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Retina and Vitreous

The Retina and Vitreous Section is comprised of physicians who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of vitreoretinal disease and retinal detachment repairs. Expertise in the treatment of the following diagnoses is provided:

  • Cystoid macular edema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy in pregnancy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Pars planitis
  • Retinal degeneration and other retinal anomalies
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Sickle cell retinopathy

Among diagnostic and treatment services offered are the following:

  • Comprehensive care for diabetic eye disease including diabetic retinopathy
  • Evaluation and management of vitreo-retinal complications of ocular
  • Laser treatment for retinal disorders
  • Photodynamic therapy for macular degeneration
  • Surgeries including removal of retained lens fragments and enophthalmitis
  • Surgical repair of macular holes

The team of ophthalmologists includes Dr. Ron Adelman, Dr. Ron Adelman, Dr. James E. Kempton, and Dr. Kathleen Stoessel. All physicians are board-certified ophthalmologists with fellowship training and specialization in disorders of the retina and vitreous. These disorders comprise the leading causes of blindness in infancy, young adulthood, and older age.

Examples of retinal diseases diagnosed and treated at Yale include: diabetic retinopathy; inflammatory conditions (Uveitis); intraocular infections in healthy individuals or in persons with AIDS; intraocular tumors (e.g. melanoma, lymphoma, metastasis, and retinoblastoma); macular degeneration; ocular trauma; retinal detachments; retinal disease associated with systemic conditions such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and multiple sclerosis; retinal tears and holes; retinal vascular disease (vein and artery occlusions); retinitis pigmentosa and other inherited retinal dystrophies; and retinopathy of prematurity.

Meet Ophthalmologist Kristen Nwanyanwu, MD, MBA

Kristen Nwanyanwu, MD, is an ophthalmologist who specializes in vitreoretinal surgery, which treats the vitreous, or gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain its round shape. She often treats patients with eye problems related to trauma, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. An assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual science at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Nwanyanwu enjoys working the Yale Eye Center because she has quick access to colleagues who often provide valuable input for her cases.

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Retina and Vitreous Faculty

  • Robert R. Young Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Chair, Ophthalmology; Chief of Ophthalmology, Yale New Haven Hospital

    Lucian V. Del Priore, MD, PhD specializes in the surgical and medical treatment of retinal disease, including age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, macular holes, epiretinal membranes, and ocular trauma. He received his BS in Physics from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, an MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and an MS and PhD in Physics from Cornell University.  He completed a residency in Ophthalmology and fellowships in Vitreoretinal Surgery and Glaucoma at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.  He has served on the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine and Columbia University, where he rose to the ranks of Professor and Robert L. Burch III Scholar in the Department of Ophthalmology and was a member of the Stem Cell Consortium.  Prior to coming to Yale, he was the Pierre G. Jenkins Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Professor of Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Albert Florens Storm Eye Institute at MUSC in Charleston, SC.          Dr. Del Priore is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Macula Society, the Retina Society, the American Society of Retinal Specialists, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the International Society for Eye Research.  Dr. Del Priore has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature and has given numerous invited lectures throughout the world on the treatment of retinal diseases.  He maintains an active research laboratory in the biology of retina in health and disease.  He was recently elected to the New York Ophthalmological Society, and is a Life Fellow and Member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, having previously received a Senior Achievement Award in recognition of commitment to advancing the profession. He has also received a Senior Honor Award from the American Society of Retina Specialists, and is a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. He has received an MA (honorary) from Yale University, and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute at Johns Hopkins in recognition of outstanding contributions to ophthalmology as a Wilmer Graduate. He has received the Lew R. Wasserman Award from Research to Prevent Blindness and a Teacher of the Year Award. He is listed consistently within the Castle Connolly Guide to America’s Top Doctors, as well as Connecticut Magazine Best Doctors.
  • Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Director of the Retina and Macula Service

    Dr. Adelman is the Director of the Retina and Macula Service at Yale School of Medicine.  He is an internationally recognized expert in diseases and surgery of macula, retina and vitreous and serves as the President of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) and Scientific Director of the European Vitreo-Retinal Society (EVRS).  Dr. Adelman has served as the President of Connecticut Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (CSEP) and President of the New Haven County Medical Association (NHCMA).  He has been invited faculty in 15 countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Mexico and Canada.  His clinical interests include macular holes and puckers, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, complex retinal detachments, retinal vein occlusion, retinal lasers and surgery.  He has described new disorders and has introduced a novel surgery for macular holes that is currently being utilized worldwide. He has received the “Senior Honor Award” of the American Society of Retina Specialists and the “Senior Achievement Award” of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  He has been recognized by the Lions of Connecticut as “Knight of the Blind” for “outstanding work throughout the state and in the global community.”  Dr. Adelman’s education includes a Master of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley, an Ophthalmology Residency and a Retina Fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School.  During his fellowship at Harvard University, he received many awards, including the Club Vit Fellow Research Award, the Ron G. Michels Fellowship Award, and Fellow of the Year 2000.  He has been at the forefront of new advancements in macular and retinal diseases and has been Principal Investigator of numerous clinical trials.  Dr. Adelman has published extensively, primarily in the area of retinal and macular diseases and surgery, with over 400 publications and abstracts.  He serves on the editorial board of several scientific journals and serves on the Executive Committees of several medical societies.
  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

    Mathieu Bakhoum is a physician scientist with clinical training in ophthalmology and vitreoretinal surgery. At the Yale Eye Center, he cares for patients with complex retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, epiretinal membrane and retinal artery and vein occlusions.His laboratory at the Yale School of Medicine focuses on two research areas with direct clinical applications.  The first is to determine mechanisms that drive metastasis in uveal melanoma, a lethal eye cancer. His goal is to translate this knowledge to develop non-invasive biomarkers for diagnosis and metastatic surveillance, and to identify druggable targets that can be employed to treat the primary and metastatic disease. His work has identified a novel mechanism by which cancer cells evolve to become more aggressive. The second area of focus capitalizes upon the ability to visualize the individual cellular layers of the retina during routine eye examination, and utilizes this information to detect underlying systemic diseases. Dr. Bakhoum has demonstrated that retinal ischemic perivascular lesions (RIPLs) can be used as a biomarker for underlying cardiovascular disease. Early detection of cardiovascular disease allows early implementation of therapy or lifestyle modification, thereby slowing disease progression or averting catastrophic events such as a stroke or heart attack.
  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and of Pathology

    After graduating magna cum laude from Princeton University, Dr. Hafler earned his MD/PhD from Harvard Medical School and completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Connie Cepko's laboratory at Harvard.  He completed an ophthalmology residency at Yale School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital and a fellowship in retina at Mass. Eye and Ear as a Heed Fellow where he specialized in Inherited Retinal Degenerations.  Following his fellowship, he received a K08 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the NIH and joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School where he served on Mass. Eye and Ear’s Retina Service and in the Emergency and Trauma Eye Care Department.  He has a laboratory in the Department of Ophthalmology in the Yale School of Medicine where he recently generated the first single-cell human retinal transcriptomic atlas and identified the cell types driving macular degeneration. He recently received the American Society for Clinical Investigation Young Physician Scientist Award, the Thome Memorial Foundation Award for AMD Research, and was named the William R. Orthwein, Jr. ’38 Yale Scholar. He studies macular degeneration and glaucoma using single-cell transcriptomics to identify novel therapeutic approaches.
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology & Visual Science; Associate Director of Yale-New Haven Hospital Ophthalmology Program, Ophthalmology; Associate Director of Vitreoretinal Fellowship Program; Director, Eye Care Services, VA CT; Vice Chair of Veteran Affairs, Ophthalmology & Visual Science

    Dr. James E. Kempton joined the Yale University School of Medicine in July of 2009 as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology specializing in Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Retina Surgery. He received his undergraduate degree with Honors at The Ohio State University where he stayed and completed his medical school in 1997. He did his Internship in a Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Program at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He completed his first residency in the Yale University Internal Medicine Primary Care Program. Dr. Kempton then completed a Chief Residency in Internal Medicine at the Hospital of Saint Raphael before working as a hospitalist for two years in Connecticut. Dr. Kempton returned for a second residency in Ophthalmology at Yale University. In his senior year, he served as the first full-time Chief Resident in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. At the completion of the three year program, he was recognized and honored by the faculty with the Marvin L. Sears Award for Clinical Excellence. Dr. Kempton remained at the Yale Eye Center where he completed a two-year fellowship in Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Retinal Surgery. Dr. Kempton is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Ophthalmology. He is the current Director of Eye Care Services at the West Haven Veterans Administration in addition to his appointment at Yale University. He will also serve as the Associate Program Director of the Ophthalmology Residency Program assisting Dr. Chow and the Associate Vitreo-Retinal Fellowship Director assisting Dr. Stoessel in continuing the high level of excellence in education. Dr. Kempton offers the full range of laser and vitreo-retinal surgery. He has an interest in diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachments, macular holes, and vitreo-retinal diseases associated with trauma. His research interests include vitreo-retinal diseases and surgery as well as the systems approaches in the delivery of medical education. Dr. Kempton is available for consultation and referrals regarding all disorders involving the retina and vitreous or related conditions.
  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science

    Dr. Kristen Nwanyanwu graduated with highest honors from the University of Michigan.  Her degrees in African-American Studies and Biochemistry became the foundation for her career as a health disparities researcher. At the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her medical degree and MBA from the Wharton School. She is a board-certified ophthalmologist and a practicing vitreoretinal surgeon. She completed residency at the University of Michigan and vitreoretinal surgery fellowship at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After joining the Yale faculty, she was selected for the YCCI Junior Faculty Scholars Program through which she completed her Master of Health Science with Honors.  She is currently the PI for the NIH-funded Sight-Saving Engagement and Evaluation in New Haven (SEEN) Program, a multi-method approach to identifying and addressing health disparities in diabetic retinopathy. She has lectured nationally on health disparities, access to care, and the surgical management of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Director, Retina Fellowship Program

    Dr. Stoessel specializes in Medical Retina and is Director of the Retina Fellowship Program.  She received her MD from the State University of New York/Downstate Medical Center and completed Ophthalmology Residency at the Yale School of Medicine in followed by a Vitreoretinal Fellowship, also at Yale.  Dr. Stoessel joined the Yale Eye Center as a full-time faculty in Retina.  Dr. Stoessel directs the Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) program at Yale-New Haven Hospital, in which premature infants have retina evaluations, monitoring, and laser treatment when indicated to lower the risk of vision loss.  Dr. Stoessel is the Retina Co-investigator at Yale for the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) Trial.  Her clinical interests lie in the evaluation and laser treatment of ROP and other adult and pediatric proliferative retinopathies, sickle cell retinopathy, retinal evaluation in pediatric head trauma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal dystrophies.