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TOA Member Moments

2016 October - Bryan Roof, OD



Bryan Roof, OD

1.   Can you describe the moment you wanted to become an optometrist?

2.   What tips would you have for a recent graduate?

3.   Why would someone want to be a TOA member?

4.   What is the best part about being and optometrist?

5.   In your opinion, what does a successful optometrist look like?

6. BONUS: Tell us a funny moment you experienced as a student/new grad in optometry:

 

 

1.   Can you describe the moment you wanted to become an optometrist?

There wasn't truly a moment of epiphany for me, rather a number of things that aligned and put me on the track to become an optometrist. Probably the most significant contributing factor was as a middle and high school student watching my grandfather deal with a retinal detachment and repair and subsequent exudative age related macular degeneration. It was startling to see a family member go from being very active and independent to being unable to drive themselves in a manner of months. However, it did give me my first glimpse into how much an optometrist can impact a person as I was able to see how the low vision aids were able to allow my grandfather to continue in his career as an insurance broker, although without visiting his clients as much as before .

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2.   What tips would you have for a recent graduate?

Find a mentor. School can teach a great deal, but practicing in an academic setting is very different from practicing in a private or corporate setting. A mentor can help bridge the gap from seeing patients with an attending looking over your shoulder to seeing patients autonomously and making independent decisions regarding care. A mentor is often not where you expect, it doesn't only have to be someone that you turn to asking how to treat this case of glaucoma or how to use prism, it can simply be learning from the office manager of the practice you happen to be filling in at that day.

Learn everywhere. Having worked in private practice, corporate practice, locum tenens, and now owning a startup practice, you can learn from every location you practice at, even those that you only spend a day at.


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3.   Why would someone want to be a TOA member?

There are many different groups and forces at work that can have an impact on what we do as optometrists. Healthcare is an ever changing environment, and is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before. As a legislated profession, constant vigilance is necessary to ensure that we maintain our greatest asset, our ability to practice as independent health care professionals. As an individual, it is impossible to lobby the legislature or monitor every individual bill that goes through the House or Senate. TOA is there to do that, and to do that they need the support of every OD rather than just the few called to lobby for the profession. TOA membership is not just a club or a place to get CE from, it is safeguarding our ability bring great value in protecting our patients' eyes and keeping food on our children's table .

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4.   What's the best part about being an optometrist?

I appreciate being able to make a large impact on my patients' activities of daily life. Whether it is fitting a scleral lens on a patient with keratoconus to simply fitting someone with a pair of spectacles so that they can drive a car, I am able to make a small improvement in my patients' lives every day. It is easy, particularly for those of us that see relatively normal healthy patients, to forget that we have a huge impact on their quality of life .

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5.   In your opinion, what does a successful optometrist look like?;

It is difficult to define the look of a successful optometrist, because there is so much variation in how each and every OD practices. I would rather define a successful optometrist as someone who is able to impact their patients' lives in a positive fashion every day.


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BONUS: Tell us a funny moment you experienced as a student/ new graduate in optometry.

One thing that stands out was when I was working with a relatively new technician at a rural private practice. While competent at that point, she was still learning the equipment and occasionally needed help with something other than routine. She asked me between patients to help her with the AR/AK on a new patient, as she was unable to get any readings. Thinking nothing of it, and not really paying close attention, I simply start repeating the test, and was not getting a reading either. As I started to fiddle with the instrument, assuming something was malfunctioning, the patient asked if we were done with their glass eye yet, since they weren't too worried about seeing out of it. To this day I always look twice at the eyes before I start any testing just to make sure.