The LuEsther T. Mertz Retinal Research Center is devoted to the idea that educational programs are an important means of fulfilling the Center's stated mission, which is to ensure the highest quality of care for sufferers of retinal disorders. We look beyond our immediate patient population to the wider world. We believe that the best ways to ensure high quality care for these patients is to provide training to the doctors who will one day treat them and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas.


Our committment to training is two-fold. We play an active role in the training of the hospital's regular retinal fellows who supervise the residents in the retinal clinic. This is a two-year medical and surgical retinal fellowship in collaboration with Columbia University. The retinal fellows work under the supervision of Dr. Stanley Chang, Dr. Richard Spaide, Dr. Jason Slakter, Dr. K. Bailey Freund, Dr. John Sorenson, Dr. Yale Fisher, Dr. Michael Cooney, Dr. Jay Klancnik, Dr. Irene Barbazetto, Dr. Michael Engelbert, and Dr. Lawrence Yannuzzi.

In addition, the department sponsors a 6-month to 1-year International Research Fellowship program in Vitreous-Retinal-Macula diseases, in which physicians from other countries can observe, participate in research projects, and attend educational programs.

Exchange of Ideas

We support the exchange of ideas between other professional people engaged in similar research. We sponsor and conduct meetings, lectures and symposia, including our much celebrated triennial Macula meeting, for people interested in, or engaged in, research in this field. In addition, we are involved in the design, publication, and distribution of printed and multi-media materials. We recently launched the award winning, a website based on the lifetime experience of Dr. Yale Fisher, to teach ophthalmic ultrasound techniques to doctors, medical students, and ophthalmic technicians; and, a website dedicated to people suffering from macular disease, as well as their families and caregivers.

Outreach and Public Awareness

The public awareness and outreach campaign is facilitated by the Research Center staff. Most of the activities are carried out by a small group of volunteers known as the Association for Macular Diseases, Inc. Many of the volunteers for the Association have Age-Related Macular Degeneration and offer support to others afflicted by this disease. The stated goal of the Association is to be, “a national support group, solely concerned with the problems of individuals and families who are endeavoring to cope with both the practical and emotional problems brought about by this particular type of eye disorder". Their activities include maintenance of a macular hotline, distribution of a quarterly newsletter (printed in large type), national and international seminars to increase public awareness as well as information and referral services for the visually impaired.

Educational Materials / Media Services

Websites  (Vishnu Hoff- Creative Director / Lead Content Developer)


Patient Education Booklets  (Vishnu Hoff- Supervising Editor / Designer)

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy


Patient Education CD/DVDs  (Vishnu Hoff- Supervising Editor / Designer)

  • Age Related Macular Degeneration
  • Diabetic Retinopathy


O.R. Video Sourcing for Educational Programming  (Vishnu Hoff)

The Retinal Atlas, 2nd edition (2010)- winner of the PROSE award for Clinical Medicine (Vishnu Hoff- Photographic Editor & Production Manager)