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Global Ophthalmology Emory

Faculty and Physicians

Prethy Rao, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Section of Vitreoretinal Surgery and Diseases


Prethy Rao, MD, joined Emory Eye Center’s faculty in September 2018. She is part of the vitreoretinal surgery and diseases section of the department.

Dr. Rao graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison medical scholars program with a combined undergraduate and MD degree. During medical school, she pursued a Masters in Public Health with an emphasis on epidemiology, biostatistics, and program planning/evaluation. Her one-year transitional program and ophthalmology residency were with Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, MI. After residency, Dr. Rao completed a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Associated Retinal Consultants, also in Royal Oak, with an emphasis on adult and pediatric retina.

She has presented research at numerous conferences, including the Retina Society, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Her work also has been published in professional journals such as Ophthalmology, Retina, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Ophthalmology Retina, Journal of VitreoRetinal Diseases, and the European Journal of Ophthalmology.

Her primary research interests include “big data” analysis to better understand risk factors and clinical outcomes of several adult and pediatric vitreoretinal diseases to aid in widespread clinical practice patterns. She also has special clinical interests in pediatric vitreoretinal diseases and helping translate telemedicine screening and treatment of adult and pediatric retinal disease to areas of outreach.

She has primarily worked with large scale databases including subsets of the Women’s Health Initiative, Salisbury Eye Evaluation Driving Study (SEED), and, most recently, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s IRIS Registry®, the first and largest United States-based (US) national comprehensive eye disease database. 

“Ophthalmology and retina are just beautiful, intricate fields that link medicine and surgery to a larger societal impact both nationally and internationally,” Dr. Rao says. “It is almost the basic form of primary care, where diseases of the eye and retina reflect diseases in the rest of the body. Helping detect eye conditions may hopefully identify systemic diseases in patients that can be treated at earlier stages.”

National Recognition

Dr. Rao is a member of the Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), and The American Society of Retina Specialists.

She was honored as the recipient of the 16th Annual Raymond R. Margherio Award at the Retina Society for her work with the IRIS Registry on visual outcomes of drug monotherapy in age-related macular degeneration (2017).

Areas of Clinical Interest

• Diabetic Retinopathy

• Age Related Macular Degeneration

• Adult Vitreoretinal Disease/Surgery

• Pediatric Vitreoretinal Disease/Surgery: retinopathy of prematurity, familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, Coats’ disease, persistent fetal vasculature, pediatric retinal detachments

Undergraduate, Bachelor of Medical Sciences: University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, 2004-07

Medical School, MD: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, 2007-12

Graduate School, MPH: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, 2010-11

Transitional Year Internship: Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, MI, 2012-13

Residency in Ophthalmology: Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, MI, 2013-16

Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Surgery: Associated Retinal Consultants/Beaumont Health, Royal Oak, MI, 2016-18

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