Alumni Focus on Jay Lytle (OD’14)


Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?

The Ohio State University, Medical Science

Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?


Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?

I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible mentors throughout my education and career, including Mike Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92), Thomas Gilbert (OD’74), James Albright (OD’76), and Steve Schnulo (OD’90). Dr. Earley inspired me to be the best I can be academically, and Drs. Gilbert, Albright, and Schnulo showed me the power of interpersonal connection in patient care.


Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.

Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care in Worthington, Ohio. This year we’re celebrating our 75th anniversary in Worthington, making us one of the oldest private practices in America.

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.Jay Lytle at Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care in Worthington, Ohio

One of the sayings we often use in our office is, “Quality care: from infants to great-grandparents.” My typical day as an optometrist might include seeing a retired teacher who recently had cataract surgery, a nine-month-old referred in by her pediatrician, then a person with diabetes who needs their dilated retinal examination, then a walk-in with a metal foreign body. During a normal day, I often fit specialty contacts, evaluate binocular vision issues, prescribe prism glasses, and diagnose retinal diseases, all before lunch time. That’s why we love family practice!

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

As a private practice owner, I’ve seen consistent growth in our business for the past 10 years. What we ask from our legislative bodies and our state and national optometric organizations is a fair and balanced marketplace that addresses illegal online products and services which ultimately compromise patient care and undermine optometry.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma of the right eye and within a week I was scheduled for enucleation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Thankfully, my fellow eye has always been perfect, and by first grade I had probably had more eye exams than my entire first grade class combined.Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care in Worthington, Ohio

Optometry was always familiar to me, but growing up, my eyes were the one thing I hated about myself, because having a prosthetic eye was the one thing that made me different. Eventually at 15 years old, I realized that I could keep running from the one thing that made me different, or I could embrace it. From that day on, I knew I was going to be an optometrist.

Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?

In five years, our office will be celebrating its 80th anniversary, so I’ll probably be planning that celebration! My goal is to lead a forward-thinking, technology-driven private practice, which incorporates the same people-focused model to which our patients have become accustomed.

What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?

I tell my third- and fourth-year students the same advice: the most important section in the patient’s chart is the part about their work, hobbies, and dreams. If you listen to a person’s time, talent, and treasure – the things that matter most to them – you’ll earn their trust for a lifetime. Write down where they go on vacation, when their kids are getting married, how old their grandkids are, and then make THAT the first thing you ask about when you walk in the room next year. Often, in doing so, you become the only member of their healthcare team who took the time to listen.

What do eye health and eye care mean for you?Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care in Worthington, Ohio

A mentor told me once that optometry is 10% science and 90% psychology, so understanding people is the real pursuit. Optometry is understanding how vision is closely tied to a person’s work and hobbies, and offering products and services which help an individual accomplish their goals.


What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

Every lecture of Dr. Earley was fun because he’s a man of a million analogies. Other than that, I think my fondest memories were just sitting next to my friends for four years and going on that journey together.

What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?

Years ago, I created a lecture titled, “The Ohio State College of Optometry: A Legacy of Leaders,” where I outlined the rich history of the college and how it shaped optometry in America over the past 100 years by producing leaders at every level. I truly believe the Ohio State is the best optometry college in the nation and consistently produces not just world-class doctors, but true optometric leaders. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?

Our office was one of the original fourth-year extern sites for the college over 30 years ago. We really enjoy being part of our fourth-year students’ journeys. I teach third-year students in the Primary Vision Care clinic at the college, and I also lecture at various conferences and online platforms which helps me reunite with Ohio State alumni in different places.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and sons, serving at our local church, playing chess and disc golf, and traveling to the U.S. National Parks.

What is your nickname?

I go by Dr. Jay in clinic.

What’s a fun optometry-related fact about you?

My youngest son’s initials are O.P.L. after the outer plexiform layer of the retina.

If not an optometrist, I would be a …

Stay-at-home dad :)