This month we’re wrapping up our staff highlights with a Q&A session with Dr. Jessica Chang. She opened Avenue Eyecare in 2011 and has led its evolution over the years. Enjoy!
What attracted you to become an optometrist?
I was introduced to optometry at a very young age when I got my first pair of glasses in grade 2. Over the years I had seen several optometrists regularly, some were very friendly while others were quite intimidating. I decided to become an optometrist to make eye exams an enjoyable stress-free experience, especially for kids.
What do you think makes a good doctor?
I believe a good doctor is someone who enjoys learning and keeping up to date with our exciting and changing industry. What you learn when you graduate is just the tip of the iceberg. Most importantly, a good doctor is someone who cares and listens. It’s a privilege that someone chose you to do their eye exam, they deserve your care and attention.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
There are so many different aspects of optometry that are rewarding. If I had to choose one, it would be seeing how our profession can make a difference in someone’s quality of life. It can be as simple as educating someone about polarized prescription sunglasses so they can enjoy their time outdoors or treating complicated dry eye symptoms so a patient can enjoy their hobbies and feel more comfortable.
How would you describe the lifestyle of an optometrist in terms of work-life balance?
Optometry offers a great work-life balance with its regular hours and flexibility with how many days you’d like to take on for patient care. Being a practice owner definitely adds a different kind of workload, but we’ll save that conversation for another day.
What are some important things to look for in an optometry school?
There are many considerations when looking into an optometry school, here are my top 5: 1) Class size- Do you prefer having the chance to meet more people or have closer relationships with fewer people? 2) Special interests- If you know you have a special interest in certain aspects of optometry, find a school that is strong in those areas (e.g. vision therapy or specialty contacts) 3) Environment- What climate/city suits you? 4) School type- Do prefer a school that is part of a larger campus with other programs or a smaller private optometry school? 5) Clinical education- look into how many patients you’ll get to see during your practicum and ensure the school has externship sites that suit your interests
Any advice for undergrad students?
If you’re looking into optometry as career, spend the time volunteering in the industry. Look into volunteering at an optometry clinic, pre-optometry clubs, CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), VOSH/TWECS (organizations involved with 3rd world eyecare missions), etc…
What is the best part of your day?
I’m not a morning person, so I would say I look forward to winding down my day. When everything is done and I can settle down and read a few books with my son before he sleeps, I can’t wait to do it again the next evening.
What is one thing you want people to know about Avenue Eyecare?
An increasing number of patients are suffering from dry eyes and childhood myopia. These areas of practice are changing quickly as more research continues to be done around the world. We’re committed to helping these patients by investing in new technology to help educate, diagnose, treat, and manage these conditions.