Meet a Specialist: Angela Turalba, MD, MMS
As a Glaucoma Specialist, Dr. Angela Turalba is deeply committed to improving her patients’ quality of life. “Glaucoma is a challenging disease to treat,” she says. “As a physician, I find great satisfaction in having the knowledge and resources to help patients not only manage their disease, but also have the best quality of life as possible.”
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world; left untreated it progresses to irreversible vision loss, which underscores the critical need for early diagnosis and treatment. The World Health Organization estimates that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma, and only half of whom are aware of it. Dr. Turalba reports, “Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians are at the cutting-edge of advanced treatments for glaucoma, and our research investigations are driving new discoveries that, one day soon, may put us on track for a cure. As a physician, these resources mean that I can develop innovative treatment plans that enable my patients to maintain the best vision possible.”
According to Dr. Turalba, living with and managing the disease is a long-term commitment for both patients and physicians, involving multiple visits to a doctor’s office each year for regular monitoring and necessary follow-up care. To control the disease, treatments range from laser and conventional surgeries to a regimen of eye drops several times a day.
Developing a vital and ongoing patient-physician relationship is one of the reasons Dr. Turalba chose glaucoma as her subspecialty. “I wanted to be in a surgical field,” she notes, “but I also wanted to have the ‘old-fashioned’ opportunity to nurture a long-term relationship with patients. I am able to do that as a glaucoma specialist with the added benefit that it ensures the highest continuity and quality of care for patients. I find this very rewarding.”
A devoted and giving physician, Dr. Turalba is also proud of her work at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System where she spends a portion of her clinical time. She says, “I value the service I am able to give to our veterans. The Boston VA provides ophthalmology services for all of New England – so we are providing a much needed service.”
Active in clinical research, Dr. Turalba studies the causes, distribution and control of glaucoma to help better understand this complex disease and to guide its management for her patients. A background in eye trauma management also gives her a unique clinical perspective on glaucoma management and care. She has leveraged this expertise in her research - examining the potential influences and interplay among trauma, environmental factors, and systemic disease and how they may impact this complex disorder. She credits her patients with teaching her about the true challenges of glaucoma: “They highlight things that we need to study further and ways that we can improve the management of their disease.”
In addition to her research aimed at improving patient care, Dr. Turalba is an active clinician educator who strives “to incorporate research and education in my clinical practice because I value innovation and the training of future ophthalmologists." She is dedicated to teaching medical students, residents, and fellows in the clinical setting, in didactic sessions, and through mentorship activities. Dr. Turalba finds her teaching efforts to be mutually beneficial. “Trainees ask important and critical questions that give me an opportunity to reflect on my practice and expand my own knowledge,” she reports.
Dr. Turalba trained as a resident and fellow at the Mass. Eye and Ear and these experiences shaped her desire to practice as a glaucoma specialist here. “I highly respect the mentors I met during my training here,” she notes. “I wanted to continue to work with them and practice in this unique environment where I could teach, participate in research and provide the best patient care. The perpetual learning involved in treating patients and teaching students is the single most satisfying aspect of my work.”
Contact Dr. Turalba's office at 617-573-3670.
View Dr. Turalba's online bio for more information.