When Waters Rise: Dr. Jay Pravda’s Story

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At 68 years old, with 42 years invested into a job you love, for many, retirement is the next stage in life. But what happens when a disaster hits and you’re suddenly faced with the idea of “starting over?”

For Dr. Jay Pravda—better known as Dr. Jay—this became a devastating reality in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey. An optometrist and longtime member of the Humble-Kingwood, Texas community, both his home and practice were destroyed during the floods.

Evacuated from his home, and unable to access his heavily flooded practice for weeks, we met Dr. Jay on board a VSP Global Eyes of Hope mobile clinic in at the NRG Center in Houston, Texas,  where personal losses aside, he continued to dedicate his time to providing eye care and eyewear to others whose lives were also affected by floods.

Dr. Jay Pravda is one of 25 VSP network doctors who were severely affected by the floods from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In support of Dr. Jay, and other VSP network doctors and community members affected by the hurricanes, VSP Global has committed up to $5 million dollars though relief program assistance. This includes helping VSP network doctors, whose businesses have been damaged, return to providing eye care and eyewear in their communities.

Moved by Dr. Pravda’s story, and his commitment to continue helping people in his community, we sat down with him to learn more about his life’s work, his experiences when the waters rose, and his hopes for what the future might hold.

Here’s his story.

This is a guest post by VSP employee Ryan W. 


  • […] In addition to providing disaster relief gift certificates, VSP Global employees traveled with Eyes of Hope mobile eye care clinics to Houston to create access to VSP network doctors who provided no-cost eye care and eyewear to people who lost or damaged their glasses during the hurricane. Many of those doctors were also personally impacted, including Jay Pravda, OD, who lost his practice when the waters rose but still dedicated his time to helping his community recover. Hear his story. […]

  • Bonnie Pravda says:

    This is so emotional to watch about my husband Jay. He’s such a good man! Is there a way to put this video on one of our local tv channels? The video does the devastation that has affected not just Jay but so many!

  • Steve L. Epp says:

    We were wiped out by the May 20, 2013, tornado in Moore, OK, and this is the first I’d ever read of VSP help, or coverage thru employers after retirement!

  • SS says:

    Have been a patient of Dr. Pravda for almost 25 years. He is an awesome optometrist and person. Sincere appreciation for him, his wife and staff.

  • Michelle Reyes says:

    Hello all and Dr Jay. I am barely reading this and want to say I love you and your staff. I will keep coming to you cause you are the best, have always shown care and laughs whenever I come for my visits. I wish you, your wife and staff all the best. I pray for lots of peace and love to y’all 🙂

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