Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why I became an Optometrist

I get this question at least once a week from my patients, so I thought this might be an appropriate medium to share. If you are looking for more eye care tips and info, look forward to next Month’s article on Dry Eye Syndrome.

I will approach this chronologically:

Examples of color deficiency. Dr. N sees the fruit on the right side.
Kindergarten: My memory is somewhat spotty, but I recall becoming upset when my Kindergarten teacher informed me that the grapes (as in the fruit) I was coloring were supposed to be purple, not blue. This is when my family discovered that I was Color Deficient. Around 1-2% of the general male population shares this trait. The world still appears very colorful to color deficient people like myself, we simply “confuse” a few colors. The only real-world limitation individuals like myself have is the inability to obtain a pilot’s license for night flying, and perhaps we are not the best at matching ties and shirts.

Notice the bulge on the right eye
First Grade:
I can recall a visit to a corneal specialist with my cousin that has a condition called Keratoconus and another common condition (that may have been related in this case) called Amblyopia. I remember being fascinated by all of the fancy equipment around the office and the concept of glasses and wearing an eye patch.

Second Grade: My own eyes had apparently changed very quickly. I had been able to see 20/20 the year before, but was unable to see the “big E” during our school’s annual vision screening in the school nurse’s office. I remember the nurse thinking that I was malingering, or pretending to not see. I can still vividly remember how clear everything was once I got my first pair of glasses later that week.

Contact Lenses are very popular in Middle School
3rd Grade through early College: I always looked forward to my eye exams, just being fascinated with gadgets, technology, and healthcare in general. Getting contact lenses the first time in 7th Grade was quite memorable as well. My correction is relatively high (approximately -6.50 diopters presently in both eyes for those that understand those numbers), and contacts seemed worlds better than “thick glasses” in those very self-conscious years.

Mid College: I was pursuing my Pre-Med requisites at the University of Kansas, and was visiting and interviewing at various Medical Schools around the country. I had a chance run-in with an old acquaintance at a graduation party that was about to start the Optometry program at Indiana University that coming Fall. I came to visit and fell in love with the University and the Optometry program. This individual, by the way, is Dr. Andrew Bateman who has a wonderful private practice back in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska.

My Doctoral studies proved that the eye and visual system are much more complex than I ever imagined. I became focused on primary care and early ocular disease intervention that involves lots of technology and specialty imaging systems.

A few years back, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and getting to know Dr. Jerome Agrest, the founder of what would eventually become Carillon Vision Care. Dr. Agrest and the wonderful staff already established at Carillon have ultimately brought me to where I stand today.

But that is a story for another time. Thanks for reading. -Dr. N.


  1. Thanks for your story. I'm looking to become an optometrist in Victoria BC in a couple years. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks for all the great advice. I want to become a optometrist in Calgary but I'm not sure how I'll handle the schooling. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. There are natural ways to improve your vision such as eating healthy foods with vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight and foods abundant in sulfur, cysteine, and also lecithin help to protect lens of your respective vision from cataract creation. Outstanding options consist of garlic clove, let's eat some onions, shallots, and also capers. It's really a big advantage to visit a reliable optometrist for your eye infections.

    eye exam chapin sc

  4. Doing business at Toowoomba Optometrists is easy, convenient, hassle-free and fun.

  5. I love the looks I can get with this. It's a definite Iink is Eyelastin. already know which is my favorite and it surprised me - the <a winner. Of course the whole box is great.

  6. It is important to visit a Edmonton optometrist pretty quick if you notice any of these anomalies.

  7. I know one of great website about Eyelastin to know more

  8. I really wish that My child will become an optometrist in the future too! Your story made me inspire Dr. Andrew, thanks for posting!

    Manhattan eye doctors

  9. Thanks for the great information. I might be in need of an Maxolip Can you suggest any? Thanks.

  10. I definitely visit this blog to know more about eye care tips, I recently visited my Doctor from Eye doctors East Side NY and everything is OK, I just wanna make sure that I have maintained my healthy eyes and vision.

  11. It's always great to see someone with a passion for what they do. My friend sees an optometrist in Victoria, BC, he says they're great.

  12. I had great eyes as a kid too. Now, my eyes are pretty bad. I hate the thought of being blind. I would miss color.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I've been thinking about going to school to be an optometrist. I just find eyes to be so fascinating. I don't know what it is about them, but I feel like they're gateways into your soul. How would you say your schooling went in terms of difficulty?