle Society, stylized as VBS|004, in Miami Beach, Fla., in March 2016.

A successful retina surgeon may look back at a 35-year career and say that he or she made a difference in the lives of perhaps 10,000 patients. Steve, by contrast, can say that he has made a difference in the lives of literally millions of patients. How? By educating other retina surgeons on the tools and techniques critical to our trade; those retina surgeons then educated their mentees and fellows, who all went on to manage thousands of cases.

It’s impossible to perform a vitrectomy without pointing to something that Steve Charles gave us. The combination of a brilliant engineering mind, loads of experience, and plenty of common sense makes him a surgical all-star. His tireless energy as a teacher makes Steve truly one of the giants of retina surgery.

—Kirk H. Packo, MD


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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.