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Home » What's New » A Conversation with Dr. Aliene Kim – New to Family Eye Care of Atlanta

A Conversation with Dr. Aliene Kim – New to Family Eye Care of Atlanta

1) What brought you to Atlanta and to Family Eye Care of Atlanta in particular?

We came to Atlanta for my husband’s employment opportunity.

2) How did you become interested in optometry?

During my undergraduate years at UC Berkeley, I attended a pre-optometry meeting with a friend and was immediately attracted to the field of optometry.  As a health care professional, optometrists have an immediate and direct impact on a patient’s quality of life as we care for their vision and eye health.

3) Where did you go to Optometry school?

Southern California College of Optometry, located in Fullerton, CA.

4) What do you like most about the work you do?

I enjoy the patient interactions and hope that each patient I encounter will leave the office satisfied with their improved vision and empowered with the knowledge on how to keep their eyes healthy.

5) You enjoy working with children. What is it about kids’ eye care that you enjoy most and what part do you find the most challenging?

Vision plays such an important role in a child’s developmental growth and the learning, and thus

early intervention to correct their visual problem is crucial on a child’s academic success.  It is very rewarding to play a role in helping each child achieve their full academic potential.   With very young patients who tend to have short attention spans, the challenge is to collect all the exam data objectively by observing of their eye movements and light reflexes while they are cooperative.  Sometimes, when a young child is too tired or is having an off day, it is best to complete the exam on separate visits.

I also enjoy fitting contact lenses on children and teenagers, especially  for their first time wear.

As a study optometrist for a multi-center investigation on the impact of contact lens wear on an adolescent child’s self esteem and school performance, I was able to observe the positive impact that contact lens wear made on them first hand.  I also remember the first time my eye doctor fitted me with contact lenses as a teenager and how ecstatic I was of the crisp clear vision without my heavy and thick glasses.  Of course, fitting children and teenagers with contact lenses comes with challenges.  Education on insertion and removal of contact lenses  as well as proper and safe contact lens hygiene habits takes extra time but is essential in starting them out on the right step to a lifetime of successful contact lens wear.

6) What  is your favorite piece of optometric technology and why?

The non-mydriatic retinal camera and the Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging.  The retinal camera that we have in the office has been a very useful tool in examining the patient’s retina without having to dilate the eyes.   Dilation can be an inconvenience to   patients since it causes temporary light sensitivity and blurred near vision, so many patients tend to put off a very important aspect of their vision exam, but with the retinal camera photos, we can get a wide angle view of the back of their eyes without having to dilate them. Although we still have to dilate sometimes,  I use the camera not only to examine and diagnose any retinal and systemic diseases, but educate the patients about their eye health.

The OCT imaging gives high resolution pictures of the various structures of the eye, helping eye doctors diagnose and manage various eye diseases, including glaucoma.  It’s  similar to an ultrasound photo of the retina, only it uses light waves instead of sound waves to capture the images.  If our patient has any ocular diseases that my need an OCT imaging, we would refer them out to the appropriate ophthalmology practice.

7) What interests or excites you the most in the field of optometry?

I did my residency training in binocular and pediatric vision, so I have a special interest in pediatric vision care.  During my residency training, I also spent part of my training providing vision care for patients who suffered traumatic brain injury at TIRR, a world renowned medical rehabilitation hospital at Houston, TX.  The experience has left a great impression on me and  I would love to gain more training and experience to help this unique population.

8) What trends do you see developing over the next several years  in the industry and how do you stay ahead of them?

Optometry is becoming more and more the primary entry point in the healthcare delivery system, which means that we, as optometrists, are often times the first ones to diagnose many systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  We will be working more often in co-management situations in partnering and communicating with the patient’s primary care physician, specialists and Ophthalmologists in managing our patient’s diseases.

9) What you like to do in your spare time?

I try to spend as much time with my children during my spare time, traveling together as a family and building memories with them.   I also enjoy playing tennis and camping with my family. Lastly, I enjoy my volunteer experience at the Lions Lighthouse Clinic, providing vision services to patients in need.