Since joining The Retina Group of Washington as a Fellow just a few short years ago, Dr. Joshua D. Levinson has fashioned a formidable record of published research remarkable for a younger doctor. It is his most recent work on improving the safety of intravitreal injections that is perhaps the most meaningful to date; his findings made their way into the prominent journal, Ophthalmology Review, and he has presented them at the annual meetings of the American Society of Retinal Specialists (ASRS) and the Retina Society. They also earned him recognition as a Finalist in the Ophthalmology Times Research Scholar Honoree competition at the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Working with fellow RGW physicians and co-authors Dr. Richard A. Garfinkel, Dr. Daniel M. Berinstein and Dr. Frank A. Spellman, Dr. Levinson studied the side effects of medications administered via intravitreal injections to treat complications of diabetes, exudative macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusions. The most serious of those complications is endophthalmitis–a bacterial infection of the eye–and thus the study involved analyzing various sterile techniques to improve the safety of the injections and reduce the incidence of infection.
Going back over the past 12 months, Dr. Levinson and his colleagues reviewed over 37,000 injections given to patients by RGW doctors. They concluded that using a lid speculum (a medical tool to help keep the eyelids open during the procedure) and altering the timing of antibiotics was associated with a seven-fold decrease in the incidence of endophthalmitis. The results of the study have already been implemented into the practice protocol; they led to the standardization of injection technique at each of the 15 RGW offices throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, as well as numerous clinics throughout the country.
Dr. Levinson has authored over a dozen other published research papers, studying such other important topics as the outcomes of retinal surgery for retinal detachment & diabetic eye disease and inherited retinal dystrophies. He is also heavily involved in training Georgetown Ophthalmology residents at the Washington Hospital Center to perform intravitreal injections for treatment of macular degeneration & diabetic macular edema and to perform retinal laser procedures to treat retinal tears and diabetic retinopathy.