Employee Accomplishments

We would like to congratulate several staff members for successfully obtaining specialized certifications.  Andrea Warren, Liz Jefferys, and Martha Spike all completed their certification as Ophthalmic Coding Specialists in Retina (OCSR), confirming their expertise and proficiency in retina coding.  Amber Dickens is now a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA), demonstrating her knowledge in key areas of our retina practice.  We are proud of our staff for their accomplishments and their dedication to the care of our patients.

And Pumpkin Time!

In the spirit of the season ROCC employees have created their own pumpkin masterpieces.


The festive creations are on display in our Wilmington office. Patients ‘voted’ for their favorite pumpkin and our winner is Asia for her Pikachu, a Pokemon character. Second place went to Martha for her Cinderella creation.  Third place went to Noelle for her Witches Willow.

Thanks to everyone who participated. The creations will continue on display for a short time for patients and visitors to enjoy.

Welcome Our Practice Administrator

Retina of Coastal Carolina is pleased to have Catherine Helgesen join our practice as our Administrator.

Catherine started on a part time basis earlier this year but as of September she is fully involved and on site in our Wilmington office.
Catherine brings prior practice administration experience together with years as a local certified public accountant. Her energy, experience and knowledge make her a welcome addition to our practice as we work to provide the best in retina care.

Meet Out New Clinic Supervisor


Kelsey was promoted to Clinic Supervisor this summer as her predecessor re-located out of state. Kelsey has been an important part of the clinical team at Retina of Coastal Carolina since 2013. While continuing to serve patients off and on the clinical floor, Kelsey is taking on more responsibilities as she joins the management team.
In recognition of her performance and her connection with patients and staff, Kelsey was our most recent ‘pink flamingo’.

Thanks Kelsey for all you do!

After 21 Years…

Dr. Erik van Rens is retiring from Retina of Coastal Carolina. Joining our practice in year 2, he will be greatly missed by patients and staff. We wish him many more years to enjoy his hobbies, children and grandchildren.


We zullen je missen!


In late April we were glad to recognize our administrative staff at a lunch in their honor. These are the individuals you speak with on the phone, the smiling faces at our front desk and those folks who try to translate ‘insurance speak’ into plain English the rest of us understand.

This month we will show our appreciation to our clinic staff. These folks are responsible for the screening and testing before you see the physician, trying to keep pace with entering into the electronic health record system what the doctor is saying and assisting with in office procedures. Many also arrive to our main location early in the morning, traveling with the physician to one of our 3 satellite locations, often making it a 10 or 11 hour day. Without their commitment and efforts, our physicians would not be able to provide the level of care we are proud to offer at ROCC.
Thanks to all our staff members. As a now retired employee was fond of saying, “Team Work Makes the Dream Work!”

Yellow Post-It with Thanks You! written on it

Seen any flamingos?

No, it’s not a new symptom of a retina issue.  It is a recognition of a staff member for that extra effort to make a better experience for other staff, patients and physicians.  Prior recipients included Sara and Katherine (who you see at our front desk in locations others than Jacksonville) for their contributions to our Mardi Gras Day.  Staff enjoyed red beans and rice, gumbo and of course King cake!

Our latest ‘flamingo’ is Sabrina who commands the front desk in our Jacksonville office, as well as in Wilmington when that office is closed.   Thanks to Sabrina for brightening that space with her eye for marking the seasons and occasions.

Sabrina at her desk with Easter decorations.


Just in time for the streak of unseasonably warm February weather,
the ROCC office took on the look of the tropics.

Staff wearing colorful Hawaiian leis

With a background of beach balls, palm leaves and scenes of warm, sunny tropical beaches,
staff enjoyed a lunch of burgers with all the fixins, chips, salads and of course dessert!

Staff eating oustside

With the cold sure to return soon, we’ll remember the feel and taste of our brief trip to the tropics.

Age Related Macula Degeneration – AMD


Age related macula degeneration (AMD) is a very common cause of blindness amongst the elderly population. Utilizing US census data physicians have estimated by 2020 almost 3 million people were likely to develop AMD. Constant research is occurring to search for more advanced therapies to treat this condition.

AMD is often divided into wet and dry. Dry macula degeneration is far more common. Its presence is dedicated by a dilated eye exam. Wear and tear changes build up in the very metabolically active macula (the center part of your vision) at the back of the eye in patients over 50 years of age. Some AMD patients have genetic predispositions to developing their disease. Other patients have modifiable risk factors that they can control to help slow the progression of their condition. The most important of these is smoking, as smoking is known to accelerate disease progression. Other factors in your control include maintaining good blood pressure and exercise.

Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels grow underneath the retina. These leak fluid and bleed potentially causing rapid changes in central vision. Thankfully treatment of this condition has been revolutionized by injections delivered inside the eye painlessly. In many cases sight can be preserved with prompt treatment.
Historically, only destructive laser treatments were available that attempted to limit disease progression of wet AMD. Research showed that immature new vessel networks like those found in wet AMD need a biochemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to grow and thrive. Originally used for colon cancer, Avastin was one of the first anti-VEGF to be injected into eyes. The results were a dramatic reduction in activity of the new blood vessels networks, limiting their bleeding and fluid leakage and either restoring or preserving vision in a lot of patients. Now there are 2 other anti-VEGF medications available to use in addition to Avastin. Choice is physician dependent and good arguments can be made to select all three.

If you are identified as having wet AMD you will typically be recommended to receive monthly treatments by your retina doctor until your disease is under control. At this point many physicians extend treatment, this attempts to reduce treatment burden whilst keeping the eye safe. A lot of patients can be safely extended, some have new vessel networks that need more medication to treat, and cannot safely be extended. In the future sustained release medications may become available reducing treatment burden for many patients.
Developments in AMD are occurring all the time, new ways to monitor for progression (including home monitoring), new technology to detect wet AMD earlier, and in the future surgical intervention with stem cell therapies are all in progress. If you are older than 50 and have a family history of AMD talk to your eye care provider about getting screened for AMD.


Henry Holt, M.D.

1801 N. H. Medical Park Drive

Wilmington, N.C. 28403

We will miss you…


Cindy has been a fixture in our Jacksonville office for several years. She is a smiling face and offers a recognizable laugh for physicians and patients alike. Cindy is retiring this month and while we wish her many happy carefree years ahead, she will be missed by everyone who comes through our office.

Cindy, thank you for the care you have shown every patient and for your dedication to your work and to Retina of Coastal Carolina. She is all about ‘Team’ and leaves a legacy that will be hard to match.