Shelburne optometrist believes ECPs should treat every patient as their first

By David Goldberg 


Optometrist Dr. John Raji says his philosophy is to “treat every patient as your first.”

“Right out of school, you want to do your absolute best. You want to run every test, ensure no stone is unturned and that the patient receives the best care possible. We should continue to display that same zeal and passion for every patient throughout our careers,” says Raji, who has been practicing for just over two years at Shelburne Optometry in southwestern Ontario.

Becoming an eye care professional wasn’t always Raji’s goal in life.

The eager undergrad studied health sciences at McMaster University and shadowed professionals in different fields of medicine.

However, in the end, it was the eye doctor in which he most identified. 

“I shadowed a family physician, a dentist and an optometrist. I enjoyed the optometrist the most because they seemed to have a personal connection with their patients.”

Raji says he was hooked by his second week of optometry school and he still carries that same passion.

“I know my patients beyond their eyes. Really getting to know their systemic health, their profession and chosen lifestyle, I’m better able to help adjust their perspective and vision.”

So how did Raji know he made the right career choice?

It was the first time he detected multiple sclerosis in a patient during a routine eye exam. 

“I put a big emphasis on comprehensive eye care and going beyond simple refraction. It’s such a fulfilling part of the job and it’s something the patient never thought would happen in my clinic.” 

In terms of specific vision issues, like so many ODs these days, Raji is fascinated by dry eye.

“It’s such a complex disease that has multiple treatment options,” he says. “With advancing technology, I love implementing cutting-edge tools like radio frequency to test these conditions.”

Another thing Raji loves about the job is that it seems like it’s something new every day. 

“There are so many facets to my profession, from providing patients with clearer vision than they ever thought they could have, to helping them connect the dots from their systemic health to their visual perception.”

Raji says having a successful career is heavily dependent on the relationships ECPs build in the industry and being able to learn from other ODs.

“Surrounding yourself with colleagues who will spur you forward and incite change is the only way to continue growing as a healthcare provider.”