Alumni Focus on Kelsey Doering (OD’17) and Ben Doering (OD’17)
THE STORY OF DRS. KELSEY AND BEN DOERING
Dr. Kelsey: Hannibal, Ohio
Dr. Ben: Massillon, Ohio
Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?
Dr. Ben: The University of Akron, Major - Biochemistry (I actually do not have an undergraduate degree) Dr. Kelsey: The Ohio State University, Biology
Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?
Dr. Ben: OD’17
Dr. Kelsey: OD’17
Who were your mentors at the College of Optometry? Who had a positive effect on your education?
Dr. Ben: It’s difficult to name just a few because there were many great instructors at the College of Optometry who influenced my education. Dr. Aaron Zimmerman was a positive role model when I was at Ohio State. I was the Sports Vision Club’s vice president, so I got to work closely with him. He was so knowledgeable in the clinical practice of optometry, and I drew so much practical information from him that I still rely on today. Dr. Nicky Lai was another mentor who helped me learn how to expertly fit specialty contact lenses, which I have a strong interest in at my practice. Working with him definitely got me excited about handling the toughest of fits and his teaching style and demeanor were incredible. Lastly, I cannot forget to mention Dr. Mike Earley, who helped shape my education from his neuro class first year all the way to one of my last clinicals in fourth year, BV/Peds clinic. He was someone I always looked up to at the college. I still remember some of those crazy mnemonics he taught us in neuro!
Dr. Kelsey: Dr. Joan Nerderman was one of my biggest mentors. I worked with her on Remote Area Medical (RAM) mission trips in undergrad and felt like I learned so much from her. Dr. Dawn Goedde was my first attending, and I feel like her guidance made me feel really confident working with patients. She provided me with a great foundation for clinical experience. I always felt prepared for practicals thanks to her expert instruction. Speaking of mentors, I have to mention Dr. Matt Ingram (OD’05). I worked with him at his private practice in Marietta, Ohio right after graduation. He was always so willing to help me if I had any questions regarding patients and also helped Ben and I navigate running a private practice. I will always be grateful for my time working with him.
CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Dr. Ben: I own a private practice named Doering Vision Center. I am the owner/optometrist and have a lot of help from Kelsey! In 2018 I purchased an established satellite clinic located in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Then in 2020 I cold-started a branch location in my hometown of Massillon. Owning a business and practicing optometry has its challenges but I would not be doing it any other way.
Dr. Kelsey: Doering Vision Center, Optometrist, mostly in our Massillon office but I will occasionally fill in for Ben at our New Philadelphia location.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
Dr. Ben: I get up early and start the coffee. I like to use the time before work to get stuff done around the house or work out at our local rec center. Patients start at 9:00 and I see two or three comprehensive exams an hour plus any checks or medicals. Lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. (you need a break working this type of profession). I do yard work in the summer quite often on my break and sometimes go on a short run. Work goes until around 5 p.m. Direct patient care is part of my time and the rest is running a growing optical. I do everything myself (with help from Kelsey) from bookkeeping to selecting frames for the boards. We are small enough that this is still possible, I am a very hands-on owner. When I get home I spend most of the evening with Kelsey and our baby Charlotte! Jeopardy is a tradition on weekdays. After Charlotte goes to bed I usually fall asleep on the couch around 10:30 p.m. and Kelsey wakes me up to get to bed.
Dr. Kelsey: Since our daughter, Charlotte, was born last year my typical day has really changed! It was extremely important to us to be home with our baby and we are fortunate enough that I am able to stay home with Charlotte. Right now, I go in to work half a day a week and at this time Ben is home with her. On my typical work day I wake up when Charlotte wakes me, nurse her, change her, and set her up to play. Once she’s taken care of I have a cup of tea and breakfast then get her breakfast ready. We read books and play until it’s nap time. Once I put her down for her nap I get ready, have lunch, and then head to the office to see patients. On days I don’t have to go in to see patients I help take care of staff scheduling, payroll, inventory, office social media, and anything I can do from home to help the office run smoothly.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Dr. Ben: The ever growing presence of online optical sales, which in my opinion is threatening the quality of care that our patients are getting. It is tragic to see the decline of independent optometry through the rise of mega optical corporations that care more about profits than patient health and well being. I am hopeful that brick and mortar locations will make a comeback.
Dr. Kelsey: Pediatric vision, specifically kids who need glasses and do not get them either because their parents don’t know they are having trouble seeing or don’t take them for their eye exam. One of my extern locations was the Oyler School in Cincinnati, and I think that was so valuable for the students who got to come in and have a free eye exam and get glasses if they needed them. I have been in contact with the Ohio Optometric Foundation to participate in the iSee (In-School Eye Exam) program, which provides comprehensive eye exams and corrective lenses to economically and academically vulnerable students throughout Ohio and am hoping to do that this spring in my hometown.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
Dr. Ben: I did not want to be a dentist. I thought optometry would be a cool career that would allow me to keep up on my other interests and have a great family life, which was exactly right.
Dr. Kelsey: I knew I wanted to be some type of doctor from a young age. When I was in high school I went in to shadow my optometrist and there was a man who came in and could not see the big E at the top of the chart. At that point I didn’t know someone’s vision could be “that bad.” Once the doctor put the phoropter in front of him and he could see 20/20 clearly, I was amazed! Seeing how big of an impact a pair of glasses could make on someone’s life was incredible. That’s how I decided helping people see is what I wanted to do!
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
Dr. Ben: Growing the practice locations and exploring more volunteer opportunities.
Dr. Kelsey: In five years I’m hoping both of our offices move closer to seeing patients more frequently throughout the week and Ben and I will both be busy helping patients see better!
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Dr. Ben: Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone when starting this new journey. There will be many opportunities that come your way when graduating from Ohio State, so get out there and find out what you like. Be patient and keep your eyes open for when your chance comes to you.
Dr. Kelsey: Find a practice that you fit into and are truly happy at. Being an optometrist is a great career for people who want to have a family and life apart from work. Make time to do things that make you happy and find a workplace that allows you to do that!
OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
Dr. Ben: The start of our all optometrist rock band: The Band Keratopathy. It all began with an idea to get all of the musicians in our class to ‘jam’ together. After a few sessions we thought maybe this thing will work. We debuted at the Private Practice Club’s talent show and absolutely blew the roof off the place. After that, The Band was a mainstay at the EYE (Epsilon Psi Epsilon) house, performing for parties and tailgates. We have hopes of a reunion tour someday, stay tuned.
Dr. Kelsey: Football season was always my favorite time of year at Ohio State. Tailgates, going to the games, doing O-H-I-O in The ‘Shoe, and rushing the field when we won are just some of my favorite memories!
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
Dr. Ben: It really means everything. My childhood dream of being a Buckeye came true and I met the love of my life.
Dr. Kelsey: If it wasn’t for Ohio State and the College of Optometry specifically, Ben and I probably would have never met, so it means everything to our family!
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
Dr. Ben: I really enjoy reading the alumni magazine and follow the college on social media. Continuing education sometimes presents an opportunity to reconnect with fellow alumni.Dr. Kelsey: I follow the college’s social media pages, read the alumni magazine, and sometimes stop in to check things out when we are in Columbus. Dean Zadnik takes the time to send us letters for important events in our life, like our wedding and when Charlotte was born!
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
Dr. Ben: I learned to not take my work for granted. I noticed how much I missed not taking care of patients during my time off in the start of the pandemic. It put my daily grind into a whole new perspective.
Dr. Kelsey: People are always going to need to see! Even during a worldwide pandemic eye problems happen, glasses break, and people run out of contacts. Optometry will always be needed!
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
Dr. Ben: There aren’t many things that I don’t do. I have a full microbrewery in our basement/garage. I brew all types of beer and even grow hops in our backyard. Woodworking and carpentry are a hobby of mine. I like to build things and even renovated our newest office location. Skiing has become my favorite winter sport since I started when I was in optometry school. I have a passion for the outdoors. I love fishing (I have a Lake Erie walleye boat), hunting, hiking, and camping. If I’m not in the office you can find me outside. Golf is really growing on me, I play about once a week in the summer. I run, bike, and lift weights to stay in shape for all the things I love to do. Playing the organ and singing in the choir at church. I've been involved with vision mission trips to Haiti and RAM trips to Appalachia.
Dr. Kelsey: Crafting with my Cricut, reading, skiing, SCUBA diving, traveling, and trying to be a great mama!
What is a fun, random fact about you?
Dr. Ben: My first language was German and I had to learn English in preschool. My mother was from Switzerland where they speak a German dialect. I have been going to Switzerland/Germany annually since I was born.
Dr. Kelsey: At one point I wanted to be an Egyptologist and learned how to read and write in ancient hieroglyphics!
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
Dr. Ben: What do you call a deer with no eye? No-Eye-Deer!!
Dr. Kelsey: What did the right eye say to the left eye? “Between you and me, there’s something that smells.”
If not an optometrist, I would be …
Dr. Ben: Probably a fishing charter captain or a custom carpenter.
Dr. Kelsey: In reality, a photographer. In my dreamland, a SCUBA instructor in a tropical paradise!