Alumni Focus on Jenny Fogt (OD'99)
DR. FOGT'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?
Dr. Joe Barr (OD’77, MS’79) was a great mentor. He wrote “Will you be a contact lens resident?” on the top of one of my contact lens tests. I kept it on my refrigerator for years – even though I didn’t do a contact lens residency. His confidence in me probably led to me to start fitting infant and pediatric contact lenses. Years later, that drove me back to Ohio State Optometry for the chance to work with him again. He is a brilliant person who sees the best in others and promotes people he believes in. I’ve learned a lot by being his student and working with him!
Dr. Joe Halabis (OD’82) at my externship at the Canton VA was a great mentor and taught me so much about ocular disease! Dr. Cynthia Heard (OD’92) inspired me to work hard and also to build great patient relationships when I was in Primary Vision Care Clinic. Marjorie (Jeandervin) Rah (OD/MS’95, PhD’00) gave me a lot of guidance in Contact Lens Clinic that made specialty contact lens fitting exciting.
DR. FOGT'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
The Ohio State University College of Optometry. I’ve been here for five years after practicing at a pediatric ophthalmology practice in Nationwide Children’s Hospital since graduation.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
My days as an optometrist now are filled with variety! If I’m in clinic, I’m generally fitting specialty contact lenses with my students, with a ton of kids on the schedule. I love working with children! On my research days, I’m working to keep studies running and begin new ones, too. I typically have five or more studies running at the same time, so I am happily hopping from dry eye, to contact lenses, and then to an ocular pharmaceutical study. I am really enjoying our current myopia control study. It is exciting be at the edge of innovation! I feel so fortunate to work with so many brilliant people and have so many opportunities.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
I am concerned that the availability of online glasses and contact lenses may give the public a false feeling that eye care isn’t important. Aside from the obvious need for health evaluations of the eye, most people don’t understand that a prescription with astigmatism likely won’t be correct for a child – or anyone – simply by giving a prescription and pupillary distance measurement over the internet. I’m worried about how online sales of glasses for amblyopic kids might undo the hard work that that patching and glasses wear have achieved! I talk to parents about this a lot, and we can all can double-check glasses for kids who are coming in regularly. But what about those patients who aren’t getting regular care?
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I love to help people – and optometry is such a great profession for making a difference! I always tell people that optometry is a happy profession. Treating amblyopia and fitting specialty contact lenses can ultimately change lives, and patients are so grateful for our help. Sometimes patients have been through some terrible ocular accidents. I’m happy to be able to fit specialty contact lenses to improve vision so they can resume life! Vision is so important, yet we all take it for granted until we have a problem!
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
Five years from now I’ll be taking care of eyes and running a ton of clinical studies to help all of us practice in the future
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Always work efficiently, and don’t be afraid to take on the difficult cases. Once you get a reputation as an optometrist who likes a challenge, you will build a practice based on your enthusiasm, effort and results. The patients who need the most help may take a little more chair time, but they will be some of your favorite people. We build such a bond with our patients, and those experiences make us proud to be optometrists.
DR. FOGT'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
One day in contact lens clinic I couldn’t find my attending and I had an ocular prosthetic patient on my schedule. I went up to Dean (John) Schoessler (BS’65, OD’66, MS’68, PhD’71)’s office and asked him for help because I knew he was an expert – not even thinking about the fact that he was … the DEAN! When I told him I needed help, he hopped up from his desk, grabbed a white coat from the rack and walked to contact lens clinic with me as if it was a normal occurrence. He was great, and I learned a lot, so I guess it was ok that I was naïve!
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
You can’t be much more of a Buckeye family than one with two graduates who are also current faculty! We are proud to be a part of it all – from enjoying the arts to sports. Our children, Mallory and Zachary, skate at the Ohio State ice rink regularly, so it’s not unusual to find us walking our dog around the Horseshoe in the evening while they are practicing. We are truly immersed in the Ohio State world.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
One of my favorite parts of attending conferences is the chance to see Ohio State Optometry alumni! I love the seeing friends at the alumni reception at AAO. I am fortunate that I have a great bunch of alumni friends who are near and far and we communicate on Facebook and by texts – although not nearly enough! I’d like to give a shout out to the Class of 1998 for inviting me to their fun, too, whenever they are in Columbus. It’s nice to have friends who are also busy working parents – because we can all relate to having a busy life but still wanting to be connected!
DR. FOGT'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
I am a personal secretary to two fabulous children who are active in so many activities. With them by my side, I have served as locker room mom for a synchronized skating team, a seamstress, a Girl Scout helper, a soccer mom, and a chauffeur, among many other fulfilling roles. I also enjoy playing the piano, riding my bike, hanging out with my ultra-cool book club and spending time with my extended family whenever I can!
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
My first concert was a Richard Marx concert at Muskingum College. I won tickets on the radio. My most recent show was a Taylor Swift Concert in the ‘Shoe for my daughter’s birthday. Between those two have been about 13 Rush concerts, since I’m married to the ultimate Rush fan!
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would love to have the power to teleport. It would really help to cut down on commute time and transportation.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
Tough question. The BEST pun? I can’t think of a pun that iconic. (Get it? Eye-conic???)
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
A musician. My family encouraged me to sing and play a lot of instruments growing up. It has given me a lot of happiness over the years!