This month in our “Meet the Doctors” series we are featuring Dr. Javey. Dr. Javey received her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Javey is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. She is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Retina Specialists, Virginia Society of Ophthalmology, and Lynchburg Academy of Medicine. Dr. Javey’s areas of expertise include diabetes, macular degeneration, “floaters”, retinal detachment, and retinal vascular disease. Dr. Javey performs advanced vitreoretinal surgery using the latest techniques available.
What made you want to become an ophthalmologist?
The most important thing that drew me to ophthalmology was the ability to make a difference in my patient’s lives. Vision is our primary sense. Most people do not think about the health of their eyes until something goes wrong. When something does go wrong, people are extremely grateful for any services to restore their vision.
During my medical school rotations, I was fascinated by the science in ophthalmology. The visual system is fantastically complicated and being able to understand it is a great technical and academic challenge. Additionally, many systemic diseases have early manifestation in the eye. Diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, and systemic infections are some of the many conditions that can cause changes in our eyes and our vision.
Finally, I found ophthalmology to be the perfect balance of surgery and medicine. As an ophthalmologist, we get to operate on different eye conditions and we also get to build long-term relationships with our patients in the clinic.
Why did you choose retina as your subspecialty?
After considering all the different disciplines in ophthalmology, I chose retina as my sub-specialty as I found it to be the most rewarding field in restoring vision and preventing blindness.
The retina is the light-sensitive area in the back of the eye. In a healthy eye, images focused on the retina are converted to electrical signals that are sent to the brain for processing. The retina can be subject to conditions that, without treatment, may lead to total blindness. Retina patients often report significant decreased vision or distortion in their vision. As a retina specialist, I can not only identify the cause of visual changes but also improve the patient’s vision in most cases.
Retina surgeries are microsurgeries with great attention to details as you are operating on a tissue with less than 300 microns (0.01 in) thickness. I have always appreciated the intricacy of these surgeries.
How did you come to work at Piedmont Eye Center?
I was raised in Virginia and finished my medical school and residency in ophthalmology in Virginia. After completing my fellowship training at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, I knew I wanted to be back in Virginia and close to my family. I found Piedmont Eye Center to be the perfect match for what I was looking for in a job. I was the seventh physician added to a talented multi-specialty group of eye surgeons who value the patient’s care more than anything. I am so glad and grateful that I took this job. The patients and physicians in Lynchburg and the surrounding areas have been so wonderful in welcoming me. I look forward to many more years of providing vitreoretinal care to our community.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to restore sight. Retina is a unique field in the sense that some of the disease processes are chronic conditions that we treat mostly in the clinic, and some are urgent surgical procedures done in the operating room. They all have the same common goal of improving vision.
As a retina specialist, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy are the two most common issues that I see on a daily basis in my clinic. As they are both chronic conditions with required frequent treatments, I often see these patients multiple times a year and get a chance to build a long-term relationship with them. I value the rapport and look forward seeing the patients at their next visit, not only to evaluate their visual progress, but also to hear about their lives. I find it very gratifying that advancement in treatments allow these patients to improve their vision and have a better quality of life.
Retinal surgeries often give very rewarding visual outcomes. Many consider this to be the golden era of retina with many advances in vitreoretinal surgeries. Retina surgeries are much more successful these days due to better viewing systems in the operating room and the ability to perform small gauge, sutureless surgeries. Retinal detachment, macular hole, macular pucker, and diabetic vitreous hemorrhage are some of the many conditions requiring surgery. Without surgery, these patients will either lose their sight completely or will have distorted, decreased vision for the rest of their lives. Knowing that I am making someone’s life better makes me feel wonderful at the end of a busy surgery day.
What’s one thing you wish every patient knew?
In most cases, regular screening eye exams can be helpful in detecting problems early and fixing them. For example, in diabetic patients, those who do poorly are the ones who report late to us with very advanced damage. For this reason, the recommendation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology is for all diabetic patients to have at least one eye exam a year. Routine screening and early treatment prevents loss of vision.
What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, biking and kayaking.