Your eyes are as important as they are sensitive, so it is vital that they are handled only by trained professionals. Your retina is one of the most important parts of your eyes. Damage to it can cause a number of eye problems—even lead to blindness. If you suspect that you have a retinal condition, the best person to examine it would be a retina specialist.
However, not all specialists are equal. Some are good, while some are better than others. To ensure that you and your retinas are in the best hands, you can look for the following:
- Qualifications. Doctor specializations dictate what they can and cannot do. A retina specialist is an ophthalmologist who has sub-specialized on various conditions of the retina and the vitreous. This means that they have spent at least two years studying retinal diseases and their treatment methods. So while an ophthalmologist can help you keep your eyes healthy, no one can treat retinal conditions better than a specialist.
- Society membership. The American Society of Retina Specialists is just one of the many groups around the world helping regulate the profession and maintain its best practices. A society membership is more than just another certificate. It proves two things: that your retina specialist is highly qualified and that they are undergoing continuous training and studies to maintain their knowledge and skills. If you are a member of a society, you are required to follow the rules of the organization, which includes maintaining proper work ethics and submitting yourself to continuous study.
- Referral. There are many places to get a good referral, but no one will probably be knowledgeable as your personal eye doctor. Your doctor knows what you need, so they will be able to recommend someone who can treat your condition best. What’s more, your doctor probably knows the retina specialist, so it’s not too hard for them to consult about your eye health. If you do not have an eye doctor, you can also ask your friends and family members, especially if they have had themselves treated for a similar condition in the past. If that doesn’t work, you can also go to the Internet and ask around. There are always reliable websites that offer comprehensive reviews about doctors.
- Experience. Your retina specialist may have the best education, but nothing beats one who has enough experience. Make sure to ask for a specialist who has successfully treated a condition similar to yours. Your mind will be at ease knowing that your doctor knows how to address your retinal condition.
- Group practice. There are two types to choose from: a single specialty group of retina specialists and a multi-specialty group of sub-specialist eye doctors, one of them a specialist in the retina. The latter offers one-stop experience, where you get everything you may need in a single practice. In the off-chance that you may need a doctor besides one who specializes in retinas, you will find a quick recommendation in the same place.
Your retina is a vital part of your eyes, as your eyes are an important part of your body. Make sure that they are cared for by one who actually knows how, ideally, one who is a specialist.