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Just as a small private college blossoms into a great university, the Baltimore-based National Retina Institute now stands among the world’s most renowned centers of research, treatment and education in the treatment of retinal disease and disorders. Founded in 1989 by Dr. Bert M. Glaser, formerly a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and co-director of vitreoretinal research at the Wilmer Eye Institute, NRI has had a global influence treating thousand of patients, training physicians and originating new treatment protocols that are now practiced by retina specialists the world over.
Since it’s founding, NRI has expanded from its Towson (Md.) headquarters to offices throughout the Middle Atlantic area and as far south as Manassas, Virginia. Beyond geographic expansion, NRI has added specialists in a variety of research and treatment disciplines, to explore, treat and aid those suffering from retina diseases including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, leading causes of blindness in the world today. Further, it was NRI physicians who also developed surgery for the treatment of macular holes as wells as feeder vessel treatment for the wet version of age-related macular degeneration. Dynamic Video ICG Angiography, an incredibly important tool now used to diagnose and aid in the treatment of AMD, was also developed at NRI.
In line with NRI’s stated goal to more efficiently achieve the multi-disciplinary outreach of public medical institutions, NRI has been certified to teach eye care providers throughout the world, and also stands as one of the first practices accredited to teach advanced retina training. A Fellowship Program is ongoing and has attracted the best of the world’s resident ophthalmologists for further training and on-the-job experience in the retina field. Those who have completed their two-year fellowship at NRI have gone on to become leading retina specialists in this country and abroad.
In order to better serve our patients, Dr. Glaser established the Center for Vision Rehabilitation at NRI to help those with partial blindness achieve many of the normal tasks of everyday life. To this end, he enlisted the services of Dr. Donald Fletcher, arguably the world’s foremost proponent of vision rehabilitation. NRI has backed this initiative with a staff of occupational therapists and the equipment needed to make patients comfortable and confident in their changed circumstances.
In its most exciting initiative yet, NRI has created the Center for Ocular Proteomics, and is the originator of new science to better diagnose and treat the heartbreaking diseases of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, together the leading causes of blindness in the world today. Trials are being conducted at NRI with promising results that have the potential of radically improving the treatment of these diseases and perhaps even detecting the markers that will help prevent them from occurring.
The years have seen the National Retina Institute contribute substantial progress to the understanding and treatment of retinal diseases and disorders. It stands today as a prime example of how a private institute can be second to no one in advancing the cause of better health care for people around the world.