Alumni Focus on Denise Weirick Carter (OD’93)
DR. CARTER'S STORY
What institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?
The Ohio State University – Zoology (marine biology was not an option)
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) inspired my love of contact lens and Dr. Michael Polasky (BS’68, OD’69) was the best at teaching the art of refracting.
DR. CARTER'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Sungate Medical Group in Beaufort, SC/Ladys Island
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I run or work out before work, but then I'm busy - with 22-30 patients per day. Lots of my patients have been with me for 20+ years. I love seeing similar patients every year. I walk/play with my dog after work and spend time boating/fishing on weekends.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
My great-grandmother went blind from glaucoma. I wanted to do all I could to keep that from happening to other people. I had a great mentor in Dr. John Kirkpatrick from Loudonville, Ohio. I would love to have more time to volunteer (outside of the office).
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
As my kids get through college, I want to go to part time and start traveling more. My son, Mason, is at the University of South Carolina and my daughter, Katelyn, is at the College of Charleston.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Don’t be afraid of taking stepping stones along your career path. Your first job may not be the ideal dream job, but experience will take you far. Establish great relationships with referring ophthalmologists.
DR. CARTER'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
Seeing the goalpost come down after defeating Iowa in 1985 – yes I’m old! For optometry school, the hooding ceremony was special.
Were you involved in any organizations as an Ohio State Optometry student?
Co-ed intramural volleyball, Buckeye Aerobics, and the Epsilon Psi Epsilon (EYE) Fraternity.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
My education has allowed me to provide for my family and to live in a beautiful place (also great football – Go Bucks!)
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Only with the BuckEYE Alumni Magazine and class reunions.
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
We should have been this good at sterilizing exam rooms and equipment all along. Masks are terrible for refracting.
How do you imagine patient care will change in the future, in light of the COVID-19 public health crisis?
Myopia control for all the computer use with virtual learning will become more necessary for our kids. Adults may opt for contacts or surgery options instead of glasses with mask wearing.
DR. CARTER'S FUN FACTS
My nickname in optometry school was “Denise Sue,” after all Weirick is hard to say!
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
I love jokes about the eyes, the “cornea” the better :)
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
Dolphin trainer at Dolphin Research Center in Key Islamorada, FL.