“Other” Eye Conditions My Opinion Uncategorized

Meaningful Memorial Day

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Today, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a day where we remember our veterans and their families who have lost their lives fighting to protect their fellow Americans.

At the same time, we want to remember all of those who have lost their lives to the pandemic and remember those on the frontline and our essential workers around the world.

Memorial Day | Don’t Say Thank You

Memorial Day became a federal holiday only in 1971, but “Decoration Day” had been celebrated since the Civil War to commemorate lives lost in the Civil War. As America became engaged in additional wars, more veterans lost their lives and Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday of May.

“Have a Meaningful Day.”

While the exact origin of Memorial Day is uncertain, records show that the first “Memorial Day” was created by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. Federal records designate Waterloo, New York as the official birthplace of the holiday.

Veterans Day in the United States is similar to Memorial Day in that we acknowledge and celebrate our veterans of war. During Veterans Day, it is appropriate to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. During Memorial Day, it is appropriate to wish that a veteran have a “meaningful day” as they are likely to be remembering their fallen comrades.

3 PM local time is designated as a National Moment of Remembrance.


Around the world, as the United States approaches 100,000 deaths due to coronavirus, we all pay respects to those we have lost from the pandemic. We also acknowledge and thank the bravery of our frontline workers and essential personnel who risk their health and safety to keep the rest of us safe.

Our frontline workers keep us safe from COVID-19. Our essential workers keep us safe from COVID-19 and keep our communities functioning.

In the United States alone, the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is greater than the number of lives lost during the Vietnam and Korean Wars combined (see chart).

Thank you.

Have a safe and meaningful day.

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist
Virginia and Washington D.C.

“Other” Eye Conditions How I Practice My Opinion

What are Retinal Eye Emergencies?

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As suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye doctors should see only patient with urgent emergent eye conditions?

As a retina specialist, we are used to seeing patients everyday with both urgent and emergent eye conditions.  Here are few common diseases we treat daily.

By the way, this article expresses my opinion and how I treat my own patients.  I am not your eye doctor and if you have questions, concerns or are experiencing problems with your vision, please call your own doctor.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Most patients with diabetes will develop some degree of diabetic retinopathy in their lifetime.  The disease progresses very slowly and all patients need to be seen regularly through the year, regardless of symptoms.

If patients are receiving injections or are experiencing new symptoms, your doctor should be aware during this pandemic.  Many offices have closed and are not seeing patients, but the phone lines should remain open.  Trips to the emergency room in this scenario are not going to be helpful.

Patients with new vision loss or distortion or who need injections should call their retina specialist.

New Floaters

The most common cause of new floaters is a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).  The most common symptoms of a PVD are new onset floaters.  A PVD can cause a retinal tear, possibly leading to a retinal detachment.  A retinal detachment requires surgery and can cause blindness.

While a PVD is not necessarily and emergency, a PVD with possible retinal tear can be.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision with/without distortion.  Patients who experience new blurry vision or distortion should be seen urgently, especially if they are already receiving injections for wet macular degeneration.  The new symptoms could mean active disease and should be examined and treated promptly by your retina specialist.

Complications from Cataract Surgery

I added this for the sake of mentioning that while a retina specialist normally takes care of complications from cataract surgery, there should not be any elective cataract surgery being performed at this time, ergo, this should not be an urgent or emergent eye condition.

Retinal Detachments

Not all retinal detachments are necessarily an emergency, but can be if central vision is spared or lost recently.  The goal of retinal detachment surgery is to repair the detachment before central vision can be jeopardized.

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Eye News My Opinion Uncategorized

What is Blue Light?

Is blue light dangerous to your health?  To your eyes?  What is blue light?

We don’t normally see “the color” of light.  To most of us, light is not something we see, but is an element that allows us to see…and it’s colorless.  Scientists, however, describe light as part of the electromagnetic spectrum which includes visible light, xrays, gamma and radio waves.  Blue light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum of “visible light.”


Visible light is composed of the entire range of wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum which are visible to us.

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White light, the type of light we use everyday (such as the sun), seems to be colorless, but is really composed of many wavelengths of light of various colors.  Sir Isaac Newton discovered this when shining “colorless” sunlight through a prism thus separating the various wavelengths into its component colors.

An easy way to remember the various colors of white light is the mnemonic, “ROY G BIV”: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

The wavelenghts of the visible light range from 380 to 700 nm (nanometers).  A nanometer equals a billionth of a meter.  Violet light is the shortest wavelength whereas red light is the longest wavelength.  Shorter wavelengths of light contain more energy compared to longer wavelengths.

As you can see in the graphic, blue light is part of the visible spectrum ranging 380-500 nm.  Blue light can be further broken down to blue-violet light (380-450 nm) and blue-turquoise light (450-500 nm).

Essentially, about 1/3 of all visible light is blue light.


Blue light is everywhere.

Sources of blue light include the sun, digital TV screens, cell phone, tablets, computers, fluorescent and LED  lights.  A blue sky, but the way, derives its color from high-energy (short wave) blue light in the atmosphere.  The blue light scatters more than other wavelengths as it bounces off air and water molecules in the atmosphere.  Blue light really is everywhere.

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My Opinion

Best Retina Specialist Part II | Patient Advocacy

Finding the Best Retina Specialist, Fairfax, Virginia, Randall V. Wong, M.D.






This part 2 of this article.  Here’s the first part of “Best Retina Specialist.”

I Don’t Know the “Best Retina Specialist”

Even in my locale of Fairfax, Virginia, I would find it difficult to truly rate my peers as retina specialists.  I suppose that if I were to become a patient with retina problems, I might be able to better choose.  It’s the only way I could objectively evaluate, first hand, each of my retina peers.

For now, I can only secondarily evaluate the “best retina specialist” by evaluating the occasional patient we might share or discuss.  In addition, I have seen very few of my local retina specialists actually perform surgery – another barrier to finding the “best retina specialist.”

I can only rely on word-of-mouth from my colleagues in the health professions and occasional patients.  I don’t have any primary contact with most of my colleagues with regard to patient care.

Even U.S. News and World report is heavily subjective.  Finding the best doctors relies on evaluations by our “peers.”

I suppose if we all practiced together under the same roof and at the same time….


It may be difficult, if not impossible to find the best “retina specialist.”  The selection is heavily biased based upon subjective evaluations each step of the way.

There is no objective evaluation – such as winning a race to establish the world’s fastest human or the Superbowl (as a side note – I’ve always wondered whether pitting one surgical team vs. another had any merit or ethical ramifications – a sort of reality show to find the best/fastest surgical team.)

For you, our patients, there is no relevance to the entire process of becoming a retina specialist.  Therefore, you can’t really judge us by our training.

Relevance – or ability to relate to one another – is really the basis for defining the “best” of anything.  The “best” means different things to all of us.

What Does this  Mean?

As I teach about social media to my medical colleagues, I often emphasize that what we deem as “best” is based upon criteria which are RELEVANT to ourselves.

This is why what is “best” for someone may not be the “best” to others.  One retina specialist with a great bedside manner may fail compared to another who performs long, lengthy exams.

Perhaps that’s why there are more than one “best” retina specialist.

In the end, the “best retina specialist” has to meet some cursory criteria, but you are left with finding the doctor who can relate to you, build trust and communicate with you.

Most retinal diseases are not intuitive, that is, they are difficult to understand.  Therefore, to me, the best retina specialist is one with whom you can bond, and trust, when making decision about retinal diseases.

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