Alumni Focus on Alissa Brearley (OD'10)
DR. BREARLEY’S STORY
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
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?
Dr. Mike Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92), Dr. Lisa Lex (OD’82), Dr. Nicky Lai (OD/MS’03), Dr. Jeffrey Walline (MS’98, PhD’02), Dr. Roanne Flom and Dr. Bob Newcomb (OD’71).
DR. BREARLEY’S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
- Owner of two offices affiliated with Vogue Optical in Kitchener, ON
- Part-time Clinical Supervisor in the Cornea, Contact Lens and Myopia control clinic at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am in my offices seeing approximately 10-12 patients. Typical patient encounters are comprehensive eye exams, diabetic eye exams and partial exams for acute care. On Tuesday and Thursday I am supervising fourth-year interns at the University of Waterloo in soft contact lens fitting: monovision, single vision, and multifocals. I also encounter a lot of patients with Keratoconucs, PMD and post-graft patients where I do advanced fitting with RGPs and sclerals. There is a large focus on myopia control in children where I fit Misight soft lenses and Orthokeratology. On the rare occasion I fit specialty colored lenses for patients with conditions like Achromatopsia and for prosthesis.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Primarily the lack of information to patients on the importance of our role as optometrists. A lot of patients still seek care with a family physician, walk-in clinic or pharmacist for common eye-related issues. A lot of patients are still under the assumption that our main role is prescribing glasses. There needs to be more information on the importance of yearly eye screening to maintain eye health and prevent vision threatening eye diseases.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
When I was nine years old my dad had an injury while vacationing in Mexico on business. One of the social activities was playing donkey polo. He had a fall on his right side with no immediate implications. Flying home the next day, his specialist later predicted that the change in altitude caused a ‘burst blood vessel’ in the back of his right eye. After several treatments of laser, they were not able to save any vision in the right eye. Seeing how he had to cope monocularly immediately following initiated my interest in the optometric field. I have always had a strong interest in the health sciences and also had the opportunity to work with several optometrists before applying to optometry school.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I hope I am still as happy as I am today in the same positions, and that my offices continue to grow and flourish.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Stop, take a breath and enjoy every last minute. I say this on almost a weekly basis. Try not to get caught up in just going through the motions. Try to get the most out of each patient encounter and learn as much as you can with your supervisors while you have them. Mostly, enjoy being an optometry student while it lasts, because looking back, it goes by way too fast.
DR. BREARLEY’S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
My first Buckeye football game! Epsilon Psi Epsilon pledge week, skit night, pirate party, or meeting President Gordon Gee at our thrift store formal. Living in the EYE House. Seeing the retina for the first time, and Dr. Earley saying “Hey Doc” in the clinic hallway the day after graduation.
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
I wouldn’t be the optometrist I am today without my education and experience at The Ohio State Optometry. My husband and I have made several road trips to Columbus to visit and watch football games. Most of our fall Saturdays at home consist of watching college football.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Mostly by social media and academy meetings. I also enjoy getting the alumni magazine and my yearly Christmas and birthday cards from Dean Zadnik.
DR. BREARLEY’S FUN FACTS
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
First concert was Keith Urban at the Schottenstein Center, most recent was Chris Stapleton at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, Ontario.
What is your favorite autumn-time activity?
Hiking, Biking, Fall fairs, baking/cooking with pumpkin and of course watching the Buckeyes on Saturdays.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
I’m not sure this is the best, but my friend sent this to me the other day:
“You know how there’s a theory that no two people see a color the exact same way. Does that mean color is like a pigment of your imagination?” Oh no you didn’t ... huehuehue.