Ask the Expert 2023
Kin Yee, M.D.
Retinal Consultants Medical Group
Prior to joining the Retinal Consultants as a medical retina specialist, Dr. Yee practiced in the Washington, D.C. area, where he was on faculty at the Georgetown University department of ophthalmology. He is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a member of the American Society of Retina Specialists and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Why did you become a retina specialist?
When I was 8, my father had symptoms of flashes and floaters in his left eye. He went to an ophthalmologist, who diagnosed a retinal tear. I remember him telling my mother that if he didn’t have laser treatment, he might go blind. As a kid, hearing that a parent might lose sight is frightening. He ended up having successful laser treatment by a wonderful retina specialist, who not only treated his tear, but also allayed his fears and concerns. My father spoke so highly of his retina specialist, I grew up telling everyone I wanted to be a retina specialist too.
What is geographic atrophy?
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of central vision loss in adults aged 50-plus. Geographic atrophy (GA) is an advanced stage of macular degeneration in which the cells that give us vision are lost, leaving blind spots that tend to enlarge over time. GA has long been the unmet need in the field of retina. Until recently, there have been no treatments for patients with GA.
What are the new treatments for geographic atrophy?
In February 2023, pegcetacoplan, a medication injected in the eye, became the first FDA-approved treatment to reduce the progression of geographic atrophy. It works by inhibiting the complement system, one of the body’s inflammatory pathways. Over-activation of inflammation has been implicated in the development and progression of GA. There are multiple ongoing clinical trials for GA targeting the complement system, and it’s likely that more treatments will be available soon.
Retinal Consultants Medical Group has 11 locations across Northern California. Visit retinalmd.com for more info.