Alumni Focus on Greg DeNaeyer (OD’98)

DR. DENAEYER'S STORY

Hometown

Wayne, Nebraska

Were you the first optometrist in your family?

Yes. My dad is a practicing dentist.

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

OD, and I completed a hospital-based residency at the Columbus and Chillicothe VA Hospitals.

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

My mentors included Dr. Greg Good (OD’75,MS’79, PhD’81), Dr. Nick Fogt (OD/MS’92,PhD’96), and Dr. Greg Nixon (OD’96).

DR. DENAEYER'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY

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

Optometrist at Arena Eye Surgeons, an anterior ophthalmology practice in Columbus, Ohio.

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

The majority of my time is spent fitting specialty contact lenses for keratoconus, post-surgical corneas, post-trauma, or corneal scars. Most of these patients are fit with scleral contact lenses. I’m also involved with research of scleral shape and scleral contact lens design. I am a consultant for Visionary Optics and I am a board member of Precision Ocular Metrology. I spend time preparing lectures and writing articles before I see patients in the morning. Frequently, I am on a conference call during lunch.

Which optometric issues concern you the most?

Managed care and vision insurance.

Why did you choose a career in optometry?

I didn’t have a lot of exposure to optometry because I didn’t wear glasses or contact lenses. I liked science and was interested in health care. My initial interest in optometry was partially sparked by a friend of my dad’s who is an optometrist.

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

Continued growth of my specialty contact lens clinic with an emphasis on research and development. Possibly in 10 years I would transition from patient care to more full time consulting and research.

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

Optometry has many niches other than primary care. Be prepared to investigate other areas and adjust your plans to find what is most fulfilling to you. When I started working at AES I wasn’t even interested in contact lenses. However, after successfully fitting a few specialty lens cases, contact lenses became my primary interest and job. It’s rewarding to be able to provide someone vision with a contact lens who otherwise has been visually impaired.

DR. DENAEYER'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE

Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?

It’s a great school and I felt like it was the best fit for me during my visit. I’ll never forget meeting the dean of the college, Dr. Richard Hill, at my interview.

What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?

Dr. Earley’s lectures - Interesting and he is a great educator. Meeting my wife - Beth Travis-DeNaeyer (OD’98), EYE events and spending time with my optometry classmates.

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

My wife and I are both alumni and we have friends who are faculty at Ohio State. I enjoy visiting the college to help out with contact lens workshops for the third- and fourth-year students.

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

CE events and Facebook. I’m looking forward to our 20-year reunion next year!!

DR. DENAEYER'S FUN FACTS

What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

My wife and I enjoy spending time with our two boys (ages 14 and 10) and traveling as a family. I try and run three or four days a week for mental and physical rejuvenation. I like to read; mostly non-fiction on a variety of topics. I also enjoy fly-fishing and spending time outdoors.

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

The first concert I attended was U2’s Joshua Tree tour. I recently went to see Sting and Peter Gabriel.

If not an optometrist, I would be ...

Honestly I can’t imagine doing anything else. For me personally, I like the balance of patient care and research. I’ve been fortunate to travel internationally to lecture and developed many friendships along the way.