Alumni Focus on Jay Henry (OD/MS’98)
DR. HENRY'S STORY
Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree?
The Ohio State University
What was your major?
Biochemistry – but I entered optometry school after my second year of undergrad.
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?
I was surrounded by so many great people at Ohio State, but I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Nick Fogt on my master’s degree research project and thesis. He really inspired me to be a great student and to enjoy research and was an amazing person to learn from. I would also say Drs. Greg Nixon, Mike Earley and Joe Barr had an incredibly positive impact on my learning and striving to be a great clinician and student. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Mike Polasky, who taught us all of our clinical skills.
DR. HENRY'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location. Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I am a partner and president of Hermann & Henry Eyecare in Pickerington, Ohio. My typical day has changed over the past 25 years, and honestly it is never the same. I usually start seeing patients at 7:00 a.m., leave for a lunch break and finish up between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. most days. I practice full scope optometry and see patients in age from newborn to elderly. Every day brings something different and unique. I see comprehensive eye exams, specialty contact lens fits, medical eye exams – glaucoma, dry eye, all sorts of emergencies. Outside of seeing patients, I have set administration hours every week where I work on staff and business development as well as business administration. I also work on continuing education lectures and consult with numerous optometric companies during my administration time.
What do eye health and eye care mean for you?
Eye health and eye care are everything to me. I want all of my patients to know that they can come to me for any and all of their eye health and eye care needs. I am happy to be the one person everyone in our community thinks of when anyone has an eye problem or question. I have been lucky enough to watch many kids grow up and help them see the world better. I have been able to work with many struggling students via vision therapy and watch them blossom over the years in school, college and careers. I have been fortunate or maybe unfortunate enough to catch numerous major medical issues for patients from impending, to actually happening in our office, strokes and too many brain tumors to count as well as major ocular injuries. Many of these patient return to see me every year and suggest I saved their lives. I always remind them I am just doing my job and am so happy that I was able to help them and to get them to the proper care that truly did save their lives!
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
A number of issues concern me in our profession. I think recent graduate student debt is a large concern. I am also concerned about the large conglomerates that own frame lines, lenses, labs, and insurance companies and how they can impact our profession in so many negative ways.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I had a really good experience with my optometrist as a child which got me thinking about optometry. Heading into college, I knew I wanted to help people and be some sort of doctor. I was fortunate enough to shadow some great optometrists as a college student and after spending time with Dr. Albright, Dr. Schnulo, Dr. Zigler and Dr. Dixon and watching how they interacted with their patients and staff, it was obvious this was a career for me.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I absolutely love what I do each and every day. I hope to be doing the same thing in five years but with continued growth and improvement with better technology and innovation.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Get ready for a fun ride and a great profession. Ohio State has prepared you well but never stop learning and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your past professors, clinic instructors, or new colleagues. Surround yourself with great support and experts in the areas you are not (whether in eye care or business). Get involved in organized optometry and the community you practice in.
DR. HENRY'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
Well I have to say Epsilon Psi Epsilon, since I served as president. The EYE house had so many great events. Long-lasting memories from the fun run and after party, pledge activities, dinners at the house, house renovations, and many parties. It was a chance to get to know many students from different classes as well as some faculty outside the classroom. My other great memories are from the annual optometry student ski trip to Holiday Valley in New York which was always an incredible time as well as attending AOSA meetings and local Ohio Optometric Association annual meetings where I met so many awesome Ohio State Alumni.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
Ohio State means so much to our family. My wife, Dr. Julie Henry (OD’99), and I met while in optometry school at Ohio State, so it will always be dear to our family. We are both proud to be Buckeyes and support the University and College of Optometry in every way possible. Ohio State has such great academics and traditions and we now have our two children, Jacob and Jillian, as current students at Ohio State. It is so much fun watching them enjoy their time as Buckeyes and this of course has renewed our Ohio State passion as well as spirit and allowed us to spend much more time on campus!
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
I stay connected with the college in a number of ways. Currently, I am the treasurer of The Ohio State Optometry Alumni Society. This keeps me up to date on all the activities at the college and allows me to interact with the students, faculty and staff on a regular basis. I also continue to serve as a preceptor as part of the primary care extern rotations for the fourth-year students which provides a continued look into how the students are learning and feeling about the college. I also make an effort to attend as many national optometric meetings as possible and catch up with Ohio State alumni while there.
DR. HENRY'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
My current hobbies are traveling, spending time outdoors, spending time with my family and coaching as well as playing soccer.
What is your nickname? (Or another fun, random fact about you)
When I was a child my nickname was Red because then I actually had hair and it was bright red! As a fun fact, I was a co-creator of three national optometric lecture series, and we were privileged to speak in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
What did the left eye say to the right eye? “Between you and me, something smells!”
If not an optometrist, I would be …
A professional soccer player … Okay maybe not good enough for that, but I bet I could be a pilot so I could continue my travels.