Dr. Pamela Weber, Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor in the field of ophthalmology, leads Island Retina in its quest to provide the best retinal and vitreous care through advanced diagnostic and state-of-the-art treatments for their patients.
Standing out above other retinal centers, Island Retina participates in multiple research projects allowing their specialized staff to provide the best future treatments now. In a brief interview with Dr. Weber, she discusses the benefits of being involved in the future of retina care through research studies as well as the reasons that retinal care is so important to her and her specialized staff.
What continues to draw you to retinal care?
This is a wonderful field as there are innovations being introduced into clinical practice every year.
Why did you decide to become an opthamologist dedicated to retinal care?
I decided to specialize in retina for many reasons. First of all, I found the diseases to be really interesting and often systemic, so I could use all my medical knowledge. I loved the fact that it incorporated lots of technology for imaging, such as OCT and fluorescein angiography. I also loved the fact that our treatments involve high-level technology, such as lasers and biologics.
Island Retina is involved in several research studies. What does this mean and entail?
We are frequently enrolling in new studies. We offer the studies to the appropriate patients. We review the study at great length with each patient so they understand the design and the commitment.
We are presently involved in three phase 3 research projects. Phase 3 is the final testing before submission for FDA approval. It requires 2 studies done simultaneously by 2 groups of researchers. These are world studies.
Presently, we are working with Genentech on a drug called faricimab for the treatment of two separate diseases: diabetic macular edema, and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The hope is that this drug will provide a better treatment option for both diseases as the drug may allow less frequent dosing with the same or better vision results.
The third trial involves conbercept for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration from the drug company Chengdu Kanghong. This also looks like a biologic, which will have very powerful results with less frequent dosing. In past years, we were involved in a study, which ultimately led to the marketing of a new drug for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration called Beovu.
Why are studies such an important part of your practice?
We are involved in clinical trials because we realize better treatments are needed for some very common diseases. We want to treat patients today, but we also want to progress the understanding and treatment of retinal disease for tomorrow.
These studies give patients a chance to use new treatment years before they may be released to the general population.
What is most challenging about being an organization that participates in research studies as well as patient care?
The studies are challenging because you need a great research team dedicated and certified for the work. This includes a principal investigator, a study center coordinator, an assistant study center coordinator, photographers, vision testers, and masked and unmasked investigators.
What are your goals for Island Retina’s future?
My goals for Island Retina are to continue to be a small, private practice dedicated to providing outstanding care and to advancing the treatment of retinal disease through clinical trials and education, including giving lectures and writing online material.
What advice would you give to current and prospective patients?
My advice to patients with retinal disease is to make your appointments a priority.
Consider a research program if you are a candidate.
Always do your homework.
Feel free to ask lots of questions and take educational material home.
Bring someone with you to the appointments as two sets of ears are sometimes better than one.
Know your treatment options.
And take notes or ask for a Care Plan from the doctor if it gets confusing.
Connect with Dr. Weber and Island Retina today
If you or a loved one need the best in retinal care—the kind of care that provides the future of retinal care to today’s patients—contact Island Retina today.