Alumni Focus on Kevin Rodda (OD'18)
DR. RODDA'S STORY
Which institution did you attend for your undergraduate degree? What was your major?
Denison University in Granville, Ohio. I majored in Biochemistry and used my degree to work in a lab in Cincinnati before going back to school for optometry.
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?
Plenty of people. I did a lot of things at the college with student affairs, so I got to know Justin Greist, Becca Roby, Shawn Gilbert, Michael Haddock, and Jen Bennett well. I learned a lot from them about the college, and they helped me make many connections to other ODs that extended beyond the classroom.
I was also part of the first class of “SocialEyes” students, and my group leader, Dr. Jackie Davis, was an early mentor. Dr. Davis would organize our small group and give us the opportunity to step away from classes a bit and explore something unique in Columbus, get to know fellow classmates, and generally make sure we all were doing well.
All the attendings I had throughout school also had large impacts on my education. My exam and refraction styles are certainly a hybrid of their exam styles. I tried to take what I liked and adapt it for my own use.
DR. RODDA'S CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Razzano Vision Care at various Target Opticals around Columbus and Lume Family Eyecare in Worthington.
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
Most of my days are centered around routine exams and updating glasses and contact lens prescriptions. I will have medical visits from time to time and I really enjoy those as they are often a puzzle to be solved and help break up the day from routine visits.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Scope issues get the big headlines, but the cost of education is a big concern of mine. The debt load of students coming out of school, myself included, these days is very high and makes it harder to, or want to, be able to take on additional debt to buy into a practice.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
Out of undergrad I knew I wanted to go back to school but didn’t know what for. I looked at a lot of medical-related fields but ultimately, I ended up with optometry because I’m nearsighted, I thought the eyes are cool (which they totally are), and the profession provided a work-life setup that I liked.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I think my career will look relatively the same as it does today although I’m hopeful that I can continue to become more involved in optometry-related things outside of the exam room.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT-IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
You know your stuff. Ohio State has trained you well and trust what you see on clinical exam. But also, don’t be afraid to use your resources to help you figure things out. I consult with a classmate of mine all the time who sees more disease than I do. I also reference Wills Eye Manual probably at least a couple times a month. Patients don’t expect you to be an encyclopedia and know everything, they want you to be honest with them and know that you are doing everything you can to help them.
DR. RODDA'S OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
The Ohio State-Michigan game in 2016 at the 'Shoe. Rushing the field after the OT win was a blast.
Ordering what was probably excessive amounts of Chinese food with my study group ahead of big midterms.
The week-long trip my friends and I took to Charleston, South Carolina after graduation. We rented a mini-van for the week so we all drove together from Columbus, and it was a great trip to celebrate graduation and all the hard work we had put in over the last four years before moving off to various parts of the country.
What do Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
Ohio State means a lot. It provided me with the education I desired and the opportunity to have the career I wanted. I bet I would have done well at a different school, but Ohio State was the right fit for me and I’m grateful for the wonderful education I received there.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
I stay connected by donating to the college and attending the alumni receptions at national conferences when I’m able to attend. Although this is university-wide rather than College of Optometry-specific, I am participating in this year’s Volunteer Leadership Academy at Ohio State.
What has the COVID-19 experience taught you about patient care?
We’re all on our electronic devices too much. I’m guilty of it too, but the amount of time I spend talking with patients about ways to manage their eye strain and fatigue or their dry eye symptoms has increased significantly from a couple years ago. Perhaps more concerning is already seeing some of these issues in high schoolers or even younger kids. I don’t have an answer for the issue but will be interested to see if things improve or worsen over the next handful of years.
DR. RODDA'S FUN FACTS
What are your current hobbies, volunteer work and interests?
Outside of patient care, my partner and fellow classmate Erica Shelton and I spend a lot of time raising our 15-month-old yellow Lab, Karla. She is a reassigned Pilot Dog who loves squirrels a little too much to help visually impaired people, but we still love her. And for the records, she came to us with the name Karla – we did not name her after the Dean, but we like the coincidence. Besides our dog, we go camping about once a month in the summer and enjoy traveling and seeing family throughout the year.
What is a fun fact about you?
I used to officiate high school basketball games. I started officiating back in high school for the local rec league and then after college got my official license and worked my way up to doing JV basketball games. I stopped after going back to optometry school and life got too busy.
What’s the best eye pun you’ve ever heard?
These puns just keep getting cornea and cornea.
If not an optometrist, I would be…
I would say engineer, but I didn’t like nor do well enough in Calculus to probably actually be an engineer. I think being a pilot would be an interesting career but I’m also too much of a homebody to want to travel that much. Optometry it is, I suppose!