The eye includes a number of unique structures, with unique manifestations of disease and some diseases that do not occur elsewhere in the body. Ophthalmologists also have a specialized vocabulary, and require some specialized diagnostic services. The Yale Medical School Department of Pathology has responded to the unique needs of ophthalmologists by developing a specialty service in Ophthalmic Pathology. This service is headed by John Sinard, MD, PhD, who, in addition to being a board certified anatomic pathologist, also holds a joint appointment in the Yale Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. For many of the lesions that are unique to the eye, such as corneal or conjunctival lesions, or lesions that involve the eye itself, an ophthalmic pathologist will be more familiar with the spectrum of diseases, the histological appearance, and the appropriate terminology to more accurately communicate the findings to the ophthalmologist.
Services and Expertise
Specimens received by Yale Pathology from ophthalmologists are routinely routed to the Ophthalmic Pathology Service, where they are evaluated by a pathologist with subspecialty expertise in ophthalmic pathology. The eye and its surrounding structures (eyelids, orbit) represent a unique portion of the human anatomy. The eye itself is a complex structure, composed of specialized “layers” of tissue, each with a specific histology and function. More than simply a specialized sense organ, the eye is a direct extension of the central nervous system and is the source of more sensory input to the brain than any other organ or tissue. To accomplish its unique purpose, many of the “standard” rules of histology do not apply in the eye. For example, the cornea is avascular, the anterior surface of the iris lacks an epithelial lining, and the interior of the eye represents an immunologically privileged site. These unique characteristics result in the eye responding differently to injury and disease than do other parts of the body, and, in fact, different portions of the eye can respond very differently to the same type of injury. The Ophthalmic Pathology Service exists to address these unique needs of the ophthalmology community. We receive specimens from the Yale Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, community ophthalmologists, the West Haven VA, Bridgeport Hospital, and other local hospitals, as well as consultation material from other states.