Following the Fellows features Dr. Jesse J. Jung

May 27, 2015, Following the Fellows

Catching up with Dr. Jesse J. Jung is not an easy thing to do. Dr. Jung is completing his fellowship at Edward S. Harkness Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Vitreous Retinal Macular Consultants of New York, and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital/Northshore LIJ within the next month and planning to start practicing retina in Oakland, California with the East Bay Retina Consultants, Inc. RetinaLink is pleased to feature Dr. Jung in our Following the Fellows series.

I asked Dr. William M. Schiff, Professor, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, who is one of Dr. Jung’s Attendings to comment on Dr. Jung regarding his work ethic and demeanor during his fellowship.

Dr. Schiff said, “Jesse has done an outstanding job over the past two years. He is really everything you could ever ask for in a fellow. He’s extremely intelligent, mature and ethical. And, he is a wonderful communicator, both with his colleagues and his patients. Dr. Jung is compassionate and cares deeply that patients be treated with the utmost respect and receive the best care possible.”

He continued by saying, “Jesse is both respectful and humble. And he is appreciative. He functioned impressively, and equally well as both a junior and senior fellow. He is an excellent surgeon and has very good judgment in the clinic and operating room. Jesse’s observational skills are where they should be. Jesse is appropriately serious when necessary, but he is a ton of fun to work with.”

Dr. Jung’s insightful answers are included below and he offers this sage wisdom to first and second year fellows… try to learn and enjoy every moment of fellowship.”

Where did you attend to Medical school?
Dr. Jung: I attended and completed by Medical School training at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA. After medical school, I completed my transitional internship year at Emory University School of Medicine and ophthalmology and chief residency at New York University School of Medicine/Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.

Why did you choose Retina versus another subspecialty?
Dr. Jung: I chose Retina due to the complexity of the surgical cases and interesting advances in imaging. Most of my research mentors and published research have centered around imaging, which I am interested in. Clinically, I enjoy the interaction that you have with patients in the Retina clinic. A majority of the patients require long-term care especially with the chronic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetes and you really get the opportunity to know these patients. There is a good balance between clinical care and surgical responsibilities in Retina.

What’s the biggest surprise, thus far, in your second year of Fellowship?
Dr. Jung: The biggest surprise in the second year of fellowship is the transition toward being more independent. With this independence, there is more responsibility not only from a clinical standpoint, but also academically. I feel that my patients, residents, Attendings and mentors expect more from me clinically, surgically and academically, and I enjoy this responsibility. Instead of feeling as if I am still a fellow, now I am treated more as a colleague, which is an eye-opening experience.

What’s your favorite small gauge platform? And why?
Dr. Jung: I have had the opportunity to use the ALCON® 27G system, which I find very useful in tough diabetic tractional retinal detachment cases especially when accessing space in close proximity to the retina, but in general, I am mostly using the 25G platform due to its accessibility at the institutions I operate at. I believe the new ALCON® 25G+ cutters with 7500 cpm are a great instrument that maintain great maneuverability and can be utilized for difficult cases. With the extra stability at the base of the cutter, I do not notice any issue with flexibility.

Is that different than what your Attending Physicians use during surgery?
Dr. Jung: Yes, a majority of my Attendings still use the ALCON® 23G platform for certain cases such as primary and complex detachments due to decreased flexibility of the shaft, bimanual instrumentation and easier use of passive elimination of perfluorocarbon and direct silicone oil exchanges. For macular and diabetic cases, they also use the 25G platform. I have had the opportunity to work with 20G, 23G, 25G and 27G with the variety of Attendings I work with. 

What is your surgical case volume?
Dr. Jung: Our fellowship case volume and quality of cases is quite good due to the diversity of patients and hospitals we operate at here in New York. Given that we cover several hospitals including Columbia, Northshore Long Island Jewish Hospital/Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, Lenox Hill and Bellevue Hospital, our fellows operate on a variety of cases including primary and complex proliferative vitreoretinopathy detachments, diabetic tractional detachments, trauma with intraocular foreign bodies, secondary intraocular lenses and macular cases. As of Spring of 2015, I have participated in over 650 cases, of which a majority are primary cases.

What is your favorite hand-held instrument and why?
Dr. Jung: My favorite surgical hand-held instrument is the ALCON® GRIESHABER® MAXGRIP® forceps. I find them very useful for multiple purposes including scleral fixating or iris fixating intraocular lenses and peeling in proliferative vitreoretinopathy and tractional retinal detachment cases.

What is your favorite place to vacation when you have a few days off?
Dr. Jung: Hong Kong. My in-laws live in Hong Kong and my wife was raised there so we try to go visit at least twice per year and love to go back to visit family, enjoy the food and activities.

What advice or guidance would you offer to the new Fellows starting their Fellowship in July?
Dr. Jung: Take your time when examining a patient, discussing diagnoses and surgery with a patient or resident and while operating; and try to learn and enjoy every moment of fellowship. Be observant and realize that even though you are not always in the drivers’ seat, learning to be a good assistant and observing your mentors in their clinical interactions and surgical techniques is very educational.

Good Luck Dr. Jung. RetinaLink wishes you the very best in your future endeavors.

Dr. Jesse Jung can be reached via e-mail at

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