Meet a Specialist: Christian Song, MD

Song Copy Dr. Song remembers quite clearly the day he decided to become an ophthalmologist. He was a medical student at the New York University School of Medicine, completing his ophthalmology rotation, when he witnessed the life-changing impact that a corneal transplant had for a patient with severe keratoconus.

The woman was in her 50s and could only see shadows. A day after the surgery, her vision was substantially better. “By then, her vision had already improved by about half,” he says. “She told us she felt like she had suddenly been given a new life.”

Motivated by the potential to dramatically improve a patient’s quality of life, Dr. Song decided to complete an ophthalmology residency at New York University School of Medicine and then subspecialize in cornea, cataract, and refractive surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Today, as a member of Mass. Eye and Ear’s Comprehensive Ophthalmology and Cataract Consultation Service, Dr. Song provides routine and complex cataract and anterior segment surgery, and laser vision correction (LASIK/PRK). He also manages more common eye disorders, such as dry eye and pterygium (“surfer’s eye”)

While he performs some complex cataract surgeries, Dr. Song notes that most cataract surgeries have become relatively routine because of modern techniques. “The procedure to remove the cataract and implant a replacement intraocular lens is really quite elegant,” he explains. “Our instrumentation is very efficient and the incisions are so small that patients heal much faster than before. Patients can go home the same day and return to their daily routines much more quickly.”

Preparation for any procedure is critical, he adds. “Taking exact measurements and double-checking calculations beforehand are essential to ensuring the best outcome. And it’s important to talk with each patient about his or her actual vision needs so we can select the appropriate lens implant.”

In fact, getting to know his patients is one of his top priorities. “It’s so important to listen to patients as they describe their needs. One person might need a new pair of glasses. Another might describe an uncomfortable eye infection that needs treatment with an intensive regimen of antibiotic drops and daily follow-up care. Some patients need surgery. If I listen carefully, we can work together to fix the problem,” he says.

While the Internet can be a ready resource for curious patients, Dr. Song cautions patients that online information can sometimes be misleading and complicate communication between doctor and patient. “Sometimes patients are worried about something they’ve seen online,” Dr. Song notes. “But it may or may not relate to their situation. My job is to help sort out what’s really happening and re-direct them to the facts about their own vision. Most often, I can allay their worst-case Internet-based fears, and they walk out of here with a sense of relief!”

Dr. Song, who also speaks Korean, sees patients at Mass. Eye and Ear’s Boston campus on Wednesdays and Thursdays. He also sees patients in the hospital’s Stoneham location on Mondays and at the Waltham location on Fridays.

“This place is simply amazing,” reflects Dr. Song. “When I leaf through ophthalmology journals, I see the many scientific and clinical breakthroughs that originate here, and it feels so good to be part of this team.”

Contact Dr. Song at 617-573-3202 (Mass. Eye and Ear main campus), 781-279-4418 (Mass. Eye and Ear, Stoneham), or 781-890-1023 (Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham).

View Dr. Song’s online bio for more information.

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