Brian Connolly, MD

Medical & Surgical Retina Specialist

Dr. Connolly was born and raised in the Rochester area and graduated from McQuaid Jesuit High School in 1987.  He was offered a scholarship to attend St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto in Canada. He obtained the Academic Silver Medal for academic excellence with a Major in Immunology and Minor in Ethics in 1991.  He attended SUNY Stony Brook Medical school and graduated with an MD, with distinction in Research.

After finishing his first year of internship, he earned a spot at the Wills Eye Hospital residency where he was the recipient of the Shipman award for his clinical research in Retinopathy of Prematurity.

After residency, he continued his training with a vitreoretinal fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital Retina Service. He remained on the retina service of the Wills Eye Hospital in clinical practice and research for four more years. He has published several articles in peer reviewed journals and is an active participant in numerous clinical trials.

He returned to Rochester in 2005 to join Retina Associates of Western NY,PC. He has privileges at the Brighton Surgery Center, the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester General Hospital and Unity Hospital.

He is a Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies fan as well as a Buffalo Sabres fan. He resides with his wife and four children in Brighton, NY. He enjoys skiing and golfing with his family and he has coached youth soccer and is involved in running the Mercy Crew Program. He has enjoyed returning to practice in his hometown.

Edward Hall, MD

Medical & Surgical Retina Specialist

Dr. Hall was born and raised in central Massachusetts and graduated from Brandeis University in 1997 with high honors in biology. He completed his undergraduate honors thesis at Harvard Medical School while working in conjunction with Drs. Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash, who were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Dr. Hall then earned a one-year research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hall graduated from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 2002 and then completed a one-year internship in Internal Medicine at Rochester General Hospital. He went on to complete his residency and served as chief resident in ophthalmology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Hall completed his retina fellowship in 2008, also at the University of Michigan, and he was awarded the prestigious Raymond Margherio Award by the Retina Society for his contributions to research into macular disease and development of new techniques of macular surgery.

Dr. Hall joined Retina Associates in 2008 and maintains a special interest in macular diseases and surgery and new techniques of macular surgery. He is particularly interested in age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, macular pucker and macular hole. Dr. Hall has served as a principal or co-investigator in numerous national and international clinical research trials including trials related to the management of both “dry” and “wet’ age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and uveitis. He regularly attends both clinical trial investigator meetings and international meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Retina Specialists and is an active fellow and member of these organizations. He has published original articles in the peer-reviewed literature and also serves as a reviewer for multiple ophthalmology journals.

Dr. Hall maintains privileges at The Brighton Surgery Center, Unity Hospital, Rochester General Hospital and The University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Memorial Hospital.

  • M.D., 2002, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY
  • Internship in Internal Medicine, 2002-2003, Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY
  • Resident in Ophthalmology, 2003-2006, Kellogg Eye Center University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Chief Resident in Ophthalmology, 2005-2006, Kellogg Eye Center University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Retina Fellowship, 2006-2008, Kellogg Eye Center University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Hall enjoys playing and coaching hockey, and has coached numerous youth sports including basketball, baseball, and soccer. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and family and is an active member of his religious community. He takes great pride in providing the best care to each  and every one of his patients and treats every patient like a member of his own family.

Matthew Witmer, MD

Medical & Surgical Retina Specialist

Dr. Witmer was born and raised in Rochester, New York. He joined Retina Associates of Western New York in 2016. He has performed a 2-year fellowship in vitreo-retinal surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, where he also served as clinical instructor to the residency program in ophthalmology.

Dr. Witmer has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including publications on novel approaches to imaging of the retina and the latest treatment paradigms for many diseases of the retina. He has served as principal investigator and co-investigator of several clinical trials and has presented the results of his research at local, national and international scientific meetings.

Dr. Witmer is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Monroe County Medical Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Retina Specialists.Dr. Witmer maintains clinical privileges at Brighton Surgery Center, Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital, and the University of Rochester Medical Center/ Strong Memorial Hospital.

  • Undergraduate – 2003, magna cum laude from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where he was a member of the prestigious national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Medical Degree – 2007, University of Virginia Medical School, where he was selected to the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA).
  • Internship in Internal Medicine – 2008, The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida.
  • Ophthalmology Residency – 2011, The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida.
  • Chief Resident for the Department of Ophthalmology – 2011, The University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida, where he served as Chief Resident for the Department of Ophthalmology.
  • Vitreo-retinal surgery fellowship – 2013, Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
  • Clinical Instructor to the residency program – University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr. Witmer is proficient in Spanish. He is committed to providing the best care possible to all of his patients.

Angela Bessette, MD

Medical Retina Specialist

Dr. Bessette joined RAWNY in September of 2020. Dr. Bessette is a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Rochester followed by dual fellowship training in Medical Retina and Uveitis at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute. 

Dr. Bessette has a special interest in age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular disease, and inflammatory diseases of the retina.

She is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and has authored numerous papers, presentations, book chapters, and online peer reviewed publications. Dr. Bessette’s professional affiliations include the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Retina Specialists.

Dr. Bessette grew up in Harding, Pennsylvania, a small town near Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her husband and two sons. 

Arjun Sood, MD

Medical & Surgical Retina Specialist

Dr. Sood joined the physicians at RAWNY in July 2023 and is currently accepting new patients. Please join us in welcoming him to the practice!

Dr. Sood was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He completed his Medical Degree in 2013 at Albany Medical College. He went on to complete his ophthalmology residency at the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, GA, followed by prestigious fellowships in Vitreoretinal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic and in Ocular Immunology and Uveitis at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Sood has a special interest in complex retinal detachment, uveitis, macular hole, epiretinal membrane, secondary intraocular lens, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, vein occlusion, and intraoperative OCT. He remains academically active as a participant in over 30 clinical trials, co-authored numerous publications and book chapters, and has lectured at national and international meetings.

Dr. Sood is a board-certified diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Uveitis Society, American Society of Retina Specialists and International Ocular Inflammation Society.

Steven Rose, MD – Emeritus

Medical & Surgical Retina Specialist

Dr. Rose practiced at Retina Associates of Western NY from 1990 to 2023. As a principal investigator in national clinical trials of new drugs and treatments for retinal diseases, Dr. Rose continued to remain active academically throughout his career at RAWNY. Numerous publications that Dr. Rose has authored appear in peer-reviewed articles and books.

Dr. Rose has special interests in diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, macular surgery and retinal complications related to cataract surgery.

Dr. Rose has privileges at The Brighton Surgery Center, Unity Hospital, Rochester General Hospital and the University of Rochester. He has served on the Board at ABVI-Goodwill. He is board certified with the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is also a member of the American Society of Retinal Specialists, The Rochester Ophthalmological Society and the Monroe County Medical Society.

  • B.A. cum laude, 1979, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
  • Medical Degree, 1985, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY
  • Intern in Internal Medicine 1985-86, University of Rochester Medical Center / Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY
  • Resident in Ophthalmology 1986-88, University of Rochester Medical Center/ Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY
  • Chief Resident in Ophthalmology 1989, University of Rochester Medical Center/ Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY
  • Fellowship in Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery 1989-1990, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Rose is originally from the Boston area and is a passionate sports fan for all Boston teams. Although his original career choice to be a hockey player in the NHL did not work out, he is happy in his “secondary” career choice and Dr. Rose considers himself fortunate to be able to practice high quality medicine with superb physician partners and staff at RAWNY. His goal is to have every patient feel as though their experience at RAWNY is positive and drives him to improve quality metrics every day.