Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I do all the preoperative and postoperative care in the clinic and may see 14 to 18 pre-operative patients and 20 post-operative patients per day. About 20 percent of pre-operative patients are not good candidates for surgery if their corneas are too thin or their prescriptions are outside the parameters of what we can treat with lasers. The preoperative exam is very extensive. Post-operatively, I see them a minimum of three times.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger health care picture?
A: Patients come to their optometrists for solutions when their vision is blurry. Many have undiagnosed diabetes or high blood pressure. In some cases, I'm the first doctor to say, I'm seeing these things. The eye can tell you a lot about your whole body.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with the staff, including technicians who do patient work-ups; administrative staff; a center director who is like an office manager. I also work with two surgeons, and a student from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.
Q: Why did you become an optometrist?
A: I had focusing issues when I was really young and had to wear glasses. I'd always had experiences with the eye care field and I always knew I wanted to go health care, but I didn't' know what avenue. The optometrist's instruments intrigued me. I shadowed an optometrist in high school and in college I decided to go into it.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: I like the specialty of it, the surgical aspect of it. I've developed a really good ability to counsel patients who aren't healing as well as they thought they would. It's working with them to understand it's a surgical procedure.