The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Opens New, State-of-the-Art Retina Center

Entryway to the Retina CenterRetina Visits Have Doubled in Past Five Years

Architectural Photography by Walter Dusfresne

New York, NY (Spring 2003) -- The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, which operates the New York Metropolitan region's largest, oldest and most comprehensive retina service, will open a new, expanded high-technology Retina Center in the spring of 2003.

Retina Center ribbon-cutting ceremony
Ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Retina Center opening in March. (photo courtesy of NYEE Photo Department)

"We are overjoyed," said Thomas O. Muldoon, M.D., director of the retina service at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. "The opening of this new center comes at a time of extraordinarily rapid growth in the demand for retinal services." 

(One key reason for this growth may be the surge in diabetes, which is related to retinal diseases. In January, 2003, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that in the past eight years, diabetes has doubled among adults in New York City, from less than 4 percent to nearly 8 percent. More than 450,000 adult New Yorkers know they have diabetes.

Patient reception window
Patient registration area for the new Retina Center.

The retina service, which first opened its doors in 1959, has in the past five years doubled the number of patients visits to 22,000 per year, expanded its sub-specialty services, enhanced its residency and fellowship training program and invested in the nation's most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies.

The new 9,600 square-foot specialty center encompasses the entire 8th floor of The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's North Building and, at a cost of $5 million, consolidates into one state-of-the-art, aesthetically pleasing space a number of diagnostic and treatment services formerly located in separate areas of the building. 

"The new center pulls together a unique set of diagnostic and treatment capabilities for patients, physicians and researchers to provide the highest quality of ophthalmic care in the New York region, whether for retinal detachments and tears, macular degeneration, macular edema, diabetic retinopathy or other diseases such as uveitis and ocular tumors," said Joseph B. Walsh, M.D., Chairman of Ophthalmology at The New York Eye and Infirmary.


Digital Networks Co-exist With Patient Friendly Waiting Areas

The new Retina Center combines the digital age with patient friendly design. Each of the 14 multi-purpose, laser and fluorescein exam rooms, for example, has a 17" flat screen monitor that is networked and digitally connected to four physician offices.

Fluorescein angiography room
Fluorescein Angiogram Photography room.

The retinal learning center, a separate area for residents, has eight learning carrels, each with a monitor for viewing patient cases and researching the Internet.

Resident learning center
Learning area for residents, equipped with computer access.

The center has seven separate patient waiting areas that are comfortably small and personal, similar to a private physician's office, with classic cherry wood walls that evoke warmth. Thoughtful amenities include a diabetic kitchen for patients with diabetic retinopathy who might require juice and snacks. There is also a children's playroom, with small, colorful furniture and a video area. 

Waiting area for patients
Patient waiting areas.

Additional waiting area and playroom for children
Additional patient waiting areas and children's playroom.


Sub-Specialty Care for Retina Patients

"The new Retina Center provides a centralized, modern facility for our nationally recognized sub-specialty services and the patients who are referred here, " said Dr. Muldoon. Last year, for example, the physicians in the Uveitis Service treated several thousand patients with uveitis, a complex and rare disease caused by inflammation of the iris, ciliary body and choroid tissues inside the eye. The new center also has space for The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's growing Ocular Oncology Service and treatment of eye cancer. 

Dr. Muldoon in a patient exam room
Dr. Thomas Muldoon, Director of Retina Service in one of the dozen completely equipped new examination rooms.

Other medical surgical specialties offered through the new center are: argon, krypton, dye, diode and YAG lasers to treat retinal diseases; photodynamic laser surgery for patients with age-related macular degeneration; state-of-the-art vitrectomy surgery, using long-acting gases and silcone oil, to treat complicated retinal detachments; and surgery for macular holes and submacular pathology.

Beyond such diagnostic standards for retinal problems as digital fluorescein angiographty and indocyanine green angiography, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary offers a range of newer technologies in the Advanced Retinal Imaging Laboratory.


Advanced Retinal Imaging Laboratory

The Retina Center houses one of the nation's most comprehensive and advanced imaging laboratories for understanding the anatomy, physiology and visual function of the human retina.

Research at the lab translates directly into improved patient care. Among the more advanced imaging technologies in the lab are a:

A special electrophysiology room, lined completely in metal to filter out errant electromagnetic waves, is used to perform multifocal electroretinograms (MFERG), electro-ocular grams (EOG), visually evoked potentials (MFVEP) and ocular exams, which measure optic nerve functions in the eye.

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's research staff has helped to develop some of this new technology and works with the manufacturers to improve it.


Appointments & Information

Current patients wishing to make another appointment should continue to call (212) 979-4192 as usual.

If you are not currently a patient and are looking for an ophthalmologist affiliated with the Retina Center, please call The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Information & Referral Line at (212) 979-4472.

Read more about Retina Services at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Take a Virtual Tour of the new Retina Center!


Media Information

If you are a reporter seeking to interview this or any other doctor at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, please contact Jean Thomas, at (212) 979-4274, or Axel F. Bang, at (914) 234-5433.