The following is part of an ongoing series of interviews with New England College of Optometry alumni presented by the Office of Alumni Relations. This month’s installation features Jaclyn Garlich, OD ‘10.
Take all the advice you can get and ask a lot of questions. You’ll find that your colleagues all treat things differently. Ask why they do what they do – you’ll learn so much!
Where are you currently living/practicing? Dr. Garlich: I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and work at an OD/MD group practice.
How have you kept in contact with fellow NECO alumni? Dr. Garlich: I feel very lucky to have met some of my best friends at NECO. We keep in contact almost daily with a group text. We ask each other questions about difficult cases or just send a text to say hello. They are my lifelines during the day when I need help! I also serve as a Regional Delegate on NECO’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Why were you drawn to a career in optometry? Dr. Garlich: When I was living in Central America, I volunteered at an eye clinic. I really enjoyed talking with patients and felt the doctors could make a drastic and somewhat immediate change in someone’s life with glasses or contacts. It seemed like a career that would be rewarding so I pursued it.
Please share some of your professional achievements. Dr. Garlich: After residency I obtained my fellowship. In 2013, I worked with a friend to create an iPhone optometry app available in the Apple app store. It was a work in progress that started in optometry school as a cheat sheet for clinic and developed into something more mobile. I had a good time creating it! Most recently, I launched 2020glance.com, an e-newsletter delivered every Monday morning that gives a rundown on clinically relevant optometry news for the past week.
What was your most rewarding patient encounter in the past year? Dr. Garlich: I had a 19-year-old female, involved in a car accident, who had bilateral ruptured globes. She lost sight in her left eye and was aphakic in her right eye with terrible corneal scarring. She was seeing 20/200 with her glasses. She came to me for a contact lens evaluation to see if I could improve her vision. I put a scleral lens on her and she immediately started crying and said “I can see!” She was able to see 20/25 with the scleral lens. I still get goose bumps thinking about it. It was by far the most rewarding thing that has happened in my career.
Fast forward 5-10 years. What are some of your professional goals? Dr. Garlich: I would like to be more involved with optometry nonprofits helping underserved populations.
What advice would you like to pass on to NECO students and recent graduates? Dr. Garlich: Take all the advice you can get and ask a lot of questions. You’ll find that your colleagues all treat things differently. Ask why they do what they do – you’ll learn somuch!
In Their Own Words, is a series of interviews with NECO alumni presented by the Office of Alumni Relations. If you are interested in being featured, please contact Margery Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org.