How it Works

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What Is Retina Rocks?

Retina Rocks is our open-source platform of multimodal retina images, which includes:

  • The full image collection, which includes tens of thousands of images, can be accessed by creating an account, signing into our site, then clicking the VIEW COLLECTION button.
  • Key clinical references from the major ophthalmic and retinal journals. The current month’s summary is on our Home page.
  • Our Case of the Month can be viewed on our Home page. Prior Cases of the Month are on our Wall of Fame page.
  • Our Instagram feed,, consists of cool cases culled from the full collection. We post a new case every Monday through Friday. These cases can also be directly viewed here from within this site.

What’s included in the full image collection?

Researching a topic of interest may include looking for cool pictures, learning about the various ways a disease can present or progress, or wanting to review the literature. Retina Rocks is unique in that it provides for all of this. Within each folder you’ll find an annotated bibliography of key references and a variety of multimodal images including fundus photos, ultra-wide field images, fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein and OCT angiography, spectral-domain and swept-source OCT and videos. Most content is presented in a case format which usually includes grouped multimodal images often followed over time.

What’s the Reference Library?

Keeping current with the retina literature for most is an ongoing effort in futility. New journals are constantly being introduced and current journals get thicker and thicker. Researching a topic on PUBMED doesn’t allow for spotting key references or for quickly digesting what’s new globally for a topic of interest. And remembering what you’ve read a few weeks later (or even after you’ve turned the page to the next article) is a struggle.

To address these concerns, every month we pull key clinical references from the major ophthalmic (American Journal of Ophthalmology, British Journal of Ophthalmology, Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, Eye, Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, International Ophthalmology, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, JAMA Ophthalmology, Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Science, Survey of Ophthalmology) and retinal (International Journal of Retina and Vitreous, Journal of VitreoRetinal Diseases, Ophthalmic Surgery Lasers and Imaging Retina, Ophthalmology Retina, Progress in Retinal and Eye  Research, Retina, and Retinal Cases & Brief Reports) journals. Although we can’t provide the actual journal article PDF for obvious copyright issues, we provide a single line citation including a brief summary of the article’s main points. Our goal is not to be inclusive, but to capture all major clinically relevant references.

At the top of most folders is a ___References file that contains the annotated bibliography for that topic. Every month we file key articles into the appropriate Retina Rocks folder(s) and update this file. Key articles are located at the top of the list. This allows for a rapid snapshot and review of the literature when one is also looking through our multimedia images. Here’s a sample showing the central retinal artery references.

Some references are included to help with a differential diagnosis or to learn about similar findings found in other disorders. Here’s the file for Macular dystrophies, noting many other disorders that can mimic the clinical and OCT findings.

Towards the top of the collection is the _Key retina journal articles folder that contains monthly snapshots of key retina articles. The current month’s snapshot is updated monthly on our home page.

Please contact us if we’re missing any key references or if any reference is mis-summarized or cited.

How is the full image collection organized?

The collection is organized alphabetically by topic into about 375 folders. Major topics are subdivided as needed to make it easier to search for specific findings. For example, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is subdivided into 32 folders and diabetic retinopathy into 17. The collection’s index is the best way to find what you’re looking for. It is at the top of collection or can be downloaded here.

Below the collection’s index are “Fake-outs,” “Recent files,” and “Unknowns Solve and go on our Wall of Fame”. Fake-outs contain cases where exam or imaging shows findings that can mislead the clinician to the wrong diagnosis. Recent files contains files for the prior 3 months. The Unknowns Solve and go on our Wall of Fame folder is filled with cases that stumped us. Feel free to let us know what the correct diagnosis is by clicking here and make your way onto the Retina Rocks Wall of Fame!

Many cases are illustrative for more than one topic. For example, the ‘bone spicules’ typical for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is caused by loss of photoreceptor inhibition, which allows for RPE cells to migrate into the retina along retinal capillaries. This phenotype is seen in other causes of photoreceptor loss or damage, including blunt trauma and chronic retinal detachment. So when browsing the RP folder, we’ve also included cases of pseudo-RP. We’ve done the same type of thing throughout the collection, which is why you’ll often find seemingly unrelated images when looking up a specific disorder. We believe this greatly enhances the learning process and helps with differential diagnoses.

Why can’t I search by file name or key word?

Unfortunately, the Google Drive Search function will not work due to limitations in the underlying Drive functionality. Finding what you’re looking for should still be easy due to how the collection is organized. Just be sure to download the collection’s index which will give you a bird’s eye view of all topics.

How can I browse the full image collection?

Files can be viewed as either a list or grid. Images can be sorted as desired into either ascending or descending order.

The file naming convention is as follows:

The list view is best for helping you know all the information about a particular case. Files are named so all like disorders and cases sort with each other. Within a disorder, individual cases will sort chronologically as well. We’ve included many examples of patients followed over time, some for over several decades, with descriptions of how things are changing. Instead of viewing a single image at a single point in time, this will allow you to view the full temporal course of a disease or finding.

The grid view, on the other hand, is best when you just want to browse through images. However, this view doesn’t generally allow you to understand what’s going on in any given case.

The file names are cut off in the grid view but can still be seen by hovering over the file label. Changing the zoom level of your browser will let you see more or fewer images at a time.

To view a file, simply double-click on it in either the list or grid view. Files can be downloaded as shown here. Individuals are free to view and download images for their personal use, including for patient education and personal lectures. However, publication of any of the collection’s images is not allowed without our express written permission.

What device should I use for Retina Rocks?

The Retina Rocks web site and its Google Drive can be viewed on all devices. A laptop or desktop screen, however, is preferred when looking at images in list view. This will let you best see the the image names and clinical information.

What if I find a mistake?

We’ve done our best to properly label and classify all images in the collection and include all key journal references. However, we are confident that there are many instances where we’re wrong or missed an article. Please contact us with any questions about diagnoses we’ve given or for any corrupted files that won’t open properly.