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Eye Care About You

DR. OLGA SHIF WITH THE NATIONAL RETINA INSTITUTE

Article by Jessica Fitch

Photography by Provided

Retina care is one of those treatments you hope to never need. It can be frightening to deal with problems like retinal detachment, macular degeneration, or faltering vision. What is important when these problems arise is finding a practice and a physician who will take your vision seriously and do whatever they can to help. Finding someone you trust with your eyes can be a weighty decision.

In Maryland, such patients turn to the National Retina Institute. Bert M. Glaser, M.D., the founder of the National Retina Institute, started the practice, created a fellowship, and mentored scores of accomplished retina physicians. His work continues in the communities of Maryland and their now six locations. In Columbia, prior to 2020, the NRI had to treat patients in local practices, visiting only a few times a week. 

With the rising patient numbers, it quickly outgrew the previous location, creating the need for NRI to open a location of its own in the Columbia area. In April 2020, the National Retina Institute opened the doors of its new Columbia office. The first few months of opening were dedicated to emergency treatment only due to COVID-19, but it has since been able to treat its regular patients again.

What makes this location particularly special is the attending physician, Dr. Olga Shif. Fluent in three languages, her bedside manner and experience make her a calming presence.

“Due to the practice being owned by the corporation, I’m free to make the best decisions for my patients without the added stress of running a business," Dr. Shif says. "I’m able to do what I’m most passionate about, which is focusing on my patients.”

As retina patients typically make for long-term relationships, she gets to know each one and finds that treatment becomes easier to administer as the trust grows.

The office is willing to answer any questions from potential patients related to changes in vision and is on-call 24/7 in case of emergencies. The National Retina Institute is excited to have opened in Columbia and looks forward to having a formal grand opening in 2021.

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