Brian Shin owns his own eye care facility in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and is now located in Toronto Canada. His practice treats every member of a family’s vision needs from infancy to old age. Patients at his office will find a comfortable waiting area, large-screen televisions and plenty of toys for children.
Going to the eye doctor is sometimes frightening, especially for a young child. With large, scary-looking instruments, sometimes-painful drops and odd tests, children typically fear their visits. Brian Shin prides himself on creating a fun atmosphere that puts children at ease. He uses the most entertaining and fun vision tests to make visits seem like a game for small kids.
Shin is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. He also actively volunteers his time with national and international nonprofits seeking to help those with vision loss and provide quality eye care to people in need.
When he is not in the office, Shin enjoys a variety of hobbies including rock climbing, hiking and playing the piano. He practices his piano for at least one hour each day. He also composes his own pieces and sometimes performs them at his church.
Shin is a fitness enthusiast, and he regularly works out to ensure he is able to enjoy rock climbing vacations and extended hiking trips. His favorite locations to visit include Montana, Colorado and parts of the Appalachian Trail. Recently, he hiked the Grand Canyon, and he is currently planning an excursion in Yellowstone.
Growing up, Brian Shin knew he wanted to help people. He was born in Toronto, where he lived with his parents and three siblings until he was 10 years old. He is the oldest child of Esther and Peter Shin, and he is the primary care giver to his aging parents. Just before middle school, his family moved to Athens, Georgia.
As a young boy, everything outdoors felt like a playground for Brian. Toronto was his fortress, his “wild west,” and he was an avid explorer. When he was just five years old, his father took him for his first rock climbing lesson. He was hooked. In addition to climbing, he frequently went camping, mountain biking and spelunking.
After moving to the United States, everything changed for Brian Shin. His previous life in Toronto felt like a far away world, as he began school in Georgia. To keep things as normal as possible, the Shin's enrolled their children in piano lessons. By practicing for several hours each day, the Shin children maintained their old routines during the transition to America.
Playing the pianos was a skill that came relatively easy to Shin. As a middle school boy, he joined music clubs at school and participated in groups at his church. His skills helped him make friends and other connections. He played with such skill that the local orchestra invited him to join as a guest performer.
In high school, Shin was required to shadow a professional and write a report. Every student in the class picked a businessperson from a general list and visited them at work several times over the course of a semester. Brian chose an ophthalmologist, because his parents had always urged him to become a doctor or a lawyer.
During the course of the job shadowing assignment, Brian Shin had an experience that made him choose to become an eye doctor. During an appointment, the doctor he was shadowing had just put a new pair of glasses on a little boy. The doctor instructed the mother to take the boy to the waiting room and let him test out the new lenses. As soon as the little boy entered the waiting room, he pointed to the leaves of a fake tree and said, “Look, mommy, they’re separate.” In that moment, Shin realized the importance of eye doctors and wanted to help more children and adults see detail in the world around them.
By the time college rolled around, Athens felt like the perfect place for Brian Shin. Toronto was a distant memory, and the teenager no longer wanted to return to Canada for college. Still an excellent piano player, he accepted a music scholarship to the University of Georgia. While there, he studied to eventually enter medical school.
At the University of Georgia, students on the premed track take many science classes, but they are also encouraged to major in other subjects to round out their applications. As a music major, Shin completed a rigorous course of study combined with a demanding practice and recital schedule. He believes the experience prepared him for the rigors of medical school.
Rather than stay in Athens for medical school, Shin decided to move to another state temporarily. He was accepted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was thrilled because of their excellent reputation and ophthalmology program. The UNC Department of Ophthalmology is on the cutting edge of eye care research and strives for excellence in the treatment of patients. During his basic medical school education, Shin received training in general medicine and took elective research courses in ophthalmology to help him earn a spot in a competitive residency.
Shin completed his residency at one of the most prestigious programs in the nation. The program also happened to be only eight miles away at Duke University. Residents at the Duke Eye Center benefit from the use of state-of-the-art facilities and are taught by expert physicians. During the program, residents spend a rotation during their final year in a clinical or research setting tailored to their specific interests. Some have emphasized humanitarian ophthalmology, while others have worked with the government or children.
After completing his residency and passing his board exams, Brian Shin returned to Georgia and worked at the same clinic where he once shadowed. At that office he helped augment the primary doctor’s services and pay down debt. After about three years, he decided it was time to open his own practice, but he needed a bigger market.
Brian became a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus in the mid 1990s, just after he started work as an M.D. The American Academy of Ophthalmologists is the largest membership association of eye doctors in the nation. Members benefit from continuing education seminars and the ability to consult on tricky cases. Education is the main initiative of the academy, and the annual meeting is a chance for researchers to present their findings and a means for doctors to learn new methods for patient care.
The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus is a membership organization seeking to provide excellent medical and surgical care for children and adults living with strabismus. Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes typically diagnosed in children. Although it can begin at any point during life, children are most commonly diagnosed with the condition. Strabismus is treated using patching, glasses, prisms and sometimes eye muscle surgery.
Shin is one of the premier strabismus eye doctors in the Atlanta area. His practice not only handles general eye issues, but he also regularly works with families and children to correct vision problems early in life. Another major vision problem in children that is often confused with strabismus is Amblyopia. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, occurs when one eye has reduced vision, and the brain shuts off signals from that eye leading to vision loss. If caught early, patching treatments can build up strength in the lazy eye, and then corrective lenses can help create clear vision. Brian Shin enjoys working with pediatric patients and continuing their care into adulthood.
Advances in ophthalmology are happening every day. Brian Shin hopes to stay on top of each new technology and give his clients the widest array of treatment options. Particularly for children, he is committed to using innovative tests to accurately diagnose and treat eye conditions and disorders.
In the coming years, Brian hopes to complete continuing education for laser eye surgery, so he can offer that service to his clients. By offering laser eye procedures, he can grow his business and reach a larger segment of the population.
Because Brian Shin recently paid off his entire student loan debt, he hopes to begin more extensive volunteering. He plans to take one month annually and travel internationally to perform eye exams and give glasses to children in third world countries. During the year, he collects old frames to take on his travels.
Domestically, he plans on offering free services one day each quarter. On these days, he will partner with inner-city clinics and give free eye exams and low-cost glasses to those without the means to pay. Shin believes that vision is one of the most important things a person can receive and is determined to give the gift of sight to those who need it. Looking back to his high school years and the doctor he shadowed, Brian Shin mentors high school students that live near his clinic in the hopes of inspiring another young student to pursue a career in ophthalmology.