Meet a Specialist: Lucy Q. Shen, M.D.
Dr. Lucy Shen's interest in ophthalmology began in her middle school biology class. After dissecting a cow’s eye, she immediately looked up the word “ophthalmology” and knew she’d learn more about it someday.
Today, as a member of the Glaucoma Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Shen has in-depth clinical, surgical, and scientific expertise about glaucoma and cataracts. Glaucoma is a group of disorders that damage the optic nerve. With no known cure, glaucoma is a challenging disease to manage. However, Dr. Shen is committed to improving the quality of life for her patients. According to Dr. Shen, being a specialist is “not just about providing the standard of care, but also about going above and beyond to do what’s best for each patient.”
In a diverse patient population, understanding that each patient is unique with individual needs is extremely important. For example, she remembers a patient who needed cataract and glaucoma treatment but was challenged by a very busy international travel schedule. Dr. Shen recognizes that flexibility is a cornerstone of high-quality care and was able to accommodate her patient’s needs and schedule.
For others, eye emergencies require immediate attention. Open 24/7, the Mass. Eye and Ear emergency room is staffed with a team of specialists who manage conditions resulting from eye trauma. Dr. Shen notes that glaucoma related to trauma can be very difficult to treat with medication, but surgery effectively lowers high pressure and restores eye health.
For Dr. Shen, delivering individualized care also means engaging patients in the decision-making process surrounding their care. Dr. Shen reflects, “It is really gratifying to work with my patients and their families as a team to tackle a challenging disease.” She feels privileged to have her patients share their life stories with her. In fact, she says that her patients, and their stories of struggle and triumph, are some of the greatest teachers in her life. “They inspire me to be a better physician and a better person,” she says.
A Mentor to Trainees
Working at a teaching hospital also allows Dr. Shen to share her passion for ophthalmology as a mentor to residents and fellows. Dr. Shen and colleagues redesigned the training curriculum for senior residents. This resulted in better continuity of care and “really helped to integrate residents into the team,” says Dr. Shen. As a result,, patients benefit from this streamlined approach.
Advancing Patient Care with Research
Over the past decade, Dr. Shen has been honored with numerous awards and scholarships for research. Dr. Shen is trying to figure out why some patients develop glaucoma, but others do not. Of particular interest is how newer technologies, such as imaging, can be used to better monitor glaucoma. Imaging research can also contribute to a clearer understanding of how disease originates and progresses. Dr. Shen is also developing a technique that will reduce elevated pressure in the eye, which occurs in some patients after an artficial cornea transplant procedure, called Boston keratoprosthesis.
Where do Dr. Shen’s research ideas come from? “Most of my research topics were inspired by my patients. They challenge me to look beyond the standard of care,” she says. Dr. Shen is a perfect example of how physician scientists combine their clinical and research experience to improve patient care.
“My patients are my top priority,” says Dr. Shen. “They are the reason for my research. It is encouraging to know that new discoveries are on the horizon to improve the treatment we have for glaucoma.”
Contact Dr. Shen’s office at 617-573-3670
View Dr. Shen’s online bio for more information.
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