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Medical Retina

What We Do

The Medical Retina Department is led by Associate Professor Gemmy Cheung (Head and Senior Consultant).

The department manages conditions affecting the retina that are not amenable to surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment options offered include laser and medications.

A wide range of conditions are currently under the care of the department, the most common of which include diabetic eye disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV).

Other conditions managed by the department include retinal complications associated with myopia, heredofamilial retinal dystrophies, myopic retinal degeneration and retinovascular eye disease.

The department is equipped with state-of-the-art outpatient suites in the Diabetes and Metabolism Centre (DMC) and is supported by a comprehensive range of the latest imaging equipment for diagnostic and monitoring purposes.

Treatment capabilities range from full-suite laser facilities (including high-speed multispot Pascal lasers and photodynamic therapy) to a purpose-built intravitreal injection suite with a HEPA filter.

The electrophysiology unit is a highly specialised diagnostic unit which supports the services provided by the department by conducting tests including electroretinography (ERG), multifocal ERG, visual evoked potential and electrooculography. The electrophysiology unit is led by doctors who are members of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision and this ensures that the lab meets internationally established high standards.

Key facts and figures

  • Intravitreal (IVT) anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections are the most commonly used therapy at the department.

  • The number of anti-VEGF injections administered increased from 1,000 in 2009 to more than 10,000 in 2017.

  • Many doctors in the department are members of prestigious international societies, including the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Macula Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  • The department is internationally renowned; faculty members are regularly invited to speak at international conferences.

  • The department conducts educational courses and holds events such as the Retina Symposium on an annual basis. These courses and events attract delegates from many countries.


Breakthroughs in technology

Since 2009, the department has established an ongoing prospective cohort study to capture clinical information and treatment outcomes of patients with AMD and PCV. This study has enabled the team to investigate important aspects of the conditions, such as risk factors and treatment outcome.

Key findings from this study have been published in several international scientific journals and contributed to the improved clinical care of patients with AMD and PCV. The data demonstrate significant visual improvement following treatment (Cheung et al., 2012; Cheung et al., 2017; Cheung et al., 2014; Ng et al., 2014 Ting et al., 2016). The data also confirm that smoking can increase the risk of AMD and PCV, providing evidence-based information for patient counselling and risk reduction (Cackett et al., 2011).

The Medical Retina Department has a long track record of participation in international and multicentre clinical trials which investigate emerging therapies, such as stem cell therapy and novel pharmacological agents.

Participation in these clinical trials have provided patients with the opportunity to be treated with novel treatments, prior to them becoming commercially available. The clinical trials have also provided vital data needed for approval of the novel therapies. The department participates in clinical trials that are conducted with the highest ethical and clinical standards, in accordance with requirements by the Singapore Health Sciences Authority and Good Clinical Practice guidelines.

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