“So…why do you like eyes so much?”

group of students in formal attire standing

“So…why do you like eyes so much?”

Visiting family can be a wonderful time to relax a little, eat amazing homemade food, and of course, catch up with relatives.

This is simultaneously a great time to see your loved ones, and have to answer harder question than you get in your optometry school interviews. Besides getting the classics, “Remind me, what exactly is optometry??” and “So you’re gonna do surgery on eyes??” I’ve found one of the most popular questions I get about my choice of profession is “What made you decide to study eyes?”.

For me, optometry was never something I considered. I mean to be perfectly honest, I didn’t know anything about the career or what it entailed. All I knew is I would see my optometrist every year, she would ask “better 1 or 2?”, tell me if my prescription changed, and send me on my way. It was always a very positive interaction for me, and I looked forward to my eye appointments much more than my annual teeth cleanings or physicals.

I like caring for patients and cultivating relationships

It wasn’t until I was entering into my senior year of college, my optometrist asked me if I would like to come shadow her for a day. I was hesitant, because at that point I had shadowed with dentists, physician assistants and MD’s and nothing really seemed to be clicking for me. I decided to go and shadow her and I never looked back. I learned very quickly that optometry is so much more than just looking at peoples’ eyes; it’s caring for a patient and cultivating relationships. I knew instantly it was what I saw myself doing, and now being able to live it out here at NECO has been a dream.

“Eyes are super cool”

Everyone has a different story as to why they got into the profession. I enjoy asking my doctors about it, but now that I have colleagues, I figured I would ask a few of them what exactly brought them into the optometry world. I talked to my classmate Carly Stevens, who said she “Wanted to be able to help people, but didn’t want the heaviness that comes along with being an MD.” I think this was an excellent point made by her, seeing as how as optometrists we don’t have to deal with surgeries or diagnosing life threatening diseases (in most cases).

For some it’s just plain interest in the subject, like OD1 Chris Vissicchio, who really thinks “eyes are super cool!”. Which, I must agree with, especially after starting to look at them under the slit lamp.

Job stability is appealing and so is connecting to patients

Job stability and the current need for optometrists is a draw to the profession as well, along with the very social aspect of the job. “I love getting to know people, and optometry is the only medical profession that allows you to connect with your patients while also providing care” says first year Nistha Jaki, who is truly one of the most personable people in our class.

We support each other and have fun too

Optometry school isn’t exactly the easiest gig, but it’s important to keep your end goals in mind throughout the process. It’s comforting to talk to my classmates who are happy to help each other, as we all have the same inspiration guiding us through these challenging and rewarding four years. Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration for an answer to your aunt’s questions for the next holiday season.