Meet a Specialist: Richard Watson, M.D.
During medical school, Richard Watson, MD, was looking for a specialty that fit well with his background in mechanical engineering. It didn’t take him long to find ophthalmology. “When I saw my first eye surgery, I was hooked. I was amazed by how ophthalmologists used engineering concepts, like optics and fluidics, to make a very positive impact in their patients’ lives,” he said.
Today, Dr. Watson is a member of the Retina Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, where he specializes in vitreoretinal surgery—a delicate procedure that is performed in the back of the eye, called the retina. He cares for patients with a wide range of disorders that can cause vision loss, such as:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic eye disease
- Blocked retinal veins (called occlusions)
- Holes in the center of the retina called the macula
- Epiretinal membrane disorders that cause fibrous tissue to grow on the retina
He also treats more urgent conditions, such as retinal detachments and endophthalmitis—a potentially devastating infection of the eye.
Improving Patients’ Quality of Life
Dr. Watson is widely known for his friendly attitude, excellent communication, and meticulous attention to patients’ needs. The most rewarding part of his job is when he is able to improve a patient’s sight with surgery.
“Many of my patients are at risk for some form of vision loss. Being able to restore their sight so that they can see their loved ones again is very gratifying,” said Dr. Watson, who remembers helping one patient see her young children again after surgery. “That’s the incredible thing about practicing ophthalmology—you can have an immediate and dramatic impact on a patient’s life.”
Advancing Treatment Options through Research
Committed to improving care for his patients, Dr. Watson has also been engaged in research to help improve care for patients with conditions such as AMD and diabetic eye disease. For instance, he is interested in finding ways to stop the progression of AMD, which remains the leading cause of blindness in developed countries. “For patients, participating in this type of research is optional, but it offers access to newly developed medications that are still being investigated,” he said.
Teaching Future Leaders in Retina
In addition to taking care of patients and performing research, Dr. Watson generously shares his knowledge and surgical expertise with Harvard Ophthalmology residents and fellows. “I am fortunate to have had outstanding mentors throughout my career, and now it is my turn to continue the tradition.”
View Dr. Watson's online bio.
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