I can’t believe how fast 2019 has flown by and how quickly 2020 is approaching. I'm ready for a fun year filled with eye and vision-related memes and corny 20/20 jokes. I hope you are too!
2019 Rewind–The Highlights
ModernEyes Eyecare + Eyewear had a great 2019. We were able to serve over 1,100 people at the office. We donated $465 to flood relief thanks to exams, glasses, and contact lenses purchased during the two weeks following the spring flooding. I served as the Lead Optometrist for the OneSight Indonesia clinic in October that provided exams and glasses to just shy of 1,600 people. We also gifted items for raffles for several local schools and donated to Fun Run fundraising for Reeder Elementary. I have also joined several committees within the Nebraska Optometric Association to work toward enhanced eye and vision care for kids and those in need as well as giving feedback and ideas for improved continuing education opportunities for both optometrists and optometric staff. We brought in a new piece of technology that allows us to take pictures of the inside of the eye (without the need for dilating drops in many cases) to compare your eye health year or over year, and so far patients have been loving it! We've increased our staff size to myself and three full-time staff, and added appointment slots on Fridays (by popular damand) to better serve you. It’s been busy, but we wouldn't have it any other way!
Hindsight Might Be 20/20, But We're Striving For Our Foresight to Be 20/20 as Well!
For 2020, ModernEyes Eyecare + Eyewear is looking forward to continued growth and exam opportunities. We are working to bring you the best optometry and optical experience through thorough, personal eye exams utilizing the latest technology and standards of care, high quality eye glasses including specialty lenses like those for migraines, colorblindness, shooting, etc., and offering both traditional and specialty contact lens fittings for all ages. I'm dreaming big for 2020 and would like to share some of my goals for my professional growth and for the office:
1. Giving Back
I'm passionate about giving back to the community where I live, work, and play. I'm working with a couple of organizations to achieve this. OneSight has asked me to serve as the Lead Optometrist on the Tohono O'odham Native American Reservation in April and to return as the Lead Optometrist to Makassar, Indonesia in October. But to bring it back local, I and some of the founding members of Give Sight Global are working on developing a network of charitable eye exams and glasses. If all goes well, we will launch in the Omaha area and hope to expand to the state and national levels with time. Another organization we are partnering with is Made New Makerspace that doesn't work in eyecare but is working to bring hope and help to foster kids and other at-risk youth. We are working on a really cool 3D printing art project for the office and are sponsoring parts of upcoming code camps they're offering. We can’t wait to share that with you when we have more information.
2. Personal Development
I am pursuing my Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, which is an additional certification above and beyond a normal Doctorate of Optometry degree. It requires completion of at least 5 case studies and associated research review and passing an oral examination administered by a panel of other Fellows. Upon completing the FAAO, I will be required to complete additional continuing education hours above and beyond what is required by the State of Nebraska Board of Optometry to maintain my license. It also opens the opportunity for me to share my passion for eye care, eye wear and the business aspects of optometry with optometry students on their externships during their last year of optometry school.
3. Education for Optometric Support Staff
I would like to begin speaking and educating opticians and paraoptometric technicians to help others grow in their occupation. I have unique experience compared to most doctors, I was an American Board of Opticianry certified optician during my undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, then I worked in the Southern College of Optometry lab as a lab technician where I learned how to cut and edge lenses for glasses, and then completing my Doctorate of Optometry degree and opening my own office. This career track gives me the ability to provide insight and practical suggestions as a result of hands-on experience in all aspects of the eye care and optical world. I would love to share that insight with others to help strengthen our industry as a whole!
I have steadily become more involved with the Nebraska Optometric Association since completing the NOA Leadership Institute program in the fall of 2018. I hope to help the organization with advancing requirements for children's vision and scope of practice laws to allow optometrists in Nebraska to do more of the procedures we are trained on in optometry school that are currently only allowed to be performed by ophthalmologists. While it's frustrating that I can't use all of my training from optometry school in practice, it doesn't limit patients in Omaha as much as it does in rural Nebraska. In parts of our state, patients have to travel for hours to see an ophthalmologist to have a very straight-forward, low-risk procedure (such as draining a chalazion aka "stye") that most optometrists would feel very comfortable addressing in their own office which is often much closer and more convenient, not to mention less costly for the patient. Ultimately, the goal of these legal changes are to improve care while lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients, which I would challenge all areas of the medical field to continue to pursue! Fun fact that many people don’t know: every state has their own laws for what optometrists can and cannot do in practice, even though they take and must pass a national set of boards to practice.
Since we are talking about 20/20…
I get asked at least once a day what someone's "twenty-over number" is. In case you didn't know, I'll explain here! It's easiest to use a "not-perfect vision" number for the sake of illustration. First, each eye gets its own 20/xx number; it is not comparing one eye to the other. The designation of 20/20 is considered normal vision and often incorrectly referenced as "perfect vision;" however, the eye is physically capable of seeing as well as 20/7. Let's say someone's eye is 20/400. That means someone with 20/400 vision must stand at 20 feet to see something that someone with "normal" 20/20 vision can stand at 400 feet to see. So, prior to having LASIK 4 years ago, I was 20/2500, which means I would have to stand 20 feet away from an object to see it equivilantly to what a "normal" 20/20 sighted person could stand almost a half-mile away and see similarly to my vision. Crazy huh?! Being "legally blind without glasses" is another huge misnomer, but we will save that for another day.