Royce Chen and others at APAO 2017
Dear CAOS community,
Welcome to our new CAOS blog. I am excited to represent the Chinese American Ophthalmological Society as a newly minted member of the Young Ophthalmology Committee. A little bit about myself: I’m a third-generation ophthalmologist who is the son of two ophthalmologist parents and the younger brother of a neurologist and a family medicine doc. I grew up in Mississippi, where my father Ching Chen served as chairman of the University of Mississippi Department of Ophthalmology. He and my mother Lin also happen to be early members of CAOS. After four years filled with singing at Yale, I attempted to try out for American Idol. When that didn’t work, I immediately succumbed to my fate and became an ophthalmologist myself, performing residency at Columbia University and vitreoretinal fellowship at Bascom Palmer. After training, I returned to Columbia as faculty, where I’m currently the Helen and Martin Kimmel Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Associate Residency Program Director. Enough about my background.
In March, I travelled to Singapore to attend the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology meeting, both as an invited speaker and as representative for the AAO Young Ophthalmologist International Subcommittee. As part of the Academy’s efforts to connect with the international ophthalmology community, I co-chaired a symposium on leadership skills for young ophthalmologists. There, I met fantastic colleagues who shared their wisdom and experiences with an enthusiastic audience of both trainees and early-career physicians. (link to AAO post)
I am always inspired by the spirit of my international colleagues; at each meeting, I discover new surgical techniques and learn about country-specific practice patterns that reveal both differences and similarities in biology, access to care, political systems, and individual creativity. Through the international lens, I also gain invaluable perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of our educational training programs in the United States.
Of course, what’s also great about meetings is that they are not all about eyeballs. The laksa, prawn satay, and black pepper crab were delicious, the supertrees in the botanical garden were from another planet, and the immaculately clean subway stations were the antithesis of my pizza-rat infested stations back home in New York City! After 5 days in Singapore, I was worried that I might get too used to the cleanliness and clockwork-like functionality of the city, so I hopped on a plane that took off from the greatest airport in the world and flew back to JFK, where I was thrilled not to be detained! Home (and my two kids) is where the heart is.
We will periodically be updating this page with stories from our members and information about events at upcoming meetings. Stay tuned!
Michael Chiang MD, President of CAOS
Welcome to the new Chinese American Ophthalmological Society (CAOS) blog!
Founded in 1986, the goal of CAOS is to provide a forum to build community and foster collaborations to advance medical knowledge and scientific research in Ophthalmology and to assist in the education and training of Ophthalmologists of Chinese descent.
Membership is open to all involved in vision care and research. CAOS includes not only physicians of Chinese ancestry, but physicians of all nationalities. Non-physician members include vision scientists and engineers with postgraduate degrees and others who are involved in vision-related fields. International members are welcome.
We will be updating this page regularly to highlight the achievements of members, as well as to provide information about upcoming events at national conferences.
Do we know anything about the epidemiology of eye disease specifically in Chinese Americans? The Chinese American Eye study (CHES), a National Institutes of Health funded study led by Rohit Varma at USC is a population based cross-sectional study of over 4500 Chinese Americans 50 years and older who reside in Monterey Park, California. This study, which took place between 2010-2013, included a detailed interview, complete ophthalmic exam, disc and fundus photography, as well as measurements of blood pressure, blood glucose and HbA1c. The purpose of the CHES is obtain prevalence estimates of various causes of visual impairment in this population.
A number of findings from the CHES have been published in recent years yielding important information about the epidemiology of eye disease in Chinese Americans, including refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, and age related macular degeneration. The most recent study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology in April 2017, looked at rates of self-reported eye care in this population. It found that 36% of participants reported having an eye exam in the last year, with only 48% of participants reported ever having a dilated eye exam. This rate is substantially lower than what is recommend by the AAO. Interestingly, 47% of eye diseases were not detected in the participants prior to participation in the CHES, with 18% of these individuals visually impaired from these diseases. This low rate of eye care is similar to previous studies of Hispanics and African Americans, and lower than an age matched Caucasian group. What are the underlying reasons behind this low rate of eye care in Chinese Americans? Possibilities include language barriers, lack of insurance, cultural barriers, difficulty to access eye care providers, or lack of education about eye diseases. Clearly further research is needed develop interventions to help improve compliance for eye care in Chinese Americans, hopefully undertaken by members of CAOS!