NEXTGEN: Guided in her path to optometry

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By Jody Johnson-Pettit

A young Scarborough-based optometrist has worked her way up and now owns her own practice.

Dr. Jessica Hall’s interest in optometry came at a young age.

“When I got my first pair of glasses in Grade 7, I remember the shock and awe of how clear things were. A career in optometry was a possibility since then,” she says.

Dr. Hall says a team of doctors and staff in the optometrist’s office where she was a patient supported her journey to becoming an optometrist.

In high school, she was hired to work Saturdays at the office’s front desk.

“I helped with scheduling, billing and filing and over the years and throughout my undergraduate studies, I took on more roles within the office. I started pre-testing patients, teaching contact lens insertion and removal, I took retinal photos, Optomaps and did visual field testing,” she says.

“The opticians taught me lens and frame selection and fitting techniques for dispensing eyewear. I even wrote some policy manual articles for current and future staff of that clinic to help with training and continuity of the practice procedures.”

Hall, who was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, graduated with her Doctor of Optometry and Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 2011.

In 2014, she opened her own practice, Hall’s Optometry, in Highland Creek Village.

“With determination, hard work, thick skin and a sense of humour, you can succeed,” says Dr. Hall.

Her clinic will be celebrating five years of operation this year and she looks forward to seeing it continue to grow and succeed.

“I enjoy meeting new people each day, interacting with new and old patients, educating patients and being able to lead my team for individual and practice growth,” she says. 

“Anytime when a patient sees positive results or starts feeling better regarding their ocular health or vision, it gives me a sense of accomplishment,” says Dr. Hall. “It means that I’ve made a difference for them in some way.

Dr. Hall recalls a specific case that reaffirmed her belief that “optometry is not an isolated field”

and that optometrists look out for their patient’s health.

“A man had presented for a routine exam, only thinking he needed reading glasses. During the exam, I noticed a lesion on the top of his head and I asked him about it,” recalls Dr. Hall.

“He was from Australia and had spent a lot of time in the sun before he moved to Canada. I told him to see his family doctor or a dermatologist to have the spot checked out. When he returned the following year, he thanked me profusely for telling him to have it checked. He had been diagnosed with skin cancer, it had been surgically removed and he was clear. He said he hadn’t been told by anyone else to have it examined and he never thought his eye doctor would catch something like that.

A patient’s systemic health is always something we consider as optometrists, whether patients know it or not.”

Dr. Hall is also a Toronto area ambassador for the Eye See… Eye Learn children’s vision program and a member of both the Ontario Association of Optometrists and Canadian Association of Optometrists.

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