Alumni Focus on Brad Johnson (OD'08)
DR. JOHNSON'S STORY
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. Joseph Barr (OD’77,MS’79) was my first positive influence as a student, as I did research with him as an undergraduate. It was very intimidating to be with him at first, but he taught me an incredible amount.
Dr. Michael Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92) inspired me to be the best clinician I could possibly be. He also showed me that tall men can succeed in this profession.
Dr. David Bejot (OD’93) is an amazing clinician who taught me how to be comfortable in any patient situation and also run a successful practice. Through his Nebraska fandom he also unintentionally showed me how to deal with rough times.
DR. JOHNSON'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
I am currently a partner at Professional Vision Care in Westerville, Ohio. I am thrilled to work with so many talented doctors as we just opened our fourth location in Lewis Center. We’re very proud of it and excited to see what the future will bring!
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
The beauty of this profession is that most days are atypical! I see a lot of ocular disease and am starting to expand into specialty contact lenses such as orthokeratology and sclerals. I love that I can refer all of my young amblyopes to one of my wonderful partners who specializes in that!
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
As optometrists, I think it is absolutely essential to always remember that we are a legislated profession. We can never take what we have achieved for granted as recent events have shown. I strongly believe that ALL optometrists should be active in the OOA or the association of the state they live in. Members may disagree on certain things but we should always fight together for our profession’s independence and vitality.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
The medical field always fascinated me, and after shadowing Dr. Pat Dollenmayer (OD’91) a few times, I knew it was the right fit for me. Plus I don’t like being bitten, so dentistry was out early on!
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I love what I do and who I practice with right now so if I could I would keep everything the same!
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
I’m an over-achiever so I’ll give two:
- Be active in the OOA!
- Differentiate what you do. In this day of opternative eye exams (hopefully to be illegal soon …) and ads for $8 glasses, it’s important to give your patients a reason to see you. Education is key, along with establishing relationships. It sounds corny, but work hard, treat people right, and the rest will take care of itself.
DR. JOHNSON'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
Wow, so many to choose from. Three-hour histology labs, all-night study sessions, parties at the EYE house, tailgates and football games, the EYEball. We worked hard but always had a great time! Being able to give a speech at our class’s Commencement was also an incredible honor, as well as working with my classmates to establish a scholarship that will ensure that future generations will always remember the Class of 2008!
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
It means everything. I grew up in Columbus so I have been a Buckeye my whole life. My wife and I met our freshman year in Lincoln Tower, and we are raising our beautiful daughter right as she is also a huge fan! The College of Optometry is where I learned how to be a better person and doctor while establishing relationships that have made life extremely enjoyable. I am still close with a lot of my professors and classmates, and I’m really excited to see them all this September at our 10-year reunion!
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
I love the alumni magazine, I really feel like optometry is a family and that helps me stay connected with current events. I also have an extern that rotates through our office so I am always meeting the new wave of amazing doctors. As a COOA Board Member I have helped organize OSU Student Night for the past several years, and as the chair of the OOA Membership Committee I am always trying to be sure everyone knows how important their support truly is.
DR. JOHNSON'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
I love playing volleyball. I had to give up indoor due to bad knees (ah, the joys of aging!) but can still play sand and love to. I finally got a set of fitted golf clubs last year so I’m hoping to get better at that as well. I love being a daddy and helping my daughter experience new and wonderful things. I am also very proud of all of the volunteer work that our practice participates in.
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
First: Counting Crows/Wallflowers at the old Polaris Amphitheater. Not sure if anyone else reading this was there, but I was one of the “rowdy lawn people.”
Most recent: My daughter is four years old, so I don’t get to many concerts right now, but I saw the Black Keys in Las Vegas last year and had a great time.
What is your favorite winter-time activity?
Watching the football Bucks beat that team up north since that happens every year!
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Make my patients compliant with the snap of my fingers. Being able to get Roosters wings and cold beer to appear out of thin air would also be ideal.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
Thankfully I don’t hear too many, I think people realize they’re just a little too cornea.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
Confused, bored, and in great debt. What am I supposed to do with my Optometry degree?