Alumni Focus on Amy Kasper (OD'12)
DR. KASPER’S STORY
Highland Heights, OH
Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?
The Ohio State University 2008 - Zoology
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. Dawn Goedde (OD’04)! She was my attending for disease clinic and primary care clinic. She is bright, patient, and was able to help me solidify clinical skills. Dr. Goedde had great bedside manner with patients and she was definitely an example of the clinician I wanted to be. The four years of school were challenging academically, and she was always there to support me in both school and in life.
We had fun in clinic as well - she was the first person to tell me about the full moon. When our schedule got crazy or we had non-stop interesting cases - we’d pull up the moon schedule and sure enough - it was a full moon. I still check the full moon calendar.
DR. KASPER’S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
I’m the owner of The Vision Studio in Cary, NC! I purchased a 40+ year-old practice in January 2019.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I glance through our schedule for the day and review previous year’s notes. We’re a full scope optometric practice with a multi-generational patient base. So we get anything from scleral lenses to disease to myopia control. Reviewing the patients for the days helps me know what to expect and keeps the flow going!
In between patients, I catch up on administrative tasks, which can be paying bills, reviewing financials, or meeting with our frame reps.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
The trend of private practices being acquired by private equity, which decreases the likelihood of ODs owning their own practices. Since becoming a practice owner, I’ve had a much easier time maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The ability to adjust my work schedule to accommodate everything from family vacations to having a child has been a monumental improvement over my previous positions in corporate, and practice ownership is something that every new graduate should seriously consider.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I was always interested in healthcare and I loved my optometrist growing up. I remember how kind she was but also how cool it was that each year I came for an exam, she was able to improve my vision. I also wanted to have a positive impact on people and help make a difference in the quality of their lives.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I hope to still be working in clinical care part time and working as an advisor for students considering practice ownership. Battling the trend toward corporate optometry starts with students and instilling the belief and confidence that practice ownership is possible - especially given massive student debt.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Look past the salary when interviewing with different practices! There’s a lot more to job satisfaction than just the dollar amount. Review how many patients are scheduled an hour, and whether night or weekend shifts are required. Is the culture of the office in line with how you want to practice? Does the practice have an option to buy in as a partner in the future? Will you be able to make decisions on clinical care and staff? Finally, have someone review the contract for you - there’s a lot of legal jargon to decipher!
DR. KASPER’S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
I loved my classmates. Studying and stressing out about exams with them, hanging out after class, etc. We’re lucky to have a small class and we all got to know each other very well. Many of us are still close friends today.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
I spent eight years of my early adult life at Ohio State. I definitely feel a deep connection with the city and have a lot of pride in being a Buckeye. I’ve met my closest friends during my time there and no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen them, we always pick up right where we left off. Even though I’m currently in North Carolina, I still hear the occasional “O-H” from a stranger around town and it always leads to a great conversation!
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Through social media
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
COVID taught me that it’s ok to slow down. 2019 was my first year of practice ownership. I was managing everything - staff, finances, interpreting reports, paying bills - in addition to patient care. I loved it but it was also a constant grind. Then 2020 came along and everything came to a complete stop. When we opened back up for routine patient care again, we worked at a reduced schedule and we still maintain that schedule - this time, by choice. It’s been nice to spend time with patients and talk about life for a bit instead of rushing off to see the next patient. We also reviewed our office hours after COVID. My staff prefers to work four ten-hour days versus five eight-hour days. Our office is closed on Fridays, and the staff are able to take care of their appointments and recover on the long weekend. They deserve it and when they come back on the following Monday, they are well rested and ready to take care of our patients again.
DR. KASPER’S FUN FACTS
Tell us about your first-ever eye exam (either that you received or provided).
I was that child we all dread having in our chair! I was a malingerer and I wanted glasses so badly because one of my best friends had them. But when I get that malingerer now it just makes me smile.
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
My family and I love traveling - since our air travel has been on pause due to COVID, we’ve been busy exploring North Carolina more than ever before. We spend our weekends at restaurants and breweries with our friends. My two kids are seven years old and seven months old, and it’s been wonderful to pack up the car and enjoy the weekend with some good food and company.
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
Backstreet Boys - and yes, they are still fantastic.