Alumni Focus on Bob Layman (OD’82)



Toledo, Ohio

Were you the first optometrist in your family?


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

Physiological Optics (BS'81, OD'82)

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

Jack King modeled professional communication and holding oneself accountable to master critical information; Arol Augsburger (BS’69,OD/MS’71) and Kevin Alexander (BS’74, OD’76, MS’77, PhD’79) showed how an excellent clinician diagnoses, treats, and explains conditions to patients in human terms; Tom Quinn (OD’79, MS’81) and LaMar Zigler (OD/MS’81) sparked an interest in specialty contact lens care.


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

I am co-owner and managing partner at Pinnacle Eye Group in Lambertville, Michigan, and co-owner, with managing partner James Hardie, (OD’10), of Great Lakes Vision Care in Monroe, Michigan. 

Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.

I see 25-30 patients each day, ranging in age from 10 months to 104 years old. We have full-scope medical optometry utilizing electrodiagnostics, amniotic membrane therapies, emergency care, glaucoma and AMD management. There is a fair number of older patients on my schedule for chronic condition management compared to my younger partner. We have a large staff and utilize scribes to help maintain thorough records. Most days are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but two nights a week, we stay open until 7 p.m.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

Disruptive technology with inaccurate, deceptive internet eye tests, unscrupulous contact lens sellers, vertically integrated vision plans that disrespect the vital role of the provider community in their business model, the maintenance of a diverse, highly qualified applicant pool to our schools and colleges, and the apathetic, disengaged attitude of the many ODs who choose not to support the efforts of their professional association trying to defend their license against challenges like those listed above.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

I wanted to make a difference in the quality of life of my patients. It offers a chance to get acquainted with patients and be a source of preventive health information. No other profession is in a similar position to add value, inspiration, and hope to those that could benefit.

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

Hopefully, it will be more of the same rewarding connections with patients, leading a team of caring, capable staff, and giving my best to volunteer efforts with AOA to advance the profession.

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

Never sell out to what is convenient short term if it limits your ability to bring all your hard earned clinical skills to every patient. Follow your dreams, risk more in the short term for long-term professional satisfaction. Develop the mental toughness, courage, adaptability and persistence to overcome the challenges on the way to achieving your goals. You never know when greatness is right around the corner.


Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?

It was the only choice as an Ohio resident paying 100% of my own education costs. The excellent reputation and top quality education were a bonus!

What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

Learning to use the BIO when ODs weren’t licensed to use mydriatics made us feel like we were putting one over on the “man”; fitting and wearing PMMA lenses when my partner Susan Quinn (OD’79, MS’81) and I were both plano and hated the experience; Kevin Alexander using cigar smoke to demonstrate an optical concept and getting in big trouble from Dean Hebbard for it; all the fun times with Epsilon Psi Epsilon activation parties; playing on a winning intramural football team full of ringers every year, and of course the Ohio State football experience.


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

It was the gateway to a rewarding career, rich with relationships and economic opportunity that has been far beyond anything ever imagined. It has given my family choices, experiences, resources, and friendships that are exceptional and ongoing.

How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry as an alumnus?

As a lifetime member of our alumni association, attending reunions, being a donor to the college, and staying in touch with faculty and staff through OOA events.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

I just finished a 10-year run as a Cub Scout/Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster, serve on the local YMCA Board of Managers, act as a Real Eyes presenter and eye dissection leader for local elementary schools, and give a good amount of time to the AOA trustee position.

The hobbies that are most interesting are snow skiing, (especially with my son living in Breckenridge Colorado), participating in the Sylvania triathlon near my home, and tinkering with cars to find a place to rest my mind. I enjoy listening to motivational and inspirational speakers or podcasts while running in the morning. Travelling to new places with my family is also a great pastime.

What was the first concert that you attended / most recent? 

The first was a Boston concert in the old Toledo Sports Arena. Most recent was the Peter White/ Candi Dulfer Christmas Jazz concert.

If not an optometrist, I would be ...

An inspirational speaker.