Your Eyes and Sense of Sight

Did you know that your eye operates in much the same way as a camera? Just as the lens of a camera focuses entering light on a piece of film to produce a sharp image, the lens of your eye focuses light on the retina to form a picture that is then sent to the brain.

At this point in time the lens sharpens, and projects the light onto the inner layer, which is known as the retina. Your retina acts in much the same way as film in a conventional camera, with millions of photo-receptors, which are known as rods and cones translating the focused light into full-color visual information. However, the information received by the retina is an upside down image that requires up-righting.

To protect the health of your eyes and to enjoy optimal vision, it’s important to see your ophthalmologist for routine exams and care.

RGW Encourages Patients To Maintain Appointments During Pandemic

Over the past year, Americans have tried to avoid crowds and remain at home in an effort to comply with COVID-19 protocols and stay well. Equally important, however, is ensuring that ongoing and new medical needs are taken care of in a timely fashion. PBS recently aired a segment about the devastating consequences of delaying medical care during the pandemic for retina diseases like macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). Watch the video at Early and consistent treatment is critical, so don’t delay your appointments. RGW doctors are available and committed to helping you maintain your vision health now, throughout the pandemic, and beyond. Call (844) RGW-DOCS (749-3627) to schedule your appointment today.

RGW Thanks All Patients and Caregivers

To all RGW patients and caregivers,

As our country continues to navigate the “new normal” of daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the physicians and staff at The Retina Group of Washington (RGW) would like to express our thanks to and admiration for all of our patients and their families.

We know that daily life is very challenging now, as routines are disrupted and we all try to adopt and remain vigilant about new health and safety guidelines. RGW continues to provide in-office care for all essential and urgent retinal needs, as well as tele-health appointments for those who cannot come to our offices. In most cases, you will see your regular RGW physician. Our appointment schedule and waiting rooms have been reconfigured to increase social distancing, and you have the option of waiting in your car until your appointment time. Additionally, our entire staff continues to utilize appropriate personal protective equipment and recommended sterilization techniques.

RGW is constantly impressed by how our patients and their caregivers are handling the challenges of today’s world. Your positive outlook, cooperation and confidence in all of us at RGW is an endless source of inspiration.

We are also grateful for the many expressions of thanks and appreciation we have received from our patients during these challenging times. The support and positive feedback you provide about your experiences with our practice, a recent example of which is below, motivate us to continue providing the highest level of healthcare possible:

“I would like to thank your group of physicians, nurses, and your entire support staff at RGW for their dedication, kindness, and professionalism. Especially the surgical skills of Dr. Do who literally returned my sight! Oftentimes, people who provide such crucial gifts to others go unappreciated. I am relishing my retirement and my enjoyment is almost entirely predicated upon my ability to view what my future life has in store. The importance of what you all do is not lost on me and I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you all a heartfelt “atta-boy”… for a job well done!”

The entire RGW team – physicians and staff alike – remain, as always, committed to your ongoing health and well-being. From all of us at RGW, our thanks for your continued support of our practice, and our very best wishes that you and your family remain safe and well.


Richard J. Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer, and the Physicians of RGW

Dr. Fein Co-Hosts Photodynamic Therapy Webinar

RGW is proud that Dr. Jordana G. Fein co-hosted the July 8 professional webinar, “Photodynamic Therapy: A Look at How This Treatment Fits Into Today’s Retina Practice.” By sharing her extensive experience and expertise, Dr. Fein is helping U.S. ophthalmologists gain continuing medical education credits on this important topic and clinical advancement.

RGW To Resume Normal Office Hours On May 11; Patient Safety Measures Firmly In Place

Dear RGW patients,

The Retina Group of Washington (RGW) is pleased to announce that all of our offices in D.C., Virginia and Maryland will resume regular hours, effective Monday, May 11.

Because the health of our patients, staff, doctors and community remain our top priority, RGW has implemented the following safety measures. These measures will remain in effect indefinitely during the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure that RGW can continue to provide the highest quality of care possible:

  • Phone Screenings: Every patient will receive a phone call prior to their appointment from an RGW staff member, who will ask a series of health-related questions to determine if the appointment can proceed.
  • Social Distancing: RGW has re-configured its waiting rooms to accommodate social distancing guidelines. We ask that, unless a support person is required, patients arrive for their appointments alone.
  • Temperature Monitoring: All RGW patients are required to have their temperature checked upon arrival by an RGW staff member.
  • Face Coverings: All RGW patients are required to wear a face covering during their time in the RGW office. If a patient does not have a face covering, RGW will provide one to them.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: All RGW staff and physicians are complying with best practice guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and wearing face masks and gloves. Additionally, RGW staff and physicians wash their hands between every appointment and have their temperatures checked daily.
  • Cleaning Procedures: RGW has intensified its usual high-caliber cleaning procedures during the pandemic. Every exam room and all equipment are thoroughly disinfected between each appointment. All other office areas are also sanitized several times each day.
  • Telehealth Appointments: Because we know that some RGW patients may be unable to come into our offices, we’re continuing to offer telehealth appointments with RGW physicians by phone, mobile device or computer. Almost all insurance companies are now covering telehealth appointments.

To reinforce our commitment to keeping you as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, while still providing you with exceptional eye care, we have included photos below showing how our offices are operating on a daily basis.

Office Photo Office Photo Office Photo Office Photo

As always, and perhaps more than ever, RGW is your trusted eye care partner. We will continue to be here for all of your ophthalmologic needs, both during the pandemic and well afterwards. Please call (844) RGW-DOCS (749-3627) with any questions, or to make an appointment.

Thank you,
RGW Physicians

RGW to Partner with PRISM Vision Group

On March 3, PRISM Vision Group™, the largest vertically-integrated eyecare services organization in the Mid-Atlantic region, announced that RGW will become its newest partner.

RGW’s Dr. Reginald Sanders said “Medicine is changing around us, and over the past several years we have seen continued consolidation, particularly in the field of ophthalmology. For the past few years, RGW has explored the idea of strategically aligning with a leading growth-oriented administrative services organization to facilitate integration in our market. After a year-long search, we determined that PRISM Vision Group is the best organization to help us achieve our goals.”

“RGW has a long legacy of providing high-quality patient care,” stated Steven Madreperla, MD, PhD, President and CEO, PRISM Vision Group. “We are excited to combine our operational expertise with RGW’s talented management team and physician partners who share PRISM Vision Group’s focus on delivering the highest-level of patient care.”

PRISM and RGW expect to finalize the agreement by the end of March, at which time PRISM will work closely with RGW’s management team and physicians on strategic initiatives to support integration as well as organic growth, optimizing the network model, enhancing administrative processes and operating efficiencies, investing in clinical technologies and supporting the highest level of patient care.

Dr. Sanders to be Honored by Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington

On March 8, 2020, RGW’s Reginald J. Sanders, M.D., will receive the prestigious Professional Service Award for excellence in eye care from the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB). Dr. Sanders will be honored at the POB’s annual Celebrate 20/20 event, previously known as the Night of Vision Gala, which brings together over 150 of the area’s most prominent ophthalmologists and philanthropists to recognize outstanding ophthalmologic expertise.

Tickets and additional event information can be obtained here.

Dr. Sanders is the fourth RGW physician to be presented with the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington’s esteemed Professional Service Award. Previous RGW recipients include Richard A. Garfinkel, M.D., William S. Gilbert, M.D., and A. Raymond Pilkerton, M.D.

Founded in 1936, the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington is the largest local prevention of blindness agency in the United States, dedicated to the improvement and preservation of sight by providing services, education, advocacy and innovation. POB’s headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and the organization serves the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties of Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

Dr. Cuong Vu Speaks at Foundation Fighting Blindness Seminar

On September 7, 2019, RGW’s Cuong D. Vu, M.D., participated in the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ D.C. Metro Area Vision Seminar. Dr. Vu contributed his expertise to a panel discussion titled “Current Updates on Retinal Health, Treatments, and Research – A Conversation.”

The event was part of the Foundation’s Vision Seminar Series, which offers eye care professionals and the public presentations that cover research advancements, current treatments, clinical trials, and low-vision rehabilitation.

Dr. Vu previously has served as Medical Chair at numerous Montgomery County VisionWalks for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. As a hands-on participant in cutting-edge research, Dr. Vu has served as principle investigator for pivotal clinical trials on Macular Degeneration and Retinal Vein Occlusion, while maintaining clinical interest in the treatment of those two diseases, along with Diabetic Retinopathy, minimally invasive Retinal Vitreous surgery, Retinal Detachment and Retinal Imaging.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private group that provides funds for retinal disease research. The Foundation’s goal is to drive the research that will lead to preventions, treatments, and vision restoration for the spectrum of degenerative retinal diseases.

7 RGW Physicians Named to Washingtonian’s 2019 Top Doctor List

Congratulations to the following Retina Group of Washington (RGW) physicians, who were recently designated as 2019 Top Doctors by Washingtonian magazine:

  • Gordon A. Byrnes, M.D.
  • Dal W. Chun, M.D.
  • Vinay N. Desai, M.D.
  • Geoffrey R. Kaplan, M.D.
  • William B. Phillips, M.D.
  • Frank A. Spellman, M.D.
  • Eric D. Weichel, M.D.

The annual ranking, determined through voting by other area physicians, is a valued, go-to resource for patients seeking the best healthcare providers in greater D.C. area. The inclusion of these seven remarkable ophthalmologists brings the number of RGW physicians who have received this honor by the Washingtonian to 22.

“My colleagues and I are extremely excited and humbled to be included on this prestigious list by our peers,” said Dr. Spellman, who has received the honor for three consecutive years. “We believe that this honor reflects our commitment to providing our patients with the highest possible quality of care through cutting-edge ophthalmic techniques to optimize their retinal health.”

Past RGW Washingtonian Top Doctor honorees include:

  • Mohammed K. Barazi, M.D.
  • Daniel M. Berinstein, M.D.
  • Richard A. Garfinkel, M.D.
  • T. Mark Johnson, M.D., FRCSC
  • Reshma C. Katira, M.D.
  • Aziz A. Khanifar, M.D.
  • Michael M. Lai, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Eric S. Lee, M.D.
  • Alexander Melamud, M.D., M.A.
  • Michael H. Osman, M.D.
  • Gayatri S. Reilly, M.D.
  • Reginald J. Sanders, M.D.
  • Frank A. Spellman, M.D.
  • Manfred A. Von Fricken, M.D.

Congratulations to all RGW Top Doctors for being recognized among the very best practicing ophthalmologists in the greater Washington, D.C. area!

RGW’s Dr. Deborah Reid Selected as 2019 Top Ophthalmologist by

RGW is proud to announce that Deborah Reid, M.D., has been selected to represent Annapolis as a Top Ophthalmologist on, an online resource devoted to connecting patients and local physicians through actionable, medical-based content that empowers people to make informed healthcare decisions for themselves and their families. Dr. Reid will also be spotlighted in the renowned associated publication The Leading Physicians of the World, a highly-regarded resource that provides patients with pertinent information on healthcare providers, and physicians with a forum to communicate, share ideas, and exchange information.

Dr. Reid was nominated and selected for inclusion in these resources by her medical peers, based on her significant and impressive expertise, success and leadership.

Over 70% of adults in America use the internet to research or diagnose medical conditions, and believes that accessing information is only the first step towards better health. The respected website goes a step further by matching all of its medical content with local physicians and specialists, based on the insurance each practice accepts.

Congratulations to Dr. Reid!

RGW’s Dr. Berinstein, Dr. Garfinkel and Dr. Lai Share Expertise at American Society of Retina Specialists Meeting in Dallas

Over 400 retinal physicians and administrators of vitreoretinal practices convened at the American Society of Retina Specialists’ (ASRS) 21st Annual The Business of Retina Meeting in Dallas to learn business principles necessary to maximize practice success in an increasingly complex medical environment.

RGW’s Drs. Daniel M. Berinstein, Richard A. Garfinkel, and Michael M. Lai were three of the distinguished thought leaders who participated as faculty and organizers of this popular and unique retina-oriented business course on March 30-31, 2019.

Dr. Berinstein’s talk, “Anatomy of a Claim: The Do’s and Don’ts,” provided a comprehensive overview for physicians on how to handle challenging situations they may face in their practices. As part of the Planning Committee for “The Business of Retina Meeting,” Dr. Lai developed the event program and moderated a portion of the meeting. Dr. Garfinkel, who served on the Planning Committee prior to this year, presided over a panel discussion titled “Physician Driven Practice Aggregation.”

The ASRS is the largest retinal organization in the world, representing over 3,000 members in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 59 countries. The Society serves as a national advocate and primary source of clinical and scientific information and education for its members.

RGW’s Dr. Reginald Sanders Presents at 2019 Royal Hawaiian Retina Meeting

Dr. Reginald Sanders recently said aloha to leading ophthalmologists at the 2019 Royal Hawaiian Retina Meeting, where he was invited to participate as a guest speaker on a variety of retina-related topics. Dr. Sanders served on panels examining new treatments and advances for diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. He also lent his expertise to a discussion about the business of retina practices, and strategies for ensuring optimal practice operations, staff performance, and patient care.

The Royal Hawaiian Retina Meeting is one of the most unique and respected ophthalmology medical meetings in the country, featuring renowned faculty, innovative program content and interactive sessions, and continuing educational credits. The popular annual meeting was held on Hawaii’s Big Island, and attended by over 1,500 comprehensive ophthalmologists, retina specialists, administrators, nurses and allied health professionals seeking the best educational experience in ophthalmology.

The Royal Hawaiian Retina Meeting is the most recent medical forum in which Dr. Sanders, a widely-published and internationally recognized retina lecturer, has participated.

RGW’s Drs. Byrnes, Chun, Garfinkel and Osman Named Virginia Living’s Top Ophthalmologists of 2019; 45 Top Doctor Honors for RGW Since 2010

The Retina Group of Washington (RGW) is proud to announce that, over the past nine years, our ophthalmologists have consistently been named to the prestigious Top Doctor lists published by Washingtonian and Virginia Living magazines. The latest RGW physicians to receive this honor are Dr. Gordon A. Byrnes, Dr. Dal W. Chun, Dr. Richard A. Garfinkel and Dr. Michael H. Osman, each recently named to Virginia Living’s 2019 Top Doctors list.

The Top Doctor lists, widely regarded as go-to resources for the best healthcare in the area, are compiled based on nominations by over 13,000 DC, Maryland and Virginia physicians.

“The fact that Top Doctor honorees are selected by their professional peers throughout the area is especially meaningful, as it signifies that other practicing physicians in our specialty recognize RGW’s expertise and exceptional patient care,” said Dr. Byrnes. “I speak on behalf of Drs. Chun, Garfinkel and Osman when I say that we are extremely honored to receive this year’s accolade from Virginia Living, and join the impressive roster of previous RGW Top Doctor designees.”

Past RGW Top Doctor honorees:


Top Doctor

  • Mohammed K. Barazi, M.D. (2018)
  • Daniel M. Berinstein, M.D. (2017, 2016)
  • William F. Deegan III, M.D. (2017, 2016, 2015)
  • Richard A. Garfinkel, M.D. (2014, 2012, 2010)
  • T. Mark Johnson, M.D., FRCSC (2018)
  • Reshma C. Katira, M.D. (2018)
  • Aziz A. Khanifar, M.D. (2018)
  • Michael M. Lai, M.D., Ph.D. (2017, 2016)
  • Eric S. Lee, M.D. (2018)
  • Alexander Melamud, M.D., M.A. (2018)
  • Michael H. Osman, M.D. (2012, 2010)
  • Gayatri S. Reilly, M.D. (2017)
  • Reginald J. Sanders, M.D. (2017, 2015, 2012, 2010)
  • Frank A. Spellman, M.D. (2018, 2017)
  • Manfred A. Von Fricken, M.D. (2014, 2012, 2010)

Virginia Living:

Top Doctor

  • Daniel M. Berinstein, M.D. (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013)
  • Gordon A. Byrnes, M.D. (2019, 2017)
  • Dal W. Chun, M.D. (2019)
  • Richard A. Garfinkel, M.D. (2019, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013)
  • Alexander Melamud, M.D., M.A. (2017)
  • Michael H. Osman, M.D. (2019, 2015, 2014, 2013)

Congratulations to all RGW Top Doctors for being recognized among the very best practicing ophthalmologists in the greater Washington, D.C. area!

Dr. Jordana G. Fein Takes Part in Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade to Honduras, Performs Cataract Surgeries On More Than Two Dozen Patients Including Young Children

Dr. Jordana G. Fein recently made her second consecutive trip to Honduras as part of the Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade’s annual effort to improve the health of communities in Honduras. Accompanied by a pediatric ophthalmologist, two senior residents from Georgetown/Washington Hospital Center and a pediatric Fellow from Children’s National Hospital, she participated in cataract surgeries on more than two dozen patients.

While each of the villagers that received treatment in the past two missions offered a compelling story, one particular experience stands out for Dr. Fein and her colleagues. The Brigade Eye Care team examined an 8-year-old boy, Jose, who had lost the majority of his eyesight due to cataracts. While screening him for a new pair of eyeglasses during their trip last year, he was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts and was driven down from the mountains in order to have surgery at San Benito Jose. The procedure was completed, and both Jose and his mother were brought to tears of joy when only minutes after the surgery, he was able for the first time to see and identify the color in a picture of a car. The story’s happy ending was made all the better when the Brigade surgical team followed up with the youngster and removed cataracts in his right eye during this year’s trip, and subsequently got him fitted for new glasses, improving his vision and his quality of life.

The Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade is a 501(c)(3) and USAID PVO registered organization founded in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of Central America, especially Honduras. The group’s initial efforts were to provide disaster relief with subsequent endeavors focused on offering curative services. In more recent years, the Brigade has added programs that support sustainable community development interventions and reduce the impact of preventable diseases on vulnerable populations. More details and information on volunteering for or donating to the organization can be found at

honduras mission

Dr. Fein is pictured with young boy who had two cataract surgeries as part of the Virginia Hospital Center Medical Brigade, the most recent of which was done in November 2018.[/caption]

Seven RGW Physicians Among Area’s Best Ophthalmologists In Annual Washingtonian Magazine’s “Top Doctors” Listing As Chosen by Peers in the Medical Field

Seven RGW physicians were included among the Maryland-Virginia-D.C. area’s best ophthalmologists in the Washingtonian Magazine’s “Top Doctors” listing as chosen by their peers in the field. Dr. Mohammed K. BaraziT. Mark JohnsonReshma C. KatiraAziz A. KhanifarEric S. LeeAlex Melamud and Frank A. Spellman were the doctors named in the annual rankings.

Drs. Eric D. Weichel & Marcus H. Colyer Co-author Article In Ophthalmology Journal on Military Combat-Related Intraocular Foreign Body Injuries

Drs. Eric D. Weichel & Marcus H. Colyer co-authored an article in a recent issue of Ophthalmology Journal on Military Combat-Related Intraocular Foreign Body Injuries. The findings—first presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Annual Meeting—documented trauma in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Retina Group of Washington Announces Merger with Retina Associates

The Retina Group of Washington (RGW), the leading provider of retinal and macular care in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, has announced it is merging with Retina Associates (RA) effective January 1, 2019.

RGW currently has 14 offices in Maryland, Virginia and the District and totals 26 full-time physicians who provide expertise in a variety of retina-related sub-specialties. Retina Associates’ five offices are all in suburban Maryland; three coincide with RGW locations (Rockville, Silver Spring and Bowie) and the other two are in Annapolis and Columbia.

“For over 25 years, Retina Associates has been honored to provide excellent retinal care for our patients and communities,” said RA’s Dr. Cuong Vu. “The merger of RA and RGW is based on our shared core mission to provide the highest quality retinal care. We are excited to embark on this new phase and have high aspirations for what we can accomplish together for our patients, referring professionals, employees and communities. We are very pleased to join RGW in building a national center of excellence in retinal care.”

“We are delighted to be teaming up with such an outstanding group of doctors that are equally committed to providing the highest standard of patient care,” said RGW’s Dr. Eric Weichel. “And the opportunity to expand into two new areas is both exciting and consistent with our ongoing mission to expand the practice’s reach across the region.”

The Retina Group of Washington, founded in 1982, has evolved to become the largest practice in the United States solely dedicated to retinal care. RGW is committed to providing the highest quality patient care, conducting advanced research and introducing innovative techniques, educating all health care providers and training world-class retinal surgeons. The practice specializes in treating retinal, vitreous and macular diseases throughout Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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