By Ukti Vora, MBA, MOptom, FASCO (CO), FAAO, ABO-NCLE Certified, Host of the Nerdy Optometrist Podcast
In the dynamic realm of optometry, change is an inevitable force reshaping the landscape. As an experienced practicing optometrist in India, my transition to the U.S. marked a transformative period, presenting both challenges and unforeseen opportunities.
After moving to the U.S., I encountered the barrier of not being able to practice optometry without returning to school. The prospect of revisiting an entire program was daunting, both mentally and financially. Although my application for an advanced standing optometric program didn’t materialize, this setback became the catalyst for a profound shift in my career trajectory.
Opting to pursue an MBA while awaiting optometry school reapplication, I unexpectedly fell in love with the world of management. The allure of understanding the broader industry dynamics and driving transformative change fueled my fascination with management roles. My journey led me to a unique intersection–management roles in the relatively unexplored telehealth space.
Like many eye care professionals (ECPs), I was initially doubtful of telehealth. However, the COVID-19 pandemic propelled telehealth into the spotlight, and I witnessed its transformative power in revolutionizing eye care services. I not only sustained my work but also infused my optometry knowledge into developing new technologies and contributing to the advancement of eye care practices.
Beyond industry roles, my passion for community contribution found expression through podcasting. Accidentally introduced to this medium, I discovered its power to connect, inspire and foster personal and professional growth. By interviewing industry leaders who constantly pushed boundaries and reinvented themselves, I learned invaluable lessons. Through these experiences, a central theme emerged: change is inevitable, especially in health care.
FROM FOLLOWERS TO TRAILBLAZERS
Eye care, too, is undergoing a significant transformation fueled by technology. As practitioners, we must evolve from mere followers to trailblazers. The field beckons not just ECPs but innovators, influencers, chief optometric officers and entrepreneurs. There’s a vast untapped landscape in optometry and it’s time to look beyond traditional boundaries.
As ECPs, we must break free from myopic views and explore the untapped opportunities that lie beyond our conventional horizons. Let us collectively redefine our roles, becoming architects of change in the ever-evolving landscape of eye care. The future of optometry lies in our ability to adapt, innovate and lead. It’s a call to action for every optometrist to be at the forefront of change, navigating uncharted territories and shaping the future of eye care.
Ukti Vora was a 2023 Women in Optometry Theia Award recipient.
Hear her podcast on teleoptometry here.
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