Alumni Focus on Kenneth Boltz (OD’85)
DR. BOLTZ’S STORY
Martins Ferry, 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?
I worked with Dr. Paulette Schmidt (OD’73, MS’76) in the Infant Vision Clinic - she stirred my passion for pediatrics ever since. I also greatly admired Dr. John Schoessler (OD’66, MS’68, PhD’71) - his professionalism, his soft spoken manor and his strong faith.
I worked part time with Dr. William Quelette (OD’71) in Dublin when I was a student. He welcomed me into his practice when I graduated and taught me so much about running a practice. My wife Kim worked in Dublin when I was an optometry student - one of her co-workers was a patient of Dr. Quelette. I always say, if God hadn't helped her get that job, we would never have been in Dublin.
DR. BOLTZ’S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
I have been a self-employed OD since I graduated; I love working for myself.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I spend most of my time seeing patients of all ages. About 50% of my patients are contact lens wearers. As a solo OD, I also manage my practice - everything from payroll to marketing to staff management and more. But I love it!
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
I think private practice optometry will survive long into the future but with ongoing changes. Managed care will see to that. I do think Vision Source is one of the strengths of private practice – it’s great to be part of a large organization but also run my own office.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I needed my first pair of glasses at age seven and I wasn't a very good glasses wearer. When I was able to get contact lenses in middle school, I was hooked. I knew from that time on that I wanted to be an optometrist.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I would hope to be still seeing patients just like today, working alongside my outstanding staff, many of whom I have worked with for decades. I love optometry and even in my old age, I hope to still work a few days per week. My soon-to-be 13-year-old daughter wants to become an optometrist, and I would love to hand off my practice to her one day.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Get out and meet other ODs - networking is the best way to find a great practice to work in or purchase.
DR. BOLTZ’S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
I remember learning retinoscopy – it’s still one of my favorite tests we do.
I recall Dr. Jack King's difficult but interesting anatomy classes; I remember Dr. Richard Hill's challenging tests - if you were in the top five or the bottom five on a test, you had to go in and talk with him.
I remember working part time at the front desk - a great way to learn about staffing.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
I feel very thankful to have attended THE Ohio State University College of Optometry - it was a spectacular place to learn the career I love. It has allowed me to provide for my family with a flexible schedule.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
I enjoy all of the publications from OSU - magazine, emails from Dr. Karla, attending meetings and more.
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
Patients want to come and see us in person - that is such a privilege. Many times a long-term patient just wants a friendly ear to listen - and if we can improve their vision, even better.
DR. BOLTZ’S FUN FACTS
Tell us about your first-ever eye exam.
I remember in second grade that we were going to the nurse to have our vision screened, and I knew I wasn't seeing very well. I stood in line awaiting my turn, trying to memorize what the kids in front of me said. It didn't work and before long I had my first pair of glasses. They were a gold wire frame from Dr. Leon Favede (OD’77) in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Dr. Favede was my mentor and the reason I became an OD.
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
Being a Dad is my favorite hobby, participating in activities at church, and I love to travel.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
"Have a spec-tacular birthday"
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
I think I would enjoy being an elementary teacher or a travel agent. I love working with children and I love to travel.