By David Goldberg
Each trip around the sun has taught Tracy Vo something new about her profession.
For seven years, the 31-year-old optometrist has been working as an associate at several clinics across Toronto.
“The world is constantly changing and, daily, new pieces of the puzzle are added,” says Vo. “The ability to adapt and progress in our evolving world is a very good quality to have.”
A nearsighted patient herself, Vo’s experience with blurry eyesight inspired her to help others.
“It made me want to help those who may not have been able to see the world and all its beauty. Your sense of sight is an amazing thing to experience and I want to be able to help patients enjoy it throughout their entire lives.”
What Vo loves most about the job is unpredictability; you never know who’s going to walk through the door.
“I love that within one day, I can be helping someone see better and then jump into helping save an eye from a bad injury and then move to treat an asymptomatic severe disease. As an optometrist, I can grow together with my patients to help them see this world as well as possible and help treat all other bumps and bruises along the way.”
With such important work being done each day, Vo finds that she can give some patients new confidence, helping them come out of their shells and discover who they are.
“I was treating a young patient who was very shy. He had never seen an optometrist before and his mother reported having concerns at school with his reading and writing. After his examination, I found he was very farsighted, which hindered his ability to see comfortably up close. After testing out the prescription in the office, the patient blurted out, ‘Mom, you are so close!.’ Hearing a patient who was initially very shy express so much excitement over a pair of lenses is very rewarding. Knowing now that he can see the world and his family with comfort and clarity will always be one of my favourite memories.”
The biggest challenge going forward, says Vo, is the push for increased funding from the Ontario government to subsidize eye exams and essential testing for patients across the province. She says that sticking together with her colleagues in the Ontario Association of Optometrists is the only way to achieve this goal.
“Especially during this critical juncture, it is important that we have each other’s support to help fight for our values as optometrists and be able to continue treating and helping individuals in need within my community.”