Alumni Focus on Jeremy Lamb (OD’08)
DR. LAMB'S STORY
Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree?
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah
What was your major?
Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?
Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry?
Dr. Michael Earley, who I worked with as a histology tutor for first years, the late Dr. Gil Pierce who introduced our class to what a full eye exam means, Dr. Nick Fogt whose retinal lectures still resonate in my clinical practice today.
Who had a positive effect on your education?
The clinical professors I had who forged my young skills and helped me translate didactic learning into practical knowledge to apply in the exam room. These included Dr. Melissa Bailey, Dr. Cynthia Heard, Dr. Jacqueline Davis, Dr. Bob Newcomb, and many others I am sure I am forgetting.
DR. LAMB'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
U.S. Navy, current rank: Commander, current positions: Staff Optometrist, and Hospital Electronic Health Record Modernization Director. Current location is Naval Hospital Rota Spain, which is located on the Spanish Base Naval de Rota. Rota is located in the Southern Spain region of Andalucía. I also have been stationed at the following bases: Naval Medical Center San Diego; Naval Brach Clinic Portsmouth in Kittery, ME; Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune in North Carolina; Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton near Oceanside, CA. I have deployed twice on Humanitarian missions in Thailand as part of Operation Cobra Gold, and Cameroon as part of Africa Partnership Station Cameroon.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
Currently I see patients in the clinic half days mostly Monday through Friday. I see a wide range of patients from birth to the grave. There is no American ophthalmologist stationed here, so optometry is the go-to for all ocular emergencies for the Americans stationed here and their families. We take calls from the ER, practice optometry to the fullest scope, and coordinate care with Spanish ophthalmologists for the few cases we cannot handle in house. The rest of my time is spent guiding the hospital staff through the rollout of our new electronic health record system called MHS Genesis. This is a massive undertaking and requires full cooperation with departments from across the hospital including Pharmacy, Laboratory, Radiology, Inpatient Services, Birthing Services, and many others.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Currently I manage a lot of glaucoma. There is a large population of American veterans who decided to retire in Spain. We provide eye care for them and treat a lot of eye disease that comes with patients in that age range. I am also becoming more interested in Myopia Management. Typically, most Navy clinics do not see children or teenagers as patients, so myopia progression is not something that has really been on our radar. If myopia progression can be slowed, that can lead to a huge improvement in the readiness for duty and quality of life of our young military service members.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I was interested in a medical career as a college student. My brother-in-law was a pre-med student, so I decided to start taking classes with him. Around this time two things happened - I got a job at an optometrist’s office and my wife got a serious eye infection. I became fascinated with the eye and really liked the optometrists I worked for and their lifestyle. The rest as they say is history.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
Five years from now I will likely be retired from active service in the Navy after 20 years, and hopefully working in a private practice somewhere close to family.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Don’t be afraid. I remember being a freshly graduated OD, and the Navy put me by myself in a small clinic that serviced a large number of sailors. I was petrified. Ohio State provides a world-class optometric education. I was ready and I didn’t know it. Ohio State prepares students well for practicing optometry to the fullest extent. Trust your education, but don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. The strongest clinicians know their limitations and asking for help or referring a patient is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of a great clinician.
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
That evidence-based medicine really is the standard, and you have to be willing to move where the evidence leads. Being in Military Medicine really provides opportunities most optometrists would never have. During COVID I was asked to run our external COVID clinic at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. This was an outdoor clinic set up in tents we normally use when deployed to combat zones. We were constantly shifting treatments and quarantine recommendations as research progressed. It really taught me that no matter your personal beliefs, biases, or prior clinical knowledge you must go where the evidence leads.
DR. LAMB'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
Mostly my classmates. The Class of 2008 was really the best. I remember late night excursions over to the University Hospital to get Wendy’s during study sessions. Foosball with friends to help relieve the stress of tough exams. One of our professors accidentally giving us the test key with the answers, instead of the exam. Spending our first year at TBDOITL (alternate site while construction was underway at the college). We were in the basement of an old church. I think I got that acronym correct. It was coined by Dr. Bob Newcomb. Being separated from the college really helped our class become close.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
Ohio State is a way of life for us. My kids know how to respond when someone says O-H! We love to keep up with Ohio State sports, especially football. My son was accepted into Ohio State for undergrad, and although he decided to go elsewhere Ohio State was a top choice for him.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Moving constantly with military service, it can be difficult to stay connected and attend alumni events. I follow the College on social media platforms. I try to donate when I can. I stay connected with my classmates (again class of 2008 is the best!).
DR. LAMB'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
I enjoy music immensely. I play the piano, drums, and guitar. I’m currently trying to get my kids music skills up so we can form a family band. I volunteer with my church as a leader, as a musician, and as a teacher.
What is your nickname?
Everyone at school called me Lambert.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh. Telling dad jokes is one of my favorite parts of being a father.
If not an optometrist, I would be …
Before I decided to go into a medical career, I was a music major. I was thinking about becoming a band teacher or a music therapist.