This month, we’re continuing to highlight our staff and doctors on social media so you can get to know us better. Enjoy today’s Q&A session with Dr. Karen Lee who has been a loyal team member since 2012. We met her when she joined our team as an optometric assistant in 2012 during her summer off from optometry school at the University of Waterloo and welcomed her as a doctor in 2015.
What attracted you to become an optometrist?
I’ve always had an interest in healthcare, but it wasn’t until I worked as a receptionist at an eye clinic did I become truly attracted to optometry. This experience was eye-opening as I began to realize that the scope of optometry extends beyond just prescribing glasses and contact lenses. The role of an optometrist is essentially like a family doctor for the eyes.
What do you think makes a good doctor?
A good doctor is competent and is someone who is able to build rapport with patients. Good listening skills, bedside manner and ability to explain things in simple terms help doctors build rapport.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I just love the feeling whenever a patient says “wow” when I was able to help improve their vision or symptoms. Their act of appreciation continuously fuels my passion for what I do at work.
How would you describe the lifestyle of an optometrist in terms of work-life balance?
Most optometrists work on a pretty standard 9-5 schedule and would have at least 1 weekday and Sundays off. It is rare for an optometrist to be on call. Having a weekday off is great for running errands when places are less busy. This type of schedule also allows plenty of time for family and friends on weeknights and weekends.
What are some important things to look for in an optometry school?
Clinical experience is very important in helping optometry students gain confidence through their experiences with real life patients. Choosing a school with a clinic that sees many different types of patients allows for a more well-rounded experience. Each school also offers different residency programs and the residency program that is offered will reflect what the school is known for. The tuition and the cost of living (especially if relocation is necessary) are important for consideration as well.
Any advice for undergrad students?
For undergrad students who are considering pursuing optometry, I highly recommend getting some sort of experience in the field, whether it is through shadowing, working, or interning at an eye clinic. It is also a great idea to join a pre-optometry club and get to know other students who are also on their journey to optometry school.
What is the best part of your day?
Aside from my passion for eyes/vision, I also have a passion for eating. So, of course, the best part of my day would be meal times, a time when I can enjoy food with great company. I recently tried a couple of places I highly recommend, Shin Ka Gyuu (an all-you-can-eat wagyu beef restaurant) and Le Tigre food truck.
What is one thing you want people to know about Avenue Eyecare?
Good patient education is one of our top priorities at Avenue Eyecare. We do this by investing in specialized equipment, allotting enough time to go through findings/photos, and answering any additional questions from patients.