Alumni Focus on Beth Muckley (OD’97)
DR. MUCKLEY’S STORY
Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?
I also did my undergrad at Ohio State from 1990-93 but was accepted to optometry school prior to getting my bachelor’s degree.
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) made learning anatomy fun! Dr. Gil Pierce (OD’89, MS’92, PhD’94) was always a good friend and academic cheerleader when I needed moral support. Dr. Cynthia Heard (OD’92) was a fantastic clinical instructor and taught me how to manage challenging patients. Dr. Brian Mathie (OD’90) set the foundation during my externship for my love of treating ocular disease and glaucoma. Without his guidance and leadership in working in ophthalmology, I wouldn’t have chosen the path I did.
DR. MUCKLEY'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
I am the Director of Optometric Services at NE Ohio Eye Surgeons. We have offices in Kent, Akron and Stow. I have been there 17 years.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
My day is very hectic! But I love the unpredictability and pace because I get to connect with so many people and see so many different cases. I see 45 patients a day, mostly in glaucoma, anterior segment disease and post operative care. My patient base is mostly senior citizens, although I do a few Infantsee exams from time to time. I also supervise externs from the college, which makes me a better clinician since I am always teaching.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Being on the Board of the Ohio Optometric Association, I get an inside view as to many of the issues facing our profession. Vertical integration of eye care, vision vs. medical, health care rising costs, patient access to optometry, refracting kiosks and online exams, 1-800 CLs, rising student debt, creation of more optometry schools, scope of practice - you name it!
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
My brother had strabismus as a young child and I also wore glasses, so eye health was always at the forefront. When I received the first pair of Acuvue disposable contact lenses in middle school, it changed how I felt about my appearance and I knew I wanted to do the same for other kids. I also thought I would have a great career/family balance as an optometrist.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I plan on staying at my current practice until I am ready to retire so I will still be there doing what I love best - seeing my elderly patients, treating glaucoma, and teaching. I hope that in five years I will be performing laser and minor surgical procedures in Ohio.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Make every patient encounter count and make a difference. You can learn something new everyday from listening and interacting with the public. Whether it is seeing a new clinical finding or learning how to handle a specific personality, or something non-optometric altogether, it is important to connect with people. If patients feel connected to you, they and their loved ones will be your patients for life.
DR. MUCKLEY'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
There are so many fun times when we weren’t studying! My classmates and I used to get together to play cards and watch Thursday night TV (Seinfeld, Friends, and ER). We would then head out at 11 p.m. to Mustards or Papa Joe’s to dance til the bars closed. Now I can’t imagine starting my night at 11 p.m.! We had a very close class. We celebrated everything together - from football games, to birthday parties, to passing boards, we were always doing something together. I can still see where everyone sat for four years in room 33 during five hours of straight lecture a day.
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
When you spend four years with same 60 people and faculty, you share a closeness and kinship. The rigorous academic curriculum and challenges we all faced in getting through school, while trying to figure out who we were as we transitioned into adults, bonded all of us for life. No matter when you graduated, we are all colleagues and passionate for our profession. I have my blood family and I have my optometric family. When my son Max was four years old, I took him to his first optometry alumni weekend. Brutus, Archie Griffith, and the Men’s Glee Club were there. In the back, you could hear Dr. Bob Newcomb (OD’71) singing the alma matter in beautiful harmony with the glee club and all who attended. Max was amazed by this and actually thought this was a family reunion and we were all cousins. He asked to meet Dr. Newcomb and it was from that moment, he wanted to be a Buckeye too.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry as an alumna?
I stay connected since I am a preceptor for the Advanced Practice Externs. The OOA Board also has a fantastic relationship with the college which is not typical in other states. I also love to attend alumni weekend and see what is new at the college.
DR. MUCKLEY'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
Much of my volunteering is for the profession through the OOA, the Academy, and the Optometric Glaucoma Society. I do manage to volunteer at my son’s school as well as church.
My hobbies include gardening, cooking, spending time on Lake Erie and travelling. I recently put in a fruit orchard in my back yard. I have 7 apple, 2 cherry , 2 apricot, 2 plum, 2 peach trees as well as 12 blueberry bushes and blackberries. I have a giant vegetable garden and I love to landscape as well.
Tell us the best eye pun or joke you have ever heard….
The best eye related pun was on youtube. It’s called “ A Day in the Life” It features an animated depiction of a patient encounter where the OD tries to explain that the patient has cataracts and needs surgery but all the patient wants is glasses or colored contact lenses to fix the problem. We all have had this patient in our chair!
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
My first concert was supposed to be Journey’s "Born and Raised on Radio" tour in 1987 but my mom wouldn’t let me go at the last minute. So unfortunately, my first concert ended up being Weird Al Yankovic and the Monkees at the fair. Not very cool.
My most recent concert was just a few weeks ago. Drs. Gil Pierce, Dr. Jeff Walline (MS’98,PhD’02), Dr. Anita Soto (OD’97) and some of my Ohio State undergrad roommates saw U2’s 30-year anniversary tour of the Joshua Tree at Cleveland Stadium. It was fantastic. I’ve seen U2 four times and they are a classic rock band. I also took my son Max, so now he has a first cool concert story.
What is your favorite summer time activity?
My husband Tim and I own a lakefront condo in Vermilion on Lake Erie. We love it there. I enjoy sitting on the shoreline, collecting sea glass, and watching the sunset over the lake. Lake Erie is quintessential summertime in Ohio.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
An owner/chef of an Italian specialty market and tratorria.