By Isabelle Perello |

Entering the medical field is one of today’s most competitive career directions a person can take, as well as one of the longest paths of education. So how does one become Waco’s consecutively voted best eye doctor since 2010, as according to “The Wacoan?”

Dr. John Lui has been a comprehensive ophthalmologist, a doctor specializing in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of eyes, for almost 30 years. Listed as one of Texas Monthly’s “Super Doctors,” he has been working within Waco Eye Associates since 1987.

Growing up as the youngest of three in a family full of doctors, including a “tiger mom” pushing him to be his best, Dr. Lui began his search to determine what position he wanted to take in the medical field. Through considering aspects of his brother’s pulmonary oncologist’s career and the limited patient care involved with his sister’s radiologist work, Dr. Lui eventually decided on ophthalmology, falling in love with the “fun and intricate” patterns of eye surgery.

“I wanted to enjoy my life as well as my career,” Dr. Lui said.

With a career that’s financially and personally rewarding enough to have an average retirement age of 80, Dr. Lui has been able to explore activities outside of work to keep his mind and body active and, at age 40, he found martial arts.

Despite starting in the senior division for various martial arts competitions, Dr. Lui now holds a black belt in the art of Combat Hapkido, proving the life of an ophthalmologist can be much more exciting than meets the eye.

To those considering entering the ophthalmology field today, Dr. Lui’s advice is simple: work hard. Throughout his 15 years of working towards his successful medical career, Dr. Lui realized the value of standing out, such as doing extra research projects while in medical school and making sure he was consistently one of the top students among his classes.

“You have to make your presence known,” Dr. Lui emphasized.

Being such an experienced doctor in his field, Dr. Lui has seen firsthand the effects of increased screen usage amongst today’s millennials— on a college campus like Baylor, it’s common to see students utilizing their laptops, cell phones and tablets at any given opportunity.

But how does this ultimately affect their eyes that have been trained to stare at these close proximity screens for hours on end?

“Out of all the senses, vision is the most precious,” Dr. Lui said.

The importance of vision stands strong, making the preservation of good eyesight all the more crucial. When discussing how eyesight quality has been affected by increased screen usage, Dr. Lui has some good news for recently technology-dependent generations: there is no permanent or harmful damage to be found.

Instead, Dr. Lui explained that increased screen usage typically causes what is known as “computer fatigue.” Computer fatigue includes a range of symptoms such as dry eyes, which are caused by a decreased amount of blinking during intense screen concentration.

This leads to a lesser chance of sharp vision and a higher chance of becoming increasingly nearsighted as students continue to use their screens. Dr. Lui spoke from personal experience, as he had acquired a more nearsighted vision after long nights of studying during medical school.

While the symptoms of computer fatigue aren’t harmful for eye development in the long run, there are some preventative measures that can be taken to lessen the symptoms. Dr. Lui suggested for students to be wary of how long they are utilizing their screens, so it’s suggested to take breaks often when operating technology for a longer period of time.

To prevent nearsightedness, Dr. Lui advises students to try and apply “far-sighted vision” by taking walks outside and viewing distant sceneries. When actually interacting with screens, Dr. Lui encouraged students to try and keep their faces around 22-24 inches away from their phones or laptops in order to prevent eye straining.

After almost 30 years in the medical field, Dr. Lui has no regrets with his chosen career path. Throughout those years, Dr. Lui has seen many technological advancements created for the world of vision, such as sight restoration through cataract surgery.

He emphasized the rewarding feelings of his career, as he has been able to advise students on the dangers of screen usage and perform surgeries that can prevent symptoms of eye aging for older patients.

“I no longer have to tell people ‘sorry there’s nothing we can do,’” Dr. Lui said. “Because now, there is.”

Courtesy of Waco Eye Associates