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Retina Service and Macular Degeneration Unit

The retina is a transparent layer of nerve tissue in the back of the eye that functions like the film in a camera, capturing images focused by the structures in the front of the eye.  After capturing the images, the retina transmits them to the brain.

The macula is the central part of the retina that is specialized for high-resolution vision and is critical in tasks such as reading, driving, and other activities requiring fine visual discrimination. The vitreous is a jelly-like substance that fills the eye and is frequently implicated in diseases such as retinal tears, retinal detachment, and others.


The Retina Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear was founded in 1977, and is one of the largest such subspecialty groups in the country. We have a rich history of innovation that has led to major advances in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, such as:

  • First use of Proton Beam Therapy for eye tumors
  • Co-discovered Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), the most widely used non-invasive imaging modality in retina
  • Discovered Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) for treatment of wet macular degeneration
  • Developed the first pharmacologic anti-VEGF therapy for wet macular degeneration (Macugen™)
  • Performed the basic-science work behind the most effective current treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (Lucentis™)

Surgical Staff

Our specialists are equipped to treat all of the medical and surgical diseases affecting the vitreous, macula, and retina for patients of all ages. We employ the most advanced tools in the diagnosis and treatment of macular degeneration and other diseases of the retina. In addition to the most effective therapies currently available, we are engaged in clinical trials that give our patients access to cutting edge treatments. You or your doctor may contact us directly for an appointment with a retina specialist.

Our physician staff consists of eye care specialists certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology or who are board-eligible and preparing for certification.

Click here to find more information about our Retina Service doctors. 

Click here to find more information about our Macular Degeneration doctors.