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Meet Your DMEI Doctor: Janine E. Collinge, MD

Meet Your DMEI Doctor: Janine E. Collinge, MD

From impactful clinical research to advanced eye care and surgery, the services offered at the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) are as diverse as our eye care professionals. Our ophthalmologists and optometrists come to DMEI from across the nation and around the globe to offer their unique expertise to patients.

A New Jersey native, Dr. Janine E. Collinge is one of DMEI’s talented pediatric ophthalmologists and Clinical Associate Professors and is loved by her young patients and their families. Dr. Collinge sat down with us to discuss how she found her path to medicine and how working with kids keeps her young at heart. Next time you see Dr. Collinge, ask her about her minor in French studies or about working in our nation’s capital.

Q: Where did you grow up and when did your interest in medicine first emerge?

A: I grew up on the East Coast, mainly in a small town in southern New Jersey called Pitman. Growing up, I was not one of those kids who played doctor with dolls, pets, or willing family members. I’m not someone who always knew they wanted to be a doctor. I am the oldest of three girls and have always been inquisitive and independent, but I come from a humble, hardworking family where most members don’t have a college degree, let alone a medical degree.

I worked hard to get into college, which is where I found my path to medicine. I went to numerous career fairs to discover what I wanted to do. I had the chance to shadow an ophthalmologist in the operating room as part of a research project. That experience left me in awe of the impact of medicine and surgery on humanity. I was bitten by the medicine bug and there was no going back.

Q: Where did you complete your undergrad and where did you pursue your medical degree?

A: I went to college at the University of Delaware where I received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in French studies. I went to medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, then called Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The school now belongs to Rutgers University as part of the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Q: What helped you decide to go into pediatric ophthalmology?

A: During ophthalmology residency training, everyone rotates through different services, including a rotation in pediatric ophthalmology. I enjoyed all my rotations but always felt that pediatric ophthalmology suits my personality perfectly.

I enjoy harnessing my inner child during examinations and sharing in the joy and enthusiasm that children have for life. I also enjoy building relationships with my patients and their families as I follow them over years of growth and development. 

Q: Where did you complete your residency?

A: I completed my ophthalmology residency training in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital. I completed an additional specialized fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at Indiana University.

Q: What led you to join DMEI?

A: During my fellowship training, I realized that I wanted to work in a major referral center where I could see patients with a wide variety of eye disorders in different settings. I also knew I wanted to teach and help train the next generation of ophthalmologists. DMEI is where I found my place.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with young patients?

A: Children are so much fun to work with. They have energy and enthusiasm and always keep me on my toes – there's never a dull moment. Working with young patients gives me joy and keeps me young at heart.

Q: What eye issues do you commonly see in children? What should parents do if they suspect an issue in their child’s vision?

A: I take care of children with a wide variety of eye problems, from the rare cases of cataracts and glaucoma to the more common issues of refractive error (need for glasses), strabismus (wandering eye), and amblyopia (lazy eye). I see children in the hospital with vision-threating disorders like trauma, infections, or tumors. I also see infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as premature infants are at risk for certain eye disorders.

A: If parents have concerns about their child's vision, I recommend that they discuss their concern with their primary care provider or a pediatrician to help coordinate an evaluation with an eye care provider. Many primary care doctors can do a basic evaluation for children with vision issues. They can determine if the problem needs additional evaluation with an ophthalmologist, if the issue is urgent, or if it can be seen routinely.

Some vision issues in children can be a sign of a problem that can affect the overall health of the child, so it’s important that the primary care physician is involved. At DMEI, we have multiple pediatric eye care providers available to help evaluate children with suspected vision issues.

Eye Care at DMEI

Whether your needs are as simple as a new pair of glasses or as complex as innovative eye surgery, DMEI’s array of services cover the full spectrum of eye care for patients of all ages. Schedule an appointment by calling 405.271.6060 or 800.787.9012.

Want to meet your DMEI physician? Visit their online profile listed under their specialty or follow our blog for more posts in our “Meet Your DMEI Doctor” series, including Dr. Maria Lim’s feature.

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