After completing her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1985, Dr. Grace Shin earned her medical degree and masters of public health from Tulane University in New Orleans. Born in Ontario and raised in Michigan and Louisiana, the former ophthalmology resident and pediatric ophthalmology fellow at the highly regarded Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA has been operating Ideal EyeCare, her private practice, since 1995, and has been a solo practitioner there since 2009. Specializing in comprehensive adult and pediatric eye care, she corrects eye misalignments and performs surgery. Here are the highlights of her recent interview with Jessi C. Acuña.
If kids’ eyes are very misaligned, they can’t develop depth perception. For adults, they can’t drive when they’re seeing double. It’s also how they look. They’re having trouble interacting with people because their eyes are misaligned. Sometimes I can just change a prescription to help someone’s eye alignment.
The prescription that kids need to see well isn’t always the same to keep their eyes straight. Kids have more focusing ability, and their lenses are softer than adults. It’s important to take care of of this in a timely manner. We only have a certain time when our vision potential can develop, so even if I straighten a patient’s eyes out later on, if the brain is not receiving a clear image, then they won’t necessarily be able to see in 3-D.
I do Botox for eye conditions such as acute sixth nerve palsy or blepharospasm, a condition in which the eyelids squeeze shut or cause facial spasms, as well as for cosmetics. Sometimes people don’t know where to go besides neurologists. It’s an issue that affects one’s vision, because it can effectively cause someone to be [temporarily] blind if his or her eyes are closing. I can make it so they don’t spasm.
I recently worked with an autistic child whose parents thought [certain] behaviors were caused by autism. Cataracts were discovered, and they came to see me and I did cataract surgery on the child. Now he can catch a ball—he’s so much less scared of everything. He’s doing better in school. He was able to do more in a very short time, even after just the first eye was done. It’s life-changing.
Electronics put out a wavelength of blue light that’s damaging to your eyes and can be damaging to your retina. You can get glasses that either have a filter in them to block that bad blue light [not all blue light is harmful], or you can have a coating put on your glasses that helps block it. But not everybody wears glasses. I’m hoping there will be a time when all of the electronics will have some sort of filter blocker. It’s about protecting your eyes; we won’t know till later [what the cumulative damage is].