Alumni Focus on Katie Greiner (OD/MS'09)
DR. GREINER’S STORY
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
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?
Who wasn’t?! Seriously, from the staff, doctors and other students, there were so many surrounding mentors over four years and still now. Dr. Jeff Walline (OD, MS’98, PhD’02) was my OPT-7 advisor and I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Dr. Gil Pierce (OD’89, MS’92, PhD’94) was President of the OOA when I was there, and he helped engage me in leadership. Dr. Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD was and still is the epitome of what female leadership in optometry looks like and a true role model. Dr. Lisa Lex (OD’82) was the best clinical attending - teaching common sense ways to look at the patient and skills I now teach students today. Erica Johnson-Carder (OD/MS’07) was a student a few years ahead of me and inspired me to get involved with Student Council. Skyla, Joe and Frieda made clinical rotations fun and taught me the importance of how teamwork within the departments helps make excellent patient care happen. I am still thankful for all of you!
DR. GREINER’S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons, clinical optometrist and COO - Stow, Kent and Akron/Fairlawn
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I have a unique position in this OD/MD group practice and I love it. I provide patient care 50% of the week and do administrative work as the company’s COO the other 50% of the time. My clinical practice revolves around specialty lens fittings especially scleral lenses, LASIK consultations and post-operative care, ER visits, and comprehensive exams. As the COO, I handle hiring of doctors and staff, lead our marketing campaigns, managing clinic flow and scheduling, making sure clinical policies and procedures are being carried out properly and anything that might come up day to day. I am finishing my Healthcare MBA through Baldwin Wallace this spring and it has helped me expand upon my business knowledge to help benefit the practice. My job gives me a nice balance in the workplace to get to do something a little different every day.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Online eye exams and glasses sales as well as illegal contact lens sales. There’s no better time for patient education on the importance of an in-person dilated annual eye exam to properly measure one’s prescription and monitor/treat for pathology.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I always found eyes fascinating and I knew that I wanted a career in medicine but wasn’t too keen on blood and needles. I liked math and science and wanted a career that would challenge me in these areas. I was a patient of Dr. Dru Grant and Dr. Elizabeth Muckley (OD’97) when I got my first glasses and contact lenses and thought they were pretty impressive women with great confidence. My mom encouraged me greatly that I could be like them and from then on I wanted nothing more than to be an optometrist!
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I’d like to lecture more on the business side of optometry and ophthalmology. I want to make sure ODs know there are so many possible facets to working in optometry besides seeing patients and also help people realize how crucial the relationships with OMDs are for both parties. However, the only way I can stay relevant as the COO at my workplace is to be in the clinic seeing patients and working through the latest problems and concerns right there in the exam room. I want to maintain this type of balanced practice and continue my growth in the scleral lens world. I want to continue my involvement in local, state and national optometric leadership as well.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Network, network, network. Stay in touch with your professors, extern preceptors and classmates. I love being able to call one of them with a difficult patient case I need another opinion on or ask advice about what my next leadership or educational experience should be. I will never forget Dr. Walline’s advice that when you are at an optometric meeting to leave your name badge on everywhere you go so people know your name - even in the hotel bar!
DR. GREINER’S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
There are too many to list here! My class got really close really fast because we were in the Annex building while the optometry classrooms were being renovated. We had fun over there ordering Adriatico’s regularly, celebrating Shaheen Week ad convincing Dr. Earley to reschedule his tests to less stressful weeks (if that even was a thing!). Anything involving my time at Epision Psi Epsilon would top the list of great memories. I loved the EyeBall too and jumping in Mirror Lake during Michigan Week. Our graduation banquet featured the Eye Docs of Rock (which I would call myself a groupie) and I especially enjoyed when Adam Blacker (OD/MS’09) took the stage to sing “Bad Medicine.” I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
I get butterflies stepping onto campus or whenever I hear Hang on Sloopy or Carmen Ohio. I proudly deck myself (and my family) out in scarlet and gray regularly. The Ohio State University College of Optometry shaped my future and I can only hope that my kids will be Buckeyes someday (preferably optometric Buckeyes … they already have a Doc McStuffins ophthalmoscope and trial frame).
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
The Class of 2009 is quite a close group. We make sure to have yearly class reunions so we can all stay connected. I always go to the alumni receptions for Ohio State at the national meetings and try to make it to as many football games as I can. I am part of the alumni organization and give back to the school. I serve as an extern preceptor for fourth-year optometry students, so this really keeps me connected to thecollege.
DR. GREINER’S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?
Current volunteer work includes partnering our office with the Lebron James Family Foundation to provide free eyecare and eyewear to the wrap-around community, which means not only the students but also their siblings and caregivers in the home. It has been so fun to see these children put on their glasses for the first time and know our office helped to make such a difference in their lives when they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to care.
What was the first concert that you attended / most recent?
First concert - TLC (hearing “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” in person is still a highlight in my life)
Most recent - Justin Timberlake “Man of the Woods” - slightly obsessed with JT
What is your favorite activity during the holiday season?
Volunteering as an elf (I am the right height!) for the Polar Express and now getting to take my children on the train to get their bell from Santa
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Be in three places at once!
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
Why did the phone wear glasses? Because it lost all of its contacts!
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
A party planner. It’s my side hustle now ... limo anyone?