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I Scream You Scream We All Scream for Healthy Vision
My love of ice cream is what initially got me to the profession of optometry. My father was a nurse orderly at a hospital in New Orleans, and as a kid, I used to wait for him to get off work in a place they called a cantina. Grownups in white coats and scrubs would come into the cantina and say, “Hey, you’re Mr. B’s son! Let me buy you some ice cream.” This went on for years, probably three to four times a week. One day I asked, “What type of job do you have that gives you all of this cash to buy ice cream?” They said, “We’re doctors.”
It was decided: I would become a doctor so I could buy unlimited ice cream for myself and all the kids waiting for their parents to get off work. With an end goal in sight, I focused on my math and science classes at school, not yet sure what type of doctor I wanted to be. I thought about which part of my body I would most want to fix if it were injured or damaged, and when I injured my eye in tenth grade, I had my answer. I wanted to fix people’s eyes and help them see.
After a journey that took me through optometry school, opening three practices that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, a stint in LASIK, and retinal imaging adjudication from multiple states, I landed in Texas, where I purchased the oldest practice in El Paso. Established in 1901, our practice sees four generations of patients, and many of the staff have been here for 30+ years!
Despite our solid reputation in town, we work hard to market the practice and keep it modern and relevant. Being part of VSP Premier Edge gives us extra exposure and validation when patients are looking for an OD and helps set us apart from other practices in the area. We also leverage Premier Edge Training and Education to train new hires and keep seasoned employees up-to-date, and Premier Edge Marketing Support to get the word out about our amazing practice. With our generationally diverse patient base, we appreciate and benefit from these resources to help us reach all the generations we see.
I’m so grateful to be back in private practice, with the freedom to extend my patient care and amplify my role in patients’ overall health. Using the latest technology provides a comprehensive picture of a patient’s visual health, and I take extra time to educate my patients about their vision so they can make informed decisions and have better outcomes. Plus, our ability as ODs to see ocular manifestations of significant systemic issues gives us a front row seat to their overall health, providing a unique and impactful opportunity to facilitate their overall care.
Did I achieve my lifelong dream to provide ice cream for the masses? As Eye See It, I did one better. Not only did we partner with a local ice cream shop to write “prescriptions” for our young patients to get ice cream after their office visits, but my life- and business-partner, Regina,* and I built a friendly, welcoming practice where all who come know they’ll be taken care of. I’m proud to be one of the authors of that environment—in fact, just last night I had a cup of ice cream to celebrate.
*Stay tuned to As Eye See It to hear from Regina, our practice operations manager, aka “Miss Everything.”