IU School of Medicine-trained physician Charline Boente, MD, didn’t always have her sight set on a career in medicine. After receiving both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering, she moved cross-country to work as engineer at a large wastewater system in California before deciding to pursue her medical degree. Now, an assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at IU School of Medicine and practicing ophthalmologist at Riley Children’s Hospital, Dr. Boente is working to improve the lives of little ones through pediatric ophthalmology. Read more about Dr. Boente in this Q&A:
BS/MS: Tufts University (Medford, MA)
Medical School: University of Illinois College of Medicine (Chicago, IL)
Transitional Year: University Hospitals – Case Western University (Cleveland, OH)
Residency: University Hospitals – Case Western University (Cleveland, OH)
Fellowship: Indiana University School of Medicine
What made you want to become an ophthalmologist?
I was initially drawn to how instantly gratifying many of the treatments and surgeries can be in ophthalmology, as well as how the physical exam is so visual and objective. Ophthalmology is also the best combination of surgery, procedures and clinic.
Why did you chose pediatrics as a sub-specialty?
I always wanted to pursue a sub-specialty in pediatrics, so even before I started my residency in ophthalmology, I had my eyes set on pediatric ophthalmology. I like the focus on systemic disease in pediatric ophthalmology, as well as the wide diversity of conditions we encounter, ranging from eye glasses to tumors, to cataracts to glaucoma.
Are you currently involved in research? If so, what are your areas of focus and do you have any studies currently underway?
I am in the early stages of participating in clinical trials under an NIH-funded national clinical research network called the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG). The two PEDIG studies I am currently involved in focus on retinopathy of prematurity and intermittent exotropia. This is an exciting network, as so many of the previous study results have essentially translated to standard of care treatment for things we see on a daily basis in pediatric ophthalmology, such as amblyopia, strabismus and cataracts.
Why did you choose to become a part of the faculty at IU School of Medicine and the Glick Eye Institute?
I had such an enjoyable and fun training experience during my fellowship training here at IU School of Medicine with a great group of mentors. Also, the Department of Ophthalmology has a rich history with a long list of renowned alumni that makes the school such a special place, so I’ve been very fortunate to continue working as part of this group.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests?
When I’m not in clinic, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two young children.
How has your former career as an engineer translated into your career as an ophthalmologist?
My undergraduate and graduate school degrees were in environmental engineering, and I worked as an engineer on a large wastewater system in California prior to entering medical school. I have found that my engineering background has translated well to many of the objective and technical aspects of ophthalmology.