Retina Image Bank Welcomes Retinal Image Collections

Monday, March 4, 2013

“The Retina Image Bank (RIB) is a long-term initiative to collect, curate, and share the finest multimedia retina content for use by physicians, researchers, and patients,” explains RIB Curator Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA. “It is the world’s most comprehensive open-access collection of retina images.”

The Retina Image Bank is:

  • Comprehensive—with images, videos, illustrations and more. “And it’s not just digital,” Dr. Huang notes. “We will convert your analog material to digital and carefully return the originals to you.”
  • Universal—available to registered users anytime, anywhere, through a Web browser.
  • Intuitive—searchable by keywords, top-rated, newest, most-viewed images and more. “The Retina Image Bank automatically displays the best images using dynamic algorithm,” he adds.
  • Self-sustaining—with crowd-sourced content assuring continual growth. “A user ratings system ensures that search results improve over time,” Dr. Huang explains.

Retina specialists and ophthalmic photographers serve as RIB editors

Nearly 100 retina specialists and ophthalmic photographers from around the world have volunteered to serve as RIB editors. Recently, more than 20 of these editors gathered in Chicago during the 116th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Huang hosted the reception, which drew attendees from across the US, as well as from India, Israel, Korea, and Australia. He also thanked the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society (OPS) for its enthusiastic participation in the Retina Image Bank.

Generous contributions enhance the Retina Image Bank

Dr. Huang thanked several major contributors to the Retina Image Bank:

  • Norman Byer, MD, author of The Peripheral Retina In Profile, who donated 120 stereo pairs with audio narration
  • Thomas Aaberg Sr, MD, who contributed his entire clinical image collection
  • Yale Fisher, creator of, who contributed an extensive collection of ultrasound images with audio narration
  • William Mieler, MD, who has pledged his support, including his vast experience as founder of the Midwest Fluorescein Angiography Conference 

RIB seeks retinal image collections

Dr. Huang encourages retina specialists and ophthalmic photographers to contribute their image collections, no matter what the format. "We will convert your analog material to digital and carefully return the originals to you," he explains. 

"This is a great opportunity to get your slides digitized," says ASRS President John Thompson, MD.

Consider uploading your best images by March 15, 2013 and you could be a part of the first collection of some of the finest images from the year in the first-ever Retina Image Bank Year in Review print atlas.

New video uploading capabilities now available

Videos can now be uploaded to RIB using the same functionality as one would use uploading images. Simply log in to the site, select ‘Upload’ and ‘Upload a Video’ to get started. Yale Fisher, creator of’s collection of ultrasound images with audio narration are already available to view as videos.

Many benefit from the Retina Image Bank

"The Retina Image Bank is the holy grail for images," says OPS member Ditte Hess, an ophthalmic photographer from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute who worked with Donald Gass, MD, for more than 20 years. "Nobody looks at stereo pairs anymore; residents don't know how to look at stereo angiography."

Yale Fisher, MD, explains the value of narrating videos. "People are used to the sounds of lecturing," he explains, adding that his voice-annotated ultrasound videos are aligned toward residents and fellows around the world. Ophthalmologists in Mongolia told Dr. Fisher that his narrated ultrasound videos helped them understand how to use an ultrasound machine that industry had donated, but that had been sitting idle because no one knew how to use it.

Suber Huang notes the value of the Retina Image Bank in helping physicians demonstrate ophthalmic procedures and conditions to patients. "Retina specialists can also use the Retina Image Bank to illustrate presentations using best examples," he adds. "You can instantly access hard-to-find images of rare conditions. And the Retina Image Bank will facilitate research studies." Dr. Huang notes that high-resolution images are available to ASRS members only.

"The Retina Image Bank is designed to educate and unite retina specialists and patients worldwide," he adds. "No one has a monopoly on knowledge."

Retina Image Bank contributors may use their own images in future presentations without violating the image bank's copyright, but that they transfer all image rights to the American Society of Retina Specialists.

Advanced technology makes searching simple 

"The Retina Image Bank is simple, clean, and elegant by design," Dr. Huang explains. The multi-field search engine auto-suggests keywords based on ICD-9 terminology. "You can also create your own keyword if you don't see it in the system," he adds.

Dr. Huang also notes the Retina Image Bank's technology. "Cloud-based storage allows for unlimited capacity," he says, "and the responsive design is optimized for desktop or tablet." Uploads and downloads are password-protected.

Retina Image Bank editors represent 14 countries

The panel of Retina Image Bank editors includes retina specialists and ophthalmic photographers from the US and 13 countries:

Costa Rica

"The American Society of Retina Specialists has members in 55 countries," Dr. Huang notes. "We encourage interested retina specialists to join the Retina Image Bank's editorial team."

What's ahead for the Retina Image Bank

  • Ability to sort images by disease or condition
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Retina Year in Review: a print atlas with proceeds benefiting the Foundation of the ASRS

Dr. Huang has invited JDM Gass Society members to join the Retina Image Bank's inaugural editorial staff.

"The Retina Image Bank is our history, our legacy, and our future," he says. "We're all guardians of a precious, one-of-a-kind resource.

"The dynamic and interactive nature of the Retina Image bank ensures that our legacy of innovative care will be preserved," he adds. "The image bank tangibly links the experience and enthusiasm of retina specialists across the globe, providing a vision and platform for the world to share." 

Image Bank editors are enthused

Retina Image Bank editor Alex Hunyor, MB, BS, FRANZCO, FRACS, of Sydney, Australia, who attended the recent reception, said, "I am not generally given to hyperbole, but allow me to predict that this Image Bank project will be regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, contribution that the ASRS makes to the world of retina.

"While I realize that some people are not inclined to share their images and other educational resources in this fashion, I have always been a great believer in sharing things like notes, exam answers, talks, cases, etc," he continued. "To me, this is an incredibly powerful way of harnessing the collective experience of colleagues in a way we have not seen before."

Allergan is the exclusive sponsor of the Retina Image Bank for 2013; their leadership has pledged a long-term commitment to the ASRS and to helping retina specialists provide excellence in clinical care.

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