Dr. Cheung’s Blog

Dr. Cheung’s Blog

Every quarter, Dr. Cheung blogs about a life experience as it relates to an eye issue.

Dr. Cheung’s Blog 1/3/2019

Happy Holidays!!

For me, the holiday season starts with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year’s Day.  For those who are always out to look for something to celebrate, the season can start as early as Halloween and go all the way to Super Bowl Sunday!  For most of us (me included), this stretch of two to three months in the dark winter of Pacific Northwest is met with cheers and excitement.  For others, and I presume this is not an insignificant minority, the holidays are met with dread and apprehension.  While I am writing a generally positive message about my holiday experience, I recognize that this is a difficult times for many and I want to be sensitive to their realities.  I can see the anxieties in the faces of many of my patients throughout this season and I am keeping them in my thoughts as I am writing this.

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Dr. Cheung’s Blog 9/13/2018


As I waved goodbye to the twins in their first school bus ride to Kindergarten, I reflected on the incredible parenting journey over the past five years. The bus stop was a five-minute walk from our house, on the crest of a little hill. They can charge up the hill with gusto now. But barely five years ago, they were two absolutely helpless 34-week premies with feeding tubes sticking out from their noses. The pregnancy was complicated and my wife was admitted to the hospital at 23rd week. We lived in a constant state of anticipation. Two to three times a week, we held our breath for an hour during which they were measured by ultrasound from head to toes. With us being both physicians and fully understood the potential risks and long term outcomes, Theo and Elise came to this world amid a high level of parental anxiety. At birth, they had a look of terror on their faces as if they just wanted to crawl right back to the womb. Sleeping and feeding were not normal physiologic necessities for them but were fought with much consternation over minutes and millimeters. They were as colicky as babies can come.
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June 6, 2018

A tribute to Jeff

I am late in writing this quarterly blog as I have been mourning the passing of a dear friend and colleague, Jeffrey Bernstein, MD. Jeff was a vascular surgeon at The Doctors Clinic in Bremerton for over twenty years before his transition to the PolyClinic in Seattle a few years ago. I met Jeff at the Kitsap County Medical Society a few weeks after I started practicing here and we have been friends ever since. We were in a book group together with our wives and several other couples; and we convened every few months for all these years to discuss literature as a pretext to drink wine. Jeff was perhaps the most articulate person that I have ever met. He had strong convictions and opinions over a wide range of subjects. While I often disagreed with him, particularly when it came to politics, I always respected what he had to say.       Read the complete blog post.

December 21, 2017

Seeing the Beauty

I just returned from New Orleans, Louisiana, where I attended the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Each year, thousands of ophthalmologists from around the world gather at this meeting to exchange ideas and learn new techniques in our field.  This year, there was a lot of excitement on the new Extended Depth of Focus (EDOF) intraocular lens, which is a type of multifocal implant that we use to replace the cataract lens after surgery.  As an early adopter of this new technology, I have implanted a few EDOF and I am likewise impressed by the range and sharpness of the vision it affords my patients.    Read the complete blog post. 

August 14, 2017

Climbing Mount Rainier

Sometimes we do things without quite knowing the motivation behind them.  I am not talking about things that we do on a whim.  Rather, they are things that take months of mental and/or physical preparations; they can be costly and even risky.  Climbing Mount Rainier is one of those things for me and I am proud to say that I summited Rainer (14,411 feet) on the morning of June 23.  And I am never going to do something quite like that again.    Read the complete blog post.

April 1, 2017

Aloha Magic

My family and I went on a winter vacation to Kauai last month.  I can’t remember when was the last time that we went on a week-long vacation together.  It was so relaxing; sleeping in, soaking up some sun, and most of all, spending unhurried time with the kids.  The twins are deathly afraid of water and they have never submerged themselves in any pool past their necks.  Even the ordinary hair washing at bath time is still a struggle.  Maybe it was the Aloha magic but it was good to see them work up the courage and plunge their little heads into the water.  My son Theo was the first to do that and I just loved seeing his face beam with a sense of achievement when he popped out of the water.   Read the complete blog post.

January 1, 2017

Seeing Our Own Mind

In addition to getting plenty of sleep, I make it a habit to meditate the night before or the morning of my surgery days.  I found this routine to be incredibly helpful in allowing me to singularly focus on the intricacies of eye surgery and on the patient before me.  I had my first “formal” meditation training serendipitously some eighteen years ago while traveling through Edinburgh, Scotland during the Military Tattoo Festival (Think marching men in kilts and bagpipes, not sure why it is called a tattoo).  The short meditation course stood out from the many events and street performances during the festival and I decided to give it a try.    Read the complete blog post. 

October 1, 2016

Screenings for the Young and the Old

I turned the big 50 this year!!  I explicitly asked my wife not to do anything special and my birthday was passed unceremoniously with a nice dinner and chocolate cake at home with the kids.  I “celebrated” this milestone by running the Vancouver marathon in May which I did when I was forty.  Nobody in the right mind would think of 26.2 miles of pain and sweat as a form of celebration.  I guess it is a male ego thing; still trying to prove that I am in my prime.     Read the complete blog post.

June 24, 2016

Independence Day, 1776

Every year, I take a father and daughter trip with my oldest daughter, Claire.  The twins take up so much of my time and attention that it is easy to lose connection with a teenager.  This year, we went to the Big Apple.  We walked for miles through Central Park, window-shopped on Madison Ave, swung through several museums, and climbed to the top of Empire State Building.  We got to talk, argue and share the experience of being in the greatest city in the world.  The highlight of our trip was Hamilton.  This hit Broadway musical just won eleven Tony Awards and the genius of Hamilton composer, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda was definitely on full display during the show.   Read the complete blog post.

April 9, 2016

Some might claim that compassion and empathy cannot be taught

One of my greatest pleasures is reading fiction.  A good novel can be as exhilarating as a roller coaster ride, as beautiful as a rain forest in dawn’s light, and as wretched as a sick puppy.  On a cold rainy day when I am not in the office, there is nothing more I rather do than to curl up with a new book.  For the past seventeen years, I have been a member of a book group with three other physicians and their spouses.  We are a diverse group – different upbringings, religious beliefs and political affiliations – joined only by our love of literature and medicine.  We love books from foreign lands as they transport us to exotic places and times and give us a glimpse of the cultures and histories.  We learned much about India from V.S. Naipual, Virkam Seth, Arundhati Roy and the great Salman Rushdie.  We explored South Africa through the eyes of Nadine Gordimer and J.M. Coetzee.  And we blitzed through Latin America with Gabriel Marquez, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Isabel Allende.  Out of the nearly one hundred books that we have read, two really resonated with me as an ophthalmologist: Blindness by Jose Saramago and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.      Read the complete blog post.

January 5, 2016

My Professional Treasure Chest

They bring meaning to my work and remind me of the true privilege of being a physician.

Have you noticed that we stopped writing in Christmas cards these days?  We are sending them but we hardly write in them anymore.  The majority of the Christmas cards that I received from my friends and relatives in the past few years are photo collages of their lives in that year.  Their beautiful babies and children are prominently featured and their family vacations are highlighted on the neatly organized and professionally printed card.  A few brave souls included close-up pictures of themselves and it is nice to see that they too have put on a few pounds and going gray on their temples.   Read the complete blog post.

October 5, 2015

Rest and Relaxation

One of the more challenging cases that I had to operate on after I returned from my vacation…

This summer came early and with a bang.  As the Okanagon fires finally died down, the last days of summer unceremoniously slipped passed us.  The fall chill is in the morning air and the sky is brilliantly clear again.  Autumn is my busiest season with children going back to school and needing their eyes checked.  Summer, however, is for rest and relaxation and I try to take a week or two off each year to spend time with the family.  We kicked off this summer with a visit to Grandma in San Diego in late June.  Grandma was proud to show off her grandbabies and we were proud that they survived the plane rides with minimal screams and fuss.  The highlight in July was of course the twins second birthday.   Read the complete blog post. 

March 27, 2015

Dear Patients:

I am writing to let you know that we are in the process of consolidating our Bainbridge and Silverdale offices.  The expansion of our Silverdale location has just been completed and the Bainbridge office will be closing on April 15, 2015.

While this was a difficult decision, I am excited about the improvements at the Silverdale office which were designed to make your visit to our clinic an even more pleasant experience.  We have added two fully equipped examination lanes and have expanded our lobby space, which will allow us to further reduce our already short
wait times.  We have also replaced our server and all our computer terminals to ensure the highest security of your private health information.  Read the complete blog post.

February 2, 2015

Cats have nine lives

Have you ever wonder why human have round pupils and cats have oval ones?

We got a new cat.  His name is Smudge, aka Prince.  Technically, he is my almost-thirteen-year-old daughter’s cat.  It was her idea; something new for the New Year and I thought it would be a good way for her to develop more responsibility.  I have a feeling, however, that I will be doing the lion share of the litter box clean up.

Smudge is a really sweet cat.  He is gentle with our eighteen-month-old twins, even when he was poked by their little fingers.   He also gets along fine with my wife’s cat Shiva who made it quite clear that she will remain the first cat.  Shiva hisses at Smudge often and he basically just learned to mind his own business.  Good survival strategy for a male in a household.   Read the complete blog post. 

October 25, 2014

Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night

My wife and I just ran the Victoria half marathon this morning.  The weather was perfect for running with a mild chill in the crisp autumn air under a slightly over-casted sky.  The course was mercifully flat and pleasing to the eyes too.  We began in downtown Victoria where the glorious British Columbia Parliament Building was still glowing in the pre-dawn light.  We then wound through a beautiful public park, a quaint British-accented neighborhood and finally hugged along the shore as we approached the finish line.  Local residents and musicians came out in droves to cheer us on.  The positive energy was palpable and I was reasonably happy with my result.  I ran this course four years ago and had my personal best here.  This time around, I am seven minutes slower than my last.   Read the complete blog post.

August 8, 2014


We celebrated the twins’ first birthday last week.  The little bit of caffeine in the chocolate cake woke them up from sleep two to three times that night.  It goes to show that they are still sensitive little creatures but by and large, they are healthy and happy babies.  The weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit is now a distant memory and the nagging fear that something will go wrong with their health faded away.  Bringing them from low-birth-weight premies to babbling and crawling babies gives my wife and I a great sense of accomplishment.   Most of all though, this landmark is a time to pause and reflect on how truly fortunate and blessed we are.  Read the complete blog post. 

May 1, 2014

The TSA of an Eye Exam

I just returned from a three-day trip to Hong Kong with my family.  The sole purpose of the trip was for my six-month old twins to meet my mother whose health has been declining.  Her mind is slipping away from Alzheimer’s and her body is ravaged by Parkinson’s and stomach cancer.  It was a bittersweet journey, as it was the first and probably the last time for them to meet.  My mom had several relatively lucid intervals per day, each lasting no more than fifteen minutes.  During one such interval, I asked my mom if my son Theo looked like me when I was a baby.  Without missing a beat, she nodded yes.  It was priceless, knowing that she understood my question and who the twins are.  The sixteen hour journey and four sleepless nights were all worth it.  Read the complete blog post. 

January 17, 2014

New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year!  I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2014.  New Year is a mark in time that prompts us to reflect on our past achievements and set goals for the future.  Like many of you, I set a number of resolutions each New Year, many of which I failed to keep.  For 2014, again, I stand to lose a few pounds by reining in my uncontrollable urge for dark chocolate, be a more patient father and a more understanding husband, and to commit to reading every eye journal that arrives on my desk each month.  Reasonable and achievable goals?  Yes, indeed they are.  A 250 IQ or Herculean strength is not a prerequisite for reaching these goals but they do require me to develop good habits to have a reasonable chance of success.  And that is the rub: good habits can be just as powerful, if not more so, than any superhuman trait.  In health, creating good habits can lead us away from diseases, even those that we might be genetically predisposed to.   Read the complete blog post.

November 9, 2013

Only time will tell

The twins continue to thrive since my last blog entry.  They stayed at the Swedish neonatal intensive care unit for a little over two weeks , mostly for feeding and growing.  Except for their small sizes, they appeared otherwise healthy to us and to their doctors.  They have roughly tripled in size in three months – they literally jumped on the growth curves.  Elise was less than one percentile at birth and is now running at 14%.  Theo is a tank in comparison, approaching 69% tile.  Babies like my twins who were premature and growth restricted in utero are at risks of a host of medical problems including cerebral palsy, attention deficit disorder, autism, asthma, reflux … all sound very scary as a father.  While the logical and medical side of my brain tells me that there is no evidence of any of these conditions, there is still an underlying tinge of fear.  Only time will tell.    Read the complete blog post.

August 5, 2013

Life’s greatest journey

The twins are here!! We were blessed by the arrival of Elise and Theo on Friday, July 26 at 2:03 pm. Elise sneezed at the world and started crying. Theo came one minute later and met the world with a bang, kicking and screaming despite his small size of 4 pounds and 10 ounces. They were delivered by C-section at 34 weeks and 2 days of gestation because Elise was growing poorly. Her birth weight was 3 pounds and 8 ounces, less than 5 percentile for babies of that age.   Read the complete blog post.


May 1, 2013


I have some very amazing and exciting news to share.  My wife and I are pregnant, with twins!!!  We just had our 20-week prenatal ultrasound appointment last week, and here are some photos for me to brag about.   One of them, the boy, is destined to be a yoga master.  He is practicing the plow pose in utero, far more flexible than his old man. The other twin, the girl, is a bit more subdue.  She appears to be reclining in a chaise lounge, posing as a model in a classic Italian painting.  Read the complete blog post.

February  11, 2013

An Inspiration and a Beginning

Hello!! Welcome to my blog.  This is the first time I write a blog and it is not common for physicians to have a blog on their professional websites.  I hope to use this forum to educate the public and my patients about eyes and vision through my own lens.  The opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own personal experiences and perspectives on eye care.  They have not been peer reviewed in scientific journals or tested in a laboratory.  They are simply my take on things from the latest advances in ophthalmology to the day-to-day practice of medicine.  They do offer you, the reader, a glimpse of who I am as a physician and to garner your trust in me as your Eye M.D.  Let’s begin our journey.    Read the complete blog post. 

That 80-90% of overall UV damage to our eyes is accumulated before the age of 18! Like skin damage from UV exposure, we now know occurred for the most part from exposure before the age of 18. Kids in UV protected sun glasses is highly recommended. Protect their eyes just like you do their delicate skin!

Water & contacts don’t mix. To help prevent eye infections, contact lenses should be removed before going swimming or in a hot tub. Alternatively, wear goggles.

The lenses in children’s eyes do not block as much UV radiation as they do in adults’ eyes, putting them at increased risk for sun damage to the eyes.

Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss. Glaucoma can strike without pain or other symptoms and is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), early detection and treatment is critical to maintain healthy vision and protect the eyes from the effects of potentially blinding diseases, such as glaucoma.

Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness. Learn the risk factors for this disease? Having a close family relative with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) puts you at higher risk for developing the disease yourself.