This week we had the opportunity to interview one of our dearest friends Dr. Michelle Yudina, OD. She is an eye doctor and more specifically our go-to optometrist! We recorded this one so early so don't mind our jet lagged brains... haha. Lets get right into it:
Dr. Michelle Yudina is a native New Yorker. She graduated from Long Island University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She continued on to receive her doctorate in optometry from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Afterwards, she completed a year of optometric clinical training in ocular disease, specialty contact lens and vision therapy. During this time, she received extensive training in diagnosing, managing and treating a multitude of complex ocular diseases such as corneal irregularities, cataracts, glaucoma, uveitis, retinal diseases, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
With cutting-edge technology such as fundoscopy, nerve fiber analysis, optical coherence tomography and peripheral vision assessment, Dr. Yudina is able to effectively diagnose and treat her patients. She is enthusiastic and detail-oriented in conducting patient needs assessments, as well as in providing accurate results and recommendations for the development of appropriate patient treatment. She enjoys getting to know her patients and looks forward to developing lifelong relationships with them.
What got her into it? Well you know a lot of immigrant families encourage their children to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer. So that push definitely played a role and it definitely helped that she loved science! Michelle didn't know what type of doctor she wanted to be so she decided to shadow an optometrist and she ended up really enjoying it!
Moving on forward to the application process.. for those that are interested. It's a 4 year program after college where you only study the eye. Three years of in house studying and one year of clinical rotations. Make sure you do all your pre med requisites while in undergrad so that you can take the entrance exam and apply. You also want to do your research to see which program fits your needs (for example, if want more clinical experience early on look for a program that offers that). You will need to obtain letters of recommendation and of course do some shadowing as well as, research. These things are very helpful to spruce up your resume. It's getting more and more competitive in a lot of fields so do what you have to do to stand out.
What does she love the most about what she does? Aside from helping people seeing the results instantly or soon after diagnosing and treating them is such a gratifying process. Seeing peoples happiness and gratefulness makes her happy. Also, she really loves developing relationships with her patients and seeing them for long periods of time. (Similar to primary care guys... wink wink)
1. First things first once you are checked in you get your retinal photos done. This is to look at the back of the eye and see if there any abnormalities (vascular, swelling, etc).
2. This is followed by auto refraction which measures your prescription requirements and glaucoma testing to measure your eye pressure
3. Depending on the age of the patient they also do visual field testing or a peripheral eye exam and a scan of the macula (this usually applies to patients that are 50 years or older)
4. Then they see the optometrist which in this case is our lovely Michelle. The optometrist will go over the patients history (extensively) like if they wear glasses or contacts, take any medications or have any new issues to address. After this they do a refraction to get the prescription. And if that wasn't enough the patient gets a slit lamp exam that takes a look at your retina, optic nerve and macula. After this extensive workup.. which I want to say for us medicine peeps it's awesome, if the patient has no complaints you may not need dilation but if you do have symptoms then you will likely benefit from dilating your eyes for a further look.
Note: If you're diabetic you need an yearly eye exam! So important... all our patients that come in to see us in the primary care setting get sent for this from the time of diagnosis and every year thereafter. Do not neglect your eyes!
Note: Once children know their letters and numbers if there are any concerns get an eye exam (as you know, sometimes children may be misdiagnosed with other issues such as behavioral disturbances when it is due to a visual issue). This helps with better management and overall health moving forward. There is more than meets the eye and a Snellen chart alone may not cut it.
Are there subspecialties in optometry?
Yes, there are but then you have to do a residency. If you want more information about this we can always provide it to you. Michelle did not opt for a residency at this time so she can focus more on the primary care setting.
Optometry vs Ophthalmology?
Ophthalmologist went to medical school whereas, optometrists go to optometry school. Usually the optometrist takes care of the patient sort of like a primary care physician but just for the eye and then anything that requires further evaluation, emergencies or surgery will then be referred to the ophthalmologist. There are many subspecialties in ophthalmology (listen to the episode for details like retina specialists, general ophthalmology, etc.) and we will have an ophthalmologists on the podcast soon so you can see both perspectives.
She is planning on collaborating with pediatricians to work together on educating parents, performing school visual screenings, testing reading capabilities, among other things. Michelle wants to bring more awareness to children in order to improve the overall health and avoid misdiagnosis.
What would she wish was different in her field?
She wishes more people can be educated about the importance of annual eye exams for everybody. She also wishes people knew more about the actual job description behind optometrists. We delve into this a little further in the episode so take a listen.
Long term goals?
In the next five years, she wants to open up her own practice as well as, expand on social media so she can demonstrate both her business side and educate what optometry is all about.
Book or Podcast she recommends:
1. Book - Verity by Colleen Hoover
2. Podcast - obviously, The Secret Scope and who doesn't love: The Skinny Confidential
Secret tip? Coconut oil (Remember our episode? us too...)
With that said, women really can have it all! Right?! Don't forget about obtaining that work-life balance we're always talking about. In summary, listen to the episode now if you haven't yet where we go further into personal experiences with her patients, Adelynn's experience and much more! If you're interested in this episode we will have the second part to this soon where we will discuss some myths and secret tips about the eye so please send us your questions. If you want more information about the application process don't hesitate to ask us or start doing some research about it.
You can find Michelle here: @drmichelleyudina on instagram
That's all for this week, don't forget to leave us feedback, rate, review, subscribe and send in your questions so we can continue to improve as well as, provide you high quality content!
Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.