Alumni Focus on Brian Mathie ('90)



Louisville, Ohio

Were you the first optometrist in your family?

Sort of. My brother Bruce graduated from The Ohio State College of Optometry two years after me and my brother-in-law Dave King graduated four years before me.

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

OD, 1990. I also was a resident at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Columbus and Chillicothe through Ohio State’s residency program.

Name a mentor from the College of Optometry or a person who had a positive effect on your education.

My mentors are all Buckeyes, including Dr. Buckeye Bob Newcomb, who not only taught me about treating ocular disease, but also about becoming involved in organized optometry as well as lecturing and publishing, all the while enjoying every day and always cheering for the Buckeyes. Dr. Greg Good showed me how to care for and enjoy each interaction with geriatric patients and Dr. Dave King showed me how to always challenge myself to learn more and get out of my comfort zone in order to be a better optometrist.


Tell us about the evolution of your optometry career.

After a residency, I worked as a clinic director for two optometry/ophthalmology clinics in northeast Ohio. I originated a College of Optometry-affiliated externship program and residency program at Ohio Eye Alliance and I then established an extern site affiliation with the college at Roholt Vision Institute in North Canton, Alliance and Canfield, Ohio. My practice is unique in that I don’t practice in a facility that has a dispensary, as we specialize in medical and surgical eye care. I recently celebrated with fellow members of the Class of 1990 for 25 years of practicing optometry. My favorite saying is “today I’m saving eyes, right and left” and I have been lucky enough to lecture both nationally and internationally on various ocular disease topics.

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

I typically see 30-45 patients that including pre- and post-operative patients as well as those with dry eye syndrome, corneal disease, glaucoma, retinal disease and perhaps my favorite-a potpourri of emergency patients. I work with the externs to further their knowledge and speak to the optometrists in our referring network on a daily basis regarding co-management of surgical patients or as a phone consultant for the various conditions they see.

Tell us a special story that relates to your career now.

My daughter, who is a first-year optometry student at Ohio State, has worked with me during the past several summers working up patients. I recently saw an 88 YOAAF who greeted me as I walked into the room by saying “How is my Dr. Mathie doing?” Before I could answer she said, “I don’t mean you, I mean your daughter. I love you, but I want you to know that once she graduates I’m going to be her patient. She’s great!” So there it is, I’m already the second most popular Dr. Mathie in my practice and my daughter didn’t even graduate yet! Regarding my practice, I love the challenging ocular disease patients who frequent our practice. But as I get older, I would like to specialize in left eye corneal foreign body removals. (Editor: ha, ha)

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

Online refractions and ordering of glasses and contact lenses. I have a patient who had his first ever eye exam at age 70 (he was a natural monovision patient) and he had end-stage glaucoma in both eyes. If patients focus only on the cheapest glasses and contact lenses, there will be numerous patients losing sight (literally) of what is most important in the care of their eyes.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

In school, I always loved anatomy and physiology, as well as physics. Optometry combines all three and allows me to help patients see better and feel better every day. I also wanted to be a doctor who wasn’t called in for lengthy surgeries while on call so I could be involved as the father I wanted to be.


Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?

Ohio State has always enjoyed a great reputation and was the most affordable option. In 1986 there was an option to apply during your second year of undergrad and as one of eight kids paying our own way through college, that fast track to the OD degree was very appealing.

Most memorable moment(s) at Ohio State.

All of the great memories involve laughter, fun and good times at the Epsilon Psi Epsilon events and college-affiliated activities. Also, the Buckeye football games, giving a rap music finale to the hooding speech and while at Ohio State I was lucky enough to play QB for a flag football team representing Ohio State at the National Flag Football Championships in New Orleans for two years.

What lesson did you learn at Ohio State that has affected you the most in your career?

Every single day I read or read summaries of studies that affect our profession. Ohio State showed me how to look at these studies objectively and critically and decide how to implement the information to better serve my patients. It also showed me what it was like to be part of a successful, progressive practice with an emphasis on patient care.

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

Ohio State will always be synonymous with the most fun years of my life. It was a time of lots of hard work and even more great times. It was the foundation that has allowed me to do so many things.

I have delighted watching my daughter Brooke at The Ohio State College of Optometry and her roommates Stephanie Shoults and Kelly Morgan enjoy the many opportunities that go with being part of the college, including phenomenal experiences like seeing an optic nerve in 3D for the first time, adjusting their first pair of glasses, figuring out if a soft contact lens is inside out or not and celebrating the end of yet another optics course.

Brooke has wanted to be an optometrist since she was 11. She attended an OOA retreat with me and proclaimed she wanted to be an optometrist when she grew up. When I asked her why, she said “Because optometrists are all happy.” And I still believe she is right for the most part.


What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

Golf, tennis, ping pong and basketball on any and all days. I am on the board of Cross Eyed Missions, a group started by Brady Kail, (OD’96) and I have been lucky enough to travel with him to provide eye care in Central America and Asia. I’m a hometown returnee. I am involved in the same church that I was baptized in 50 years ago. I have truly enjoyed sharing our recently emptied nest with my wife Tonda, who I first dated in 10th grade. I got a concussion the day after our first date so I don’t remember any of that first date but I’ve truly enjoyed the next 35 years of dates.

If not an optometrist, I would be ...

A sitcom writer, a table tennis Olympian, a professional golfer or an orthodontist.