Alumni Focus on Stephanie Mastores (OD'09)
DR. MASTORES’ STORY
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?
Dr. Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD has had a huge impact on me as a woman in the profession. She is the epitome of work/life balance. Dr. Jackie Davis (OD’81) showed me the joy of giving back. I worked with her at the homeless clinic and I went home every day with a smile on my face knowing we had helped people in need. I admire her gentle approach and again I feel she is an amazing example of a strong woman in optometry.
Dr. Greg Nixon (OD’96) mentored me during my rotations when I moved out to Arizona. He was my link back to Ohio State and also shared private practice wisdom with me.
Mr. Shawn Curtner is one of my favorite people in the world. His positive attitude is contagious. I loved seeing him walking quickly through the hallways, always on a mission, putting out fires. He showed me that administration, while challenging, can be done with a smile on your face.
Lastly, the staff in the Eyewear Gallery. I loved being in there. I learned so much about frame selection, lens choices, frame board management, billing, trunk shows, dealing with patient complaints and on and on. It’s one thing to write a prescription but it’s in the end product that we truly change people’s lives.
DR. MASTORES’ CAREER IN OPTOMETRY
Name of your employer(s) and title, including location.
Central Phoenix EyeCare, Phoenix, AZ
Give us a glimpse of your typical day as an optometrist.
I am truly a primary care eye physician. I see a little bit of everything. I see patients of all ages, from InfantSEE on up. We use the latest technology to give the patients a unique and tailored experience. My staff knows I love a good red eye or foreign body removal. I do a lot of contact lenses and treat a lot of dry eye due to the desert environment we live in.
Which optometric issues concern you the most?
Vision and health insurance decreasing reimbursements and not doing what is best for the patient. High costs of medications and insurance companies undermining treatment plans. Many times a day I am forced to change what I think is best for a patient due to the insurance or pharmacy plans. The doctor can’t be a doctor; we have to have a PhD in reading fine print and end up giving away our valuable services for free just to do what is right.
Why did you choose a career in optometry?
I wanted to have a career where I could help people every day. I was drawn to optometry so that I could have your own small business. Helping people see better is super rewarding and if you have to look at a part of the body all day long, the eye is so beautiful and unique.
Where do you hope to see your optometric career in five years?
I dream of opening a second location, but I also dream of fewer hours and less stress. I’d like to really dig in with dry eye and aesthetics. But mostly I want to maintain what I have. I’ve been at my practice for seven years and I have seen kids grow and adults change careers. I look forward to seeing my patients each year to catching up on their lives.
What is one piece of advice you can give OPT IV students as they prepare to graduate and begin their optometric careers?
Try everything and do not give up on what you want. You do not need to settle. There are so many different practice settings you can work in. Try them all and see what fits. Do not discount your professional fees. You worked hard for the knowledge that you have and it is important not to undermine it with $30 exams. People need and want your expertise. Go ahead and discount products – glasses, contacts, etc. But you are an optometric doctor, the keeper of eyeball health. Do what is right. Oh, and know that retinoscopy is your friend. It’s our superpower!
DR. MASTORES’ OHIO STATE EXPERIENCE
What were your most memorable moments at Ohio State?
It’s weird I primarily remember things that scared me or I failed at. I think that is because every one of those situations made me a better person and better doctor. My class had a unique situation where we had our first year in another building across campus from the optometry school. I remember I failed a physiology midterm that I studied so hard for. I was upset and went to the Starbucks nearby. Two of my classmates saw me crying and came over to comfort and commiserate with me. I am happy to say those are two of my very best friends to this day.
What does Ohio State and the College of Optometry mean to you and your family?
I bleed scarlet and gray. I am super proud to be a BuckEYE. The college and university have an amazing reputation and I think people respect me more for having my degrees from Ohio State, even in Arizona where we have two huge state universities. I am happy to say my husband has an impressive Ohio State wardrobe even though he is an ASU graduate.
How do you stay connected with the College of Optometry?
I have the BEST alumni group! The second I moved to Phoenix I joined the Young Buckeyes of Phoenix. It helped me have instant friends and countless resources. Our club is so much fun! We have had the privilege of hosting many Fiesta Bowls. I was the captain of our kickball team – New Kicks on the Block O, for many years. Optometry-wise, I try to catch The Bad Habits whenever I can. I also go on an annual VOSH mission to Grenada, West Indies, with my optometry besties.
DR. MASTORES’ FUN FACTS
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Living in Arizona, I am able to do most things outside. We have outdoor heaters in the winter and misters in the summer. I like to drink wine on patios. I also love to go camping. There’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire with loved ones.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would like to be able to take away people’s pain.
If not an optometrist, I would be ...
A vascular surgeon. It’s a specialty I think is really incredible, like how do they do what they do?