Interview: G. Baker Hubbard III, MD


G. Baker Hubbard III, MD specializes in vitreoretinal surgery, and his practice includes both adult and pediatric vitreoretinal disorders. Dr. Hubbard’s primary research interest is in characterizing the clinical manifestations of pediatric retinal disorders and their treatment outcomes. He is a practicing Professor of Ophthalmology at the Emory University School of Medicine. You can reach him through our doctor directory.

Dr. Hubbard sat down to answer some questions about his work and give advice for those battling Coats Disease around the world.

Q: Why did you choose to be an ophthalmologist?

A: My father was an ophthalmologist so I have been interested in the field since I was a boy. Ophthalmology was the most interesting thing for me in medical school so I decided to pursue it.

Q: Tell us about your practice and what you specialize in.

A: I am a vitreoretinal surgeon with a special interest in pediatric retinal disorders and about half my practice is pediatric retina. I take care of patients with Coats disease, retinopathy of prematurity, pediatric retinal detachments, and tumors of the retina in children including retinoblastoma.

Q: Many doctors from pediatricians to specialists do not know much about Coats Disease. How did you come to specialize in this area? How many Coats patients do you see in a month/year?

A: We take care of most of the patients with Coats disease in our region and I typically see about 10 new patients with Coats per year.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to give back by agreeing to be listed on the JMCDF Doctor Directory?

A: I believe the goals of JMCDF are extremely important and I enthusiastically support the JMCDF mission. Coats is a rare disorder and it makes sense to cultivate a community of patients, physicians, and families who have knowledge, expertise, and motivation to advance our understanding of Coats and work towards better ways to detect and treat Coats.

Q: What treatments do you recommend for Coats Disease patients today?

A: In my opinion the best treatment for most cases of Coats is yellow or green wavelength laser therapy. Some cases may benefit from intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF but our research has shown that injections are not necessary in most cases. In addition, advanced cases can sometimes benefit from vitreoretinal surgery but most do not need this type of intervention. Rarely, enucleation, or removal of the eye, is the best treatment for very advanced or painful cases.

Q: What one recommendation would he have for a caregiver/parent of a child Coats disease?

A: Find the doctor in your region who has the most experience with Coats. Since it is rare, many physicians do not have the opportunity to acquire substantial experience with the condition. In most parts of the country however, there is a pediatric retina specialist somewhere in the region who will have lots of experience with Coats.

Q: What do you envision will help Coats Disease patients in the future?

A: Early treatment seems to be much more effective than later treatment. My hope is that soon we will have better ways to detect Coats at a younger age so we can treat more patients early in the course of the disease.

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