Last year during a community outreach event in Chester Pennsylvania, we had the opportunity to chat with fourth-year optometry students about what inspired them to pursue a career in optometry.
Some were inspired by the stories of their families and friends. Courtney Goode shared why she is passionate about helping those with low vision.
“I chose optometry because my grandmother has a very rare eye disease, and I wanted to be able to help people see. I’m very interested in low vision. I love helping the patients here in the Philadelphia area,” said Goode.
Through a care training rotation, Goode is already working with patients with low vision. “Working in the low vision clinic is definitely a very rewarding experience. You get to help patients get back to their normal, day-to-day activities.”
Similarly, Manpreet Ghuman s interest in optometry was also sparked by a close family member, her grandfather’s battle with glaucoma.
“I have a family history of glaucoma, and my grandfather couldn’t speak English. So, when he would go to the doctor, my dad would do his best to help translate. Sometimes he didn’t understand why they were doing various tests, so he’d come home and tell me what happened. I’d then go online and research it, which piqued my interest in the whole field.”
Others have had a long-held interest in optometry that goes back to childhood. Dana Nelson shares how her first pair of glasses helped shape her career path.
“I’ve been going to the eye doctor since I was nine years old, and I’ll never forget my first pair of glasses and how it made a huge difference in my life. I always wanted to make that difference in other people’s lives, so I chose to be an optometrist at 14. It’s perfect!”
Emily Weaver also spent her childhood in and out of the optometry office, but not just as a patient…
“My dad is an optometrist, and my grandfather is as well, so I guess it’s just in the blood. I grew up running around my dad’s practice as a little girl. I really love what he does there, so I figured, ‘Why not?’”
Evelyn Dearing was initially inspired by her mom and love for science. As she dove further into optometry, her passion for helping others continued to serve as her motivation.
“I have always liked biology, so I went to school, got a degree in biology and started working for an optometrist in my Junior year of college,” Dearing said. As a contact lens technician in an optometry practice, she recalls how it felt to help a young boy with his first pair of contact lenses.
“I can remember having one patient in particular who was a little boy who was a –12 [an extremely strong vision correction prescription] at the age of eight, and he didn’t know that the world was clearer than what he had been seeing. So, I was able to teach him how to put contacts in,” said Dearing. “Vision is something that people take for granted, and to be able to improve the quality of life for people by helping them see better is why I’m here.”
Other students held a similar sentiment around the importance of helping people see clearly. Whitney Crosby shares her delight in helping patients regain some of their independence. “You see a lot of people that have really profound vision loss, and to be able to help them even a little bit is amazing is rewarding.”
While each of the optometry students has followed their own path, they are united by their desire to help people see their world a little bit clearer.
Are you seeing your world clearly? If you don’t have vision insurance, get the coverage you need with a VSP Individual Vision Plan . Plans cover an annual exam, glasses and/or contact lenses, and more.
Already have vision insurance? Make sure you’re seeing your best by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam at an eye doctor near you.