DR. ANNA CLARK: An optometrist is an optometric physician who specializes in really a wide variety of eye care. We really kind of are the gatekeepers. We pretty much handle anything that comes through the door from something minor, like maybe a little red eye, or just anybody with a little blur who needs new glasses, contact lenses, to things more complex; loss of vision, patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes. They really are kind of the gatekeepers who handle all of that. That’s primarily what we do. An optometrist’s typical patient is someone coming in for a yearly eye exam to check the health of their eyes, as well as check their vision, and decide if they need an update in their glasses, maybe if they are interested in contacts. A lot of times here in this community, we also deal with a lot of ocular diseases. So, I really do handle quite a bit, primarily glaucoma and macular degeneration by most of my patients. In this area, I generally see patients between the ages of 60 and upwards in the middle of their 90’s who are coming in to make sure that their eyes are still healthy. Most of my patients, their primary concern as they age, really is their eye health. So, I get to help them feel confident that their eyes are healthy. Or if something’s going wrong, that I am going to be the first to catch it and make sure that we do what is needed. When patients feel like something is going wrong with their vision, I really try to make every effort to explain it to them, to the point where they can really understand. We actually have modules on our computer of eyes where I am able to point out exactly what is going on, where it is going on, and make sure to answer all of their questions; to the point where they really understand and feel comfortable with what we found that day and what needs to be done. It is a wonderful career to be involved with. Being able to help people with their vision. When they start to feel at ease, that if they are having a problem, that it is going to be taken care of. They smile and say “thank you so much for helping me.” A lot of times, I am the first person who really listened to what their actual problem was. There is really nothing better than having that opportunity to help somebody in that way. I actually had two patients just this week, both of them were in their 90’s. One of them, at the end of the exam said “give me a hug”. And the other one said “give me a kiss”. I definitely feel, at the end of the exam, that it is so great that to feel appreciated that you really did do something that made them feel happy and comfortable and you addressed their concerns. It is a wonderful feeling. Working in this office has kind of been a perfect fit for me. It is everything I really wanted was to work in private practice. To be able to work with this population, more of the geriatric population. People are a little more complex. Eye disorders was definitely something I always wanted to get involved with. Working in this practice, I am able to do all of that, and work with a surgeon who is very talented. It is perfect. I could not have asked for more.