Everyone has a story to tell at the Dean McGee Eye Institute (DMEI) – a story behind why they choose to work at one of the largest ophthalmology institutes in the U.S., and a reason they care so passionately about keeping patients safe and comfortable and providing a quality care experience.
Dr. Stanley Park is no exception. Park, who discovered his passion for medicine founding a non-profit in Nicaragua, is a 2018 Fellow at DMEI and traveled from California to Ohio to Oklahoma to learn more about retina surgery.
Q: Where did you grow up and when did your interest in medicine first emerge?
A: I grew up in sunny southern California. My interest in medicine started after founding my non-profit, Project Nicaragua. After a few trips to Nicaragua, I realized how limited I was in my capacity to help as a student and that I could do much more as a physician! Over the years we’ve built a local school and clinic and donated countless medical supplies. I’m trying to keep our momentum going as an ophthalmologist by building an eye clinic out there.
Q: Where did you complete your undergrad and where did you pursue your medical degree?
A: My undergraduate focus was in biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. I completed my medical education at The Ohio State University. Go Bucks! I also spent a year during medical school as a Howard Hughes fellow doing research at the National Eye Institu
Q: Where did you complete your residency?
A: I loved it so much at The Ohio State, I stuck around for residency too. I may have stuck around for Jeni’s ice cream as well.
Q: What led you to join DMEI?
A: To learn the right way to do retina surgery with Dr. Vinay Shah, my fellowship director. Easy question. Next
Q: What sparked your interest in retinal health and diseases? Why is this an important area of eye health to study and research?
A: During residency, I fell in love with the pure beauty of the retina- (Google Image it!). The retina is a microscopic layer of brain tissue that is responsible for transforming natural light into electrical signals for our brains to receive. So many problems can arise from this tiny intricate part of the eye and yet we are still so limited in how we can treat the retina. I am excited to be in the company of clinician-scientists here at DMEI who are studying cures for rare diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (inherited retinal disease) and uveitis (eye inflammatory disease).
Q: What are some common conditions you diagnose in patients? What are some of the underlying factors that caused these issues?
A: I frequently see patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, epiretinal membranes, retinal tears and detachments. Fortunately, a lot of the risk factors for AMD and diabetes-associated eye disease are reversible. Those risk factors include smoking, poor diet and living a sedentary lifestyle.
Q: Is there a way for patients to be proactive in their health and prevent retinal diseases? What should they do if they suspect something is wrong with their vision?
A: Engage in regular exercise and a healthy diet. Also, don’t skip your annual eye exam! If you note sudden vision loss, flashes, floaters, a dark curtain in your side vision, you need to get here and get checked out ASAP. We have a 24-hour emergency eye service through the OU emergency department staffed by some of the brightest resident physicians in the entire country.
Q: What does it mean to you to be a part of DMEI as a Fellow?
A: It means being a part of a close-knit community of top eye care specialists who all care about their patients. When you put us all in one building, amazing things tend to happen to trainees like myself and patients like you.
Q: In addition, we’d love to know about your hobbies or interests – just some things that let us show your personality.
A: I like trying to outrun the person next to me in Orange Theory Fitness, swimming laps at the pool, and unwinding with hot yoga. You can find me cheering for the Thunder, unless my boys the Golden State Warriors are in town. (Sorry!)