Caring for others’ vision is the passion of Dr. Victor H. Gonzalez, Valley Retina Institute, PA, Valley Retina Research.
Actually, Dr. Gonzalez first dreamed of being a neurosurgeon and operating under a microscope, but he found he missed the patient/doctor relationship.
“When I rotated to ophthalmology, retina surgery was the closest thing to neurosurgery,” Gonzalez said. “You’re operating under a microscope, and since the retina is an extension of the brain, in a sense it is neurosurgery. I love it, and I like being able to follow the patients through their recoveries and establish relationships with them.”
After Harvard Medical School, Gonzalez completed his retina fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and then spent time at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. A casual remark to him by a diabetic nurse triggered his life’s passion to work with children and diabetics.
“The nurse had told me she practiced putting on her makeup with her eyes closed,” he said. “I couldn’t understand why she did that until she said, ‘It’s so when I go blind I can do it.’ That’s what gives me motivation to do this work.”
It was while at Joslin Diabetes Center he first heard of the diabetic studies being done in Rio Grande City.
Coming to the Valley in 1994, his goal was to research diabetic blindness. The Valley had such an astronomical rate of blindness both from retinopathy of prematurity due to poor prenatal care, and from the high rate of diabetes.
“The last 25 years, Valley Retina Research has had an important impact on the Valley. The blindness rate from diabetes and from retinopathy from prematurity has dropped dramatically,” Gonzalez said.
Offering a Fellowship for the last 13 years, Valley Retina Institute has now graduated over 25 Fellows as retina specialists.
Between his work in the Valley, speaking at conferences around the country and Mexico, and being on staff at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Dr. Gonzalez, along with his staff of six at the Institute, bring quality eye care to the people of the Valley, developing instrumental research in retina health for everyone.