The quarter century since the foundation of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has coincided with immense change in the subspecialty of medical retina, which has moved from being the province of a few dedicated enthusiasts to being an integral, core part of ophthalmology in every eye department. In age-related macular degeneration, there has been a move away from targeted, destructive laser therapy, dependent on fluorescein angiography to intravitreal injection therapy of anti-growth factor agents, largely guided by optical coherence tomography. As a result of these changes, ophthalmologists have witnessed a marked improvement in visual outcomes for their patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), while at the same time developing and enacting entirely novel ways of delivering care. In the field of diabetic retinopathy, this period also saw advances in laser technology and a move away from highly destructive laser photocoagulation treatment to gentler retinal laser treatments. The introduction of intravitreal therapies, both steroids and anti-growth factor agents, has further advanced the treatment of diabetic macular oedema. This era has also seen in the United Kingdom the introduction of a coordinated national diabetic retinopathy screening programme, which offers an increasing hope that the burden of blindness from diabetic eye disease can be lessened. Exciting future advances in retinal imaging, genetics, and pharmacology will allow us to further improve outcomes for our patients and for ophthalmologists specialising in medical retina, the future looks very exciting but increasingly busy.
- age related macular degeneration
- intravitreal injections
- laser photocoagulation
- diabetic retinopathy