Alumni Focus on James Hardie (OD’10) and Holly Hardie (OD’10)
THE STORY OF DRS. JAMES AND HOLLY HARDIE
James (JH): Ironwood, MI
Holly (HH): Gaylord, MI
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?
JH: I would have to say all the faculty and staff had an extremely positive effect on my education at Ohio State. A few educators who come to my mind are Dr. Michael Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92), Dr. Gil Pierce (OD’89, MS’92, PhD’94), Dr. Greg Nixon (OD’96), Dr. Karla Zadnik, and Dr. Dawn Goedde (OD’04). During my fourth-year externship, Dr. Greg Hicks (OD’84) was instrumental in teaching me about private practice operations.
HH: The faculty and staff at the College of Optometry are all fantastic and impacted my education significantly. Dr. Karla Zadnik is an inspiration then and now, as well as Dr. Gil Pierce (OD’89, MS’92, PhD’94), and Dr. Michael Earley (OD/MS’88, PhD’92). I never fully appreciated Dr. Earley’s neurology course until I immersed myself into vision therapy and began working with TBI patients.
CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
JH: Partner in the Pinnacle Eye Group in Lambertville, MI (suburb of Toledo, OH) and Partner in Great Lakes Vision Care in Monroe, MI.
HH: Associate Doctor at both the Pinnacle Eye Group in Lambertville, MI and Great Lakes Vision Care in Monroe, MI. I also run Great Lakes Vision Therapy in Lambertville, MI.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
JH: My typical day is fun. It is fast paced and involves patients of all ages. We have integrated technology very heavily into our examinations, which allows us to manage many medical eye care conditions. We coordinate care with our patients' primary care physicians, which allows us to integrate into the health care model.
HH: The typical day in private practice is ever changing. I see patients from infancy to 100+ years old. I try to practice to the highest level our scope in Michigan will allow by managing multiple medical conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration, and a wide array of emergency patients. I also operate our vision therapy practice. When at that location I work mostly with children, young adults, and traumatic brain injuries on a wide variety of binocular vision and perceptual issues.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
JH: The commoditization of eye care due to marketing confusion by internet purveyors. The good news is our profession can continue to focus on medical eye care and scope expansion, which will allow the opportunity for more patient care availability.
HH: The commercialization of optometry is always concerning. I, however, feel by carving out specialties within optometry in the form of medical treatment, specialty contact lenses, and vision therapy we will always have a place.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
JH: I received my first pair of glasses in third grade, so optometry always intrigued me. I knew in undergraduate school that optometry was the profession for me because I could help people improve their lives and allow myself the opportunity to be a small business owner.
HH: I decided I wanted to be an optometrist when I was still in high school. I wanted a career where I could really connect and help people on a regular basis. The idea of knowing my patients and watching them grow over time has always appealed to me.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
JH: I very much hope that our business enterprises are continuing to grow. I would like to add another office or two into our business, which would allow other younger doctors the opportunity to have the excitement I was able to enjoy when I started working with Dr. Bob Layman (OD’82) after graduation.
HH: In five years I hope to see our businesses continue to thrive, I hope my love for the profession continues to grow, and I hope my children begin to catch our excitement and enthusiasm for optometry.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
JH: Go boldly forward. This is a fantastic profession. Get involved immediately with your state associations as student and continue that involvement when you graduate. Ask for help if you have questions. You never have to go things alone when you have such an amazing alumni network.
HH: The debt load at graduation will seem overwhelming to a lot of you, but that student loan payment will be the best bill you pay every month. It is what allows you to wake up every day and love your job. Very few people have the privilege of saying they love what they do. You will. Optometry is the best career there is!
OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
JH: There were countless memories at Ohio State. It all started taking a dip in Mirror Lake. The memories continue with tailgating fun, EYE events, and AOSA trips to numerous Optometry’s Meetings. The friendships formed during these moments were priceless.
HH: Too many to recall! A few that stand out the most are social events with EYE and living at the EYE house for two years, football games/tailgates, sitting in Room 22 for endless hours. A favorite memory was sitting on a patio with James and Michelle Lieb (OD’10) the very first week of school and saying we were going to be friends all through school!
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
JH: Ohio State is where I realized I was going to have to be a Spartan/Buckeye for the rest of my life. Not a bad option because I’m still not a Wolverine!! The College of Optometry gave me fantastic lifelong friends and amazing faculty that taught me everything I needed to know to become a great doctor. The College is where Holly and I really fostered our friendship and relationship. With all these blessings, I could not have imagined going anywhere else.
HH: Everything. Ohio State is where I discovered who I was and what kind of person and doctor I wanted to be. Even though James and I both went to Michigan State for undergraduate, the College of Optometry is where we officially met, became friends, and three and a half years later started dating. It is the backdrop to the start of our family. Without it we wouldn’t be where we are today with our two wonderful kids.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
JH: I try to stay connected with the alumni association and I always enjoy reading the BuckEYE Optometry magazine. Also, social media posts keep me in the loop.
HH: I love seeing the posts from the College on social media and reading the updates in the BuckEYE magazine. I look forward to hopefully seeing a lot of our classmates at our 10-year reunion this year.
2020 is Optometry’s year! How are you making this year special?
JH: Outside of my corny 2020 jokes to patients, I hope to make the 10-hour journey back to the Upper Peninsula with the family this summer to show my children where I grew up.
HH: James and I plan to attend our 10-year class reunion at Ohio State.
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
JH: My first concert was Dave Matthews Band. My most recent was rocking it out on stage with Ohio State Optometry’s own "Bad Habits: The Eye Docs of Rock." I thought I sang extremely well but was informed later I might have been tone deaf. It was memorable to say the least!
HH: My first concert was George Strait and does my two-year-old singing the Frozen 2 soundtrack on repeat count for my most recent?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
JH: Mind Control. It would make the decisions of 1 or 2 much easier!
HH: Getting toddlers to sleep. Anywhere, for any length of time!
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
JH: There is no need to worry about your eyes because I’ll keep my eye on you. Patients always think it is funny.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
JH: A wealth manager or President of the United States of America.
HH: A book shop owner. A cozy book shop with a sandwich café located inside.