About Dr. Ethan Wonchon Lin
Dr. Ethan Wonchon Lin is an ophthalmologist practicing in Las Vegas, NV. He graduated from the Baylor College of Medicine and completed his ophthalmology residency at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, part of the UCLA Medical Center. He further completed his fellowship at the Duke University School of Medicine, specializing in cornea, external disease, and refractive surgery.
For the past four years, Dr. Lin has been practicing in the Las Vegas area, slowly establishing his own medical practice, which opened its door to the public last year. His work has attracted the praise of the top ophthalmology boards in the country like the American Board of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS), of which Dr. Lin is an active member. Additionally, he has received the American Board of Ophthalmology certification, the highest standard for US-based ophthalmologists.
From Science to Ophthalmology
Growing up in Austin, TX as the son of an engineer and a computer programmer, Dr. Lin always surrounded himself with technology. “I was always very interested in the sciences and how it worked.” With numerous tech giants moving their bases to Texas and a solid high-tech community behind, Dr. Lin’s future bioengineering career seemed locked in a deal.
However, fate had another thing in store for him. After a short spell in the cardiology field, Dr. Lin went on a quest to find something more in line with his interests, and, not long after, he settled in the ophthalmology field, looking forward to helping future patients with their eyesight.
When asked by the Top Doctor Magazine interviewer about the process of choosing ophthalmology, Dr. Lin made a comparison with “choosing a fraternity or sorority.” For him, getting the opportunity to see people excited about a specific field during events or conferences weighed considerably in his choice. “The doctor that came and spoke (i.e., about ophthalmology) really resonated with me and made me want to talk to him more and spend some more time in his clinic and his surgeries just to see what it was like.”
Ophthalmology and the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic gave the medical field enough time to reflect upon its flaws and look towards a brighter, safer future, Dr. Lin tells us. Some changes that Dr. Lin made in the patient care field with the CDC guidelines as a starting point include: no double-bookings, dividing patients into separate waiting rooms, less total patients per day, etc.
For Dr. Lin, who runs a small practice, this translated into spending more time with his patients and bonding with them. This approach is substantially different from the large medical practices that most people are familiar with, where physicians delegate responsibilities to different staff members and spend more time outside the exam room rather than inside.
Though he enjoys a constant number of patients every day, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic provided a different picture, as it took a toll on his growing practice. Due to the general mystery and insecurity surrounding the new virus, not a few patients decided to postpone their consultations or procedures regularly, making Dr. Lin’s day to day schedule a dynamic process. Though the status quo has only improved gradually over the past few months, Dr. Lin is confident that both himself and his practice will emerge victorious from this pandemic.
Ophthalmology and Telemedicine
One of the reasons why ophthalmology needed more time to get back in gear is the complicated relationship between this medical field and telemedicine. Medical fields such as dermatology thrived on telemedicine all across the country, limiting patients from trips to the outpatient clinics.
“Unfortunately,” as Dr. Lin tells us, “ophthalmology is a field where not a lot can be done over the phone or the internet.” Even the most common medical issues in ophthalmology, such as red eyes, require a microscope, and procedural steps such as administering eye dilation drops require the physician’s presence. As such, where others benefited immensely, Dr. Lin’s relationship with telemedicine has been less impactful.
2021 and Its Challenges
With a very optimistic spirit, Dr. Lin is confident that the remaining months of 2021 have numerous moments of joy in store for us. What we need to do, however, as a society, is to sit down and find answers to some difficult questions, namely “Can we continue to do the surgeries our patients need?” and “Can we continue to see patients in a safe manner and patients can continue to stay healthy?” Only after finding answers to these questions will the medical field rise superior and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked about the proper way of dealing with the COVID-19 virus, Dr. Lin humbly responded: “I don’t think anyone thing by itself is going to fix the entire issue.” A solid response to the pandemic contains several ingredients: dedicated physicians and medical staff, an understanding general population, vaccination campaigns, etc. But, as a parting reminder, the crown jewel of our response to COVID-19 is a strong belief in a better, brighter, pandemic-free future, to which we should turn our focus and make it happen.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lin and his practice, you can check out his website here.