Cincinnati Eye Institute: Dr. Mary Beth Yackey

Dr. Mary Beth Yackey knew she was destined to become an eye doctor. When she was in 4th grade, her young cousin was misdiagnosed with retinoblastoma. Only after the two-year-old had his eye surgically removed did the family learn that it wasn’t cancer—it was a retinal disease called Coats’ disease. As a child, her dream was to design a prosthetic eye that would enable her cousin to restore his full vision. From that moment, Dr. Yackey made it her mission to work to cure and treat eye diseases.

As a professional optometrist with the Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI), Dr. Yackey is a member of the vitreoretinal team. She has been with CEI for the past 13 years, and in her time there, has helped to advance the profession forward in many ways. Most recently, Dr. Yackey has worked closely with design engineers to help create examination tools to improve patient care.

Dr. Yackey’s dedication to patient care is reflected in her ongoing enthusiasm for developments in the medical field of optometry. Specifically, Dr. Yackey is encouraged by how often she feels the professional challenge of coming up with an innovative solution for a patient or tackling a perplexing condition. Dr. Yackey works closely with patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration and the onset of blindness due to diabetes, and she regularly monitors and—when possible—gets involved in leading technologies to better improve the lives of those patients. Through CEI, Dr. Yackey has access to leading treatments like injections for wet macular degeneration, and she is proud of the fact that CEI created its own internal pharmacy to create and provide injections on-site at the Blue Ash campus. Recently, Dr. Yackey actively recruits patients for retina, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy clinical trials.

Outside of her contributions to the medical field and her patients, Dr. Yackey is highly involved in the community. This year, she was appointed to the Ohio Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees. As part of the organization, Dr. Yackey helps to protect all citizens’ rights to eye care, including efforts to repeal the sales tax on prescription eyewear that impacts lower-income families from buying correct eye glasses as well as ensuring that eye exams for children are made mandatory, which will help diagnose children with vision issues. Currently, it is common for children to be assessed as having behavioral or learning issues when, in fact, the root of the problem is vision and not being able to see the board or the lesson books clearly. Dr. Yackey is also on the board of Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a local organization that is one of the largest producers of Braille products in Northern America.

Dr. Yackey and her husband, Kyle, have two children: Carson, 11 years old, and Kiera, 10 years old. She welcomes new patients, and she encourages individuals who think they may be suffering from eye diseases like cataract, diabetes, macula-related conditions, vascular disease of the retina, or patients who are looking for urgent eye care.

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