By Ashley Mitchell
Bellingham Retina Specialists
Owner: Dr. Eric N. Subong
Start Date: Feb. 1, 2009
Square Footage: 2,400
Address: 3130 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone Number: (360) 656-5839
Web site: www.bellinghamretina.com
Visiting a retina specialist for Bellingham residents used to involve a trip down the I-5 corridor, but the long drive is no longer necessary thanks to a newly opened practice located near St. Joseph Hospital.
Dr. Eric N. Subong recently opened Bellingham Retina Specialists, which specializes in retinas, or more specifically diseases and surgery of the retina, macula and vitreous.
“I deal with everything with the back of the eye,” Subong said. “This can include treatment for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinal detachment and tears and other ocular trauma.”
Bellingham Retina Specialists offers treatments such as laser procedures, vitreoretinal surgeries, and intraocular and periocular injections. They also have the equipment to provide in-depth ultrasounds of the eye and optical coherence tomography, which provides extensive photos of the retina. Fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography, or dyes that are injected into the body to locate potential eye problems with specialized lights, are also available.
Subong, who previously worked at the Bellevue office of Retina Consultants of Seattle for a year and a half, had always wanted to open his own practice. During his time in Bellevue, he met and worked with ophthalmologists and optometrists from the Bellingham area and it was brought to his attention there were no retina specialists located in the city. Subong said he made a visit, fell in love with Bellingham and it was an easy decision to make.
Subong said he became interested in ophthalmology in medical school, where he received his degree from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. After completing an internal medicine internship and residency training, he was drawn to the instrumental and technology-driven field of vitreoretinal diseases and surgery.
“My brother is also a retina specialist, so I may have been influenced in that respect as well,” Subong said.
Prior to his practice, local residents had to travel as far south as Seattle to receive treatment from a retina specialist. Subong said part-time retina specialists are available in Mount Vernon and Everett, but most have to go further. Subong and his staff, which include a manager and technician, came to offer the same full-time services locally.
The practice has only begun to see patients, but Subong is confident the practice will grow. He said one of the most important parts of his job is maintaining individual doctor/patient relationships, because retina specialists must understand each situation and work with the patients other doctors in order to treat them properly.
Subong said he will add another doctor if the practice grows too big for him to maintain these relationships.