Dr. Jennifer Cecil, a Comprehensive Ophthalmologist at the Eye Center of Northern Colorado, has a biomedical engineering degree from Purdue University. How does someone move into ophthalmology from engineering? For Dr. Cecil, it was simple. In her last year of medical school at Indiana University, having been given the opportunity to do off-campus rotations to explore a variety of specialties, Dr. Cecil spent a month with an ophthalmologist in private practice “and everything clicked.”
Ophthalmology is very much a problem-solving activity, Dr. Cecil says. Like engineering, you have to do a lot of detective work and ask a lot of questions. For instance, a comprehensive ophthalmologist needs to know how various systemic health conditions affect the eyes, such as Multiple Sclerosis or diabetes, and how to treat the effects of these conditions on the eyes. Eye health can also be an indication of underlying health conditions that haven’t yet been detected, like the relationship between hemorrhages and uncontrolled blood pressure, and an ophthalmologist can bring this to light.
Ophthalmologists are trained, medical doctors and eye surgeons. The anatomy of the eye allows them to really see what they’re working on. After the detective work that goes into diagnosing a health or vision problem, ophthalmologists can access that very specific problem or problem area and apply the appropriate medical or surgical treatment.
Empathy, listening skills, and an ability to clearly communicate are a few of the qualities Dr. Cecil says a good ophthalmologist should have. Because it’s really about people, her patients. It’s about helping them see better, which helps them live better. Dexterity and knowledge of conditions that affect the eye are important too, and so is being a detective (that part is also pretty fun).
Dr. Cecil put down roots in Loveland when she came to Colorado in 1993 and started her own practice. Here, she built and cultivated relationships with her patients and their families over 25 years. This was always the best part of her job – and it still is. Today, at the Eye Center’s Centerra location in Loveland, Dr. Cecil enjoys having the ability to put her energy into medical diagnosis and treatment, and maintaining connections with many of the patients and families she’s known for years.
Words to live by from Dr. Cecil: Don’t ignore changes in your vision! See your doctor; don’t wait until it’s too late.