Alumni Focus on Jennifer Mattson (OD'06)
DR. MATTSON'S STORY
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 had so many great attendings and instructors at Ohio State, it is hard to choose. I feel that Nicky Lai (OD/MS'03), Eric Ritchey (OD'01, MS'03, PhD'11) and Sandy Anderson (OD'82) were very influential in my clinical education and helped shape me into the optometrist I am today as well as how I work as an attending at Ohio State.
DR. MATTSON'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Owner and Clinic Director of Galloway Eye Care Professionals, Inc. in Galloway, Ohio and The EyeSite of Dublin in Dublin, Ohio. I started Galloway Eye Care cold in 2006 after graduation and acquired EyeSite last year.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
My days are pretty varied, as I am now managing two practices. So every chance I get between patients, I am doing administrative duties to keep both practices running and growing. I also tend to see about 50-60% pediatric and binocular vision patients, including referrals for amblyopia and acquired brain injury, so there is quite a bit of letter writing that accompanies those type of patients. I am fortunate to have an intern in my office once per week and I am an attending in BVP at the college – so teaching fourth-year optometry students keeps me on my toes. I am also very active as a RealEyes presenter for the Ohio Optometric Association.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
I am most concerned with children’s vision, especially the treatment of amblyopia and binocular vision disorders such as CI, as well as advocacy for ABI patients to receive optometric vision therapy. I have had so many patients whose lives have been changed for the better once completing therapy for these ailments. It always makes me sad when I see a child who has been struggling to read since first or second grade and I don’t get them until middle or high school or an ABI patient who has been trying to get back to work and can’t tolerate computer or near work and has been told, “this is your new normal." It is so rewarding to help them improve their function and vision as an optometrist! I just wish we could spread the word more quickly and loudly.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I felt that optometry was a really good fit for me because I was a science/math nerd but medicine did not appeal to me (needles, blood, vomit = yuck!). I had never even considered a career in optometry, even though I had worn glasses since third grade. After some research and shadowing, I got a part-time job as an optometric technician and I really loved it. So I joined the pre-optometry club at Ohio State and the rest is history.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I would like to have two stable and healthy practices and be doing more patient care and less administrative work. I also would like to continue teaching optometry students.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Always keep your mind open to learning new things about the practice of optometry and remember that this is a dynamic profession. Never stop learning and try to find the joy in your work.
DR. MATTSON'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
The feeling of family I had with my class and how supportive they were of me when I was pregnant with Michael during first year – who is turning 16 in April. I especially loved that we got together before Christmas break each year and had a “white elephant” gift exchange. Also, our fourth year was great as so many members of the class were starting or adding to their families – we had quite the baby boom in 2006. I was pregnant with Cassie when we graduated.
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
The college is my extended family, without a doubt. As busy as I am with my own practices, I can’t imagine giving up the day that I come to the college each week to spend with my interns and fellow attendings. They have been a tremendous support to me during both good and bad times in my life, professionally and personally. The friendships I have made here over the years are true and lasting.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Since I am here every week that is pretty easy to do. I also employ several optometric students in my practice as technicians and vision therapists, which also helps. Plus, I enjoy following what’s going on at the college on Facebook and Instagram.
DR. MATTSON'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
When I am not at my office, my kids keep me pretty busy. Michael, our son, is now 16 and is very active in marching band and drama club at his high school. Cassie, our daughter, will be 13 in June and is a competitive Irish dancer who just achieved preliminary championship level. Between competitions and performances for both kids, we are always on the go. My family really enjoys travel and the kids, Ryan, and I are very big Disney fans – so we visit every chance we get.
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
My first real concert I went to was Huey Lewis and the News; my husband, Ryan, (25 years) took me to that concert on a date before we were married. My most recent concert will be Sister Hazel at Epcot when we are there next week.
What are you looking forward to the most with springtime around the corner?
Time outside with the family – I love grilling out and spending the weekends by the pool.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The ability to have super human organizational skills and add an extra hour or two to each day.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
I really like the ones in the Rhet and Tina RealEyes program, “Na IS my last name, my name is Rhet Na!” I still chuckle at that every time I present it.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
A professional pastry chef or I would own a breakfast/lunch diner.