Retina Associates of Kentucky was founded 40 years ago by Dr. William J. Wood shortly after finishing his training at Johns Hopkins and Harvard University. Dr. Wood recognized the need for advanced retinal care in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, as well as the surrounding areas of the state, and started his medical and surgical retinal care practice. While taking care of patients, he also trained the next generation of eye doctors in residency at the University of Kentucky for over ten years. In 1985 he founded and was elected President of the Center for Advanced Eye Surgery, associated with Humana Hospital. He pioneered many of the techniques and treatments we use today and remains active in a number of national research trials, contributing to the care of patients beyond our state.

During this time he served the entire surrounding area as the only retina specialist, until he was joined by Dr. Rick Isernhagen, who was trained at Johns Hopkins. Together our first two doctors began an advanced training program for vitreoretinal fellows, to teach the next generation of retinal surgeons. They continued their mission of excellence, bringing the highest quality of care to the patients in Central Kentucky. With their commitment to teaching and research, the practice was nationally recognized.

In 2002, they were joined by Dr. Thomas Stone, who had recently finished his training at Duke and then Emory University. Dr. Stone continued to build on their practice of excellence by guiding the training of retina surgeons as Fellowship Director, and by being Principal Investigator in the nationally based Diabetic Retinopathy Research Network. For the past four years, he has been Chief Editor of the national Preferences and Trends Survey of the national retina organization, the American Society of Retina Specialists. Their fourth partner, Dr. John Kitchens, joined the practice several years later, and has gained international renown for his instructional surgical videos as well as his lectures to other doctors. All four of the doctors have been elected to the Best Doctors roster since they began practicing.

More recently, the increasing need for retinal services has lead to a doubling of the number of doctors. As always, Retina Associates continued to promote excellence in their patient care. In late 2014, we were joined in Louisville by Dr. Todd Purkiss, who first received his PhD in visual sciences before going back to medical school and becoming an MD. He received his retina fellowship training at Duke University, and is our Research Director. Two years ago, we were joined by Dr. Belinda Shirkey, who also did her training at Duke University, and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the practice. She is active as our Medical Director. Also in 2015, we opened a full time branch office in Ashland, Kentucky, where we welcomed Dr. Sheila Garcia Santana, who had finished her fellowship at Yale University. Our most recent addition was Dr. Blake Isernhagen, the son of our senior partner, who received fellowship training at the prestigious Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, as well as in Vancouver, Canada.

Retina Associates is proud to have been able to take care of the retinal needs of Central Kentucky for over 40 years, and we look forward to continuing to do so. By contributing to the latest research and teaching, we can offer our patients and referring doctors the most recent advancements in care. We have often pioneered new medical therapies in the office, and our surgical innovations have restored the sight of many patients. With ten offices, we make every effort to make retinal care more accessible to all areas of the state, so that our patients can get the care they need closer to home. We are dedicated to sharing this culture of excellence with our employees as well, as we educate them and provide a work environment that allows for personal and professional growth.

We have every reason to believe that the future is bright for Retina Associates of Kentucky. We have continued to offer the latest treatments to our patients, and look forward to the outcome of the many clinical trials that are currently underway, including the delivery of therapeutic cells and new medications in and around the eye. We have also increased our training program to accommodate the many more opportunities to learn from our team of eight doctors. In addition, we are increasing our local educational seminars to provide educational resources to other local eye doctors and their staff.

Retina Associates of Kentucky has been fortunate to be recognized and preferred as the premiere retina practice in the state, and we are grateful for the support that the community has shown us in our first 40 years. We look forward to taking care of our patients and the community for another 40 years to come.


Retina Associates of Kentucky offers retinal care to patients throughout Kentucky. You may call our office at 1-800-627-2020 to schedule an appointment at any of our 10 locations.


All Doctors


Lexington Bardstown                           William J. Wood, MD
120 N. Eagle Creek Drive        Danville Rick D. Isernhagen, MD
Suite 500 Frankfort Thomas W. Stone, MD
Lexington, KY 40509 London John W. Kitchens, MD
  Prestonsburg Todd J. Purkiss, MD, Phd
Louisville Richmond Belinda L. Shirkey, MD
6420 Dutchmans Parkway Somerset Sheila M. Garcia Santana, MD
Suite 70   Blake A. Isernhagen, MD
Louisville, KY 40205    
2841 Lexington Avenue    
Ashland, Ky 41101