puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

Sana Owais. OD, F.A.A.O 

Dr. Sana Owais completed both her Optometry degree and her residency in low vision rehabilitation from the University of Waterloo. During her optometry training she was recognized with the FYidoctors Practice Excellence Scholarship and the Gold Key International Optometric Honour Society Award. She also received her Fellowship with the American Academy of Optometry (F.A.A.O) designation.

Previously she completed a Honours B.Sc. degree from McMaster University where she graduated summa cum laude and with Deans’ Honour. She is currently providing care to patients in Mississauga and Brampton. In her free time she likes to go on hikes and explore new geographical sites. 

 What is something you have done in your practice to set you apart? 

Although not very uncommon, I have designed and collected informational sheets and brochures for patients on common topics (e.g. dry eye, ocular allergies, hordeola, flashes/floaters) and I give them to the patients when I am educating them on their visual concern. I feel it is important for patients to leave with written information in case they forget something, there is a language barrier, or if they feel over-whelmed with all of the information delivered during the exam. Therefore, they have a hard copy of written material to take home and review on their own time.

What metrics do you track in order to gauge your success?

We can improve only what we measure. One metric I measure is related to contact lenses. For example, I track the number of contact lens fits, types of fit (toric, multifocal, coloured lenses), most popular contact lens brand, and most popular contact lens modality. In the future I am aiming to track contact lens capture rate, revenue per contact lens fit, and revenue per contact lens sale. It is important to track metrics in order to maintain a healthy business and evaluate trends.

What business books would you recommend other ECPs read? 

I haven’t read these optometry business books myself yet, but they are on my reading list:

  • 201 Secrets of a High-Performance Optometric Practice by Bob Levoy
  • But I Don’t Sell: An Eye Care Professional’s Guide to Being More Persuasive, Influential and Successful by Steve Vargo
  • Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp

What advice would you give a new grad today? 

I would recommend to learn to how to do a basic eye exam in the top five most commonly spoken languages in the area you practice. Connecting with patients and their families in their native language really opens doors for building patient rapport and building more referrals.

Last indulgence? 

My last random indulgence was Subi Super juice from the supplements aisle at Wholefoods grocery store. It is a pulverized  powder of 20+ vegetables (mostly greens). Although, the taste was unpalatable at first, it has grown on me! I feel of all of the powdered superfoods I have tried before, this one has improved my energy levels and digestion the most.  I look forward to breakfast every morning!

Favorite past-time/hobby? 

My new favourite hobby is making mocktails. I’m learning how to make virgin mojitos, coquitos, and watermelon margaritas. Mocktails can be healthy, refreshing, and fun!

Describe your perfect day

A day packed with new and exciting activities and learning new skills: e.g. belaying, forest bathing, aromatherapy, adventuring to new geographic sites, taking a hot-air balloon ride, and ziplining. Of course, not all in one day!

There was a lot of good fishing where I was in New Brunswick. I used to love fishing all the time. Sometimes the doctors would also take me out snowmobiling with them, so that was a lot of fun.



0 / 5. 0 puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

By Jaclyn Chang, OD

Dr. Yehia Jadayel talks about his journey to becoming an optometrist, his current work situation, and a bit about himself!

Jaclyn: Can you tell our audience about your background and why you went into optometry?

Yehia: In high school, I thought about going into engineering but my family’s full of engineers, so I wanted to try something different. Since I was pretty good at science, I looked at going into the healthcare field.

I went to the University of Ottawa for Biomedical Sciences. I didn’t know I wanted to be an optometrist until my second or third year of university, because I was originally interested in med school and was just looking at my options in general. I also looked into other healthcare professions, but there wasn’t anything else that really excited me.

Optometry is cool because it combines physics (optics) with healthcare and there’s also a business aspect. I talked with a few people, did some research, and decided to apply for optometry school. It was kind of late into my third year and there was a deadline to apply.

Reading week was coming up and I planned on finding an optometrist to shadow during that week. Then, I ended up getting really sick and wasn’t able to shadow anyone.

While I was back in school after reading week, I must have gone to so many different clinics. Some of them agreed to let me shadow and then cancelled the day of. I was turned down so many times and I was running out of time. I really needed a letter of recommendation as well.

My grandfather’s optometrist, Dr. Fred Campbell, gave me my last chance. I showed up at his office really late at night. It was still open and I told him I was an undergraduate student looking to apply for optometry and really needed to shadow. He agreed instantly and even let me pick the date to come in.

Dr. Campbell helped me out a lot and made things easy for me. I think it’s funny how that worked out because if it wasn’t for that, I would have run out of time. I applied to Waterloo Optometry, and I got in.

I’m glad it worked out because being an optometrist is a great job and I enjoy it. I’m very patient care-centered, so I like doing my very best for patients.

Jaclyn: I know that you worked in New Brunswick right after graduation and recently moved back to Ottawa. How did the job search in Ottawa go?

Yehia: There were a lot of positions available. I interviewed at four locations really quickly. I had already been talking to a few locations when I was in New Brunswick, getting ready to come back to Ontario. When I got back to Ottawa, I sent my job application to a few more clinics and they got back to me quickly as well.

I talked to and saw a few locations. I was mostly offered fill‑in days. There was only one location that wanted full-time and it was still between two opticals. The interviews went well – I think as an optometrist you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

When I was looking for a job, I didn’t have anything particular in mind, so I was able to keep my options open and see what private practice vs. opticals had to offer. For that reason, it was relatively easy and people were eager to fill their days.

Jaclyn: Where are you working now and how are you liking it?

Yehia: I’m working in two locations right now. They’re both opticals and there’s a few differences compared to when I was working in the full scope practice in New Brunswick, but I’m enjoying it.

I knew if I worked in an optical, I’d potentially have less equipment. I’m missing Optomaps and OCT, so there isn’t as much testing and analysis. The patients here in Ottawa are also a bit healthier on average; there was an older demographic where I worked in New Brunswick.

Jaclyn: Let’s talk a little bit more about you. What do you do in your free time?

Yehia: Well, that’s changed a lot during COVID. I like hanging out with family and playing video games or outside.

There was a lot of good fishing where I was in New Brunswick. I used to love fishing all the time. Sometimes the doctors would also take me out snowmobiling with them, so that was a lot of fun.

Jaclyn: What’s your favorite movie?

Yehia: Independence Day is one of my favorite movies. And the Batman movies, the recent ones with Christian Bale. I also really like documentaries.

Jaclyn: What’s your favorite food?

Yehia: Miramichi was the small town I worked in in New Brunswick, so we didn’t have a huge variety of cuisine – it was a lot of pizza, burgers, and hotdogs. Whenever I went back to Ottawa, I needed to go to three places: a shawarma place, a sushi place and Popeye’s Fried Chicken. Those are my favorite. Plus, mom’s cooking right now.

Jaclyn: When was the last time you laughed?

Yehia: [Laughter] Right now. Talking to you.

Jaclyn: What would you do if you won ten million dollars?

Yehia: I’d buy a really nice house. I’d buy my mom something really nice. Then I’d save or invest the rest and think about what I want as I get older.

Jaclyn: If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to and why?

Yehia: I love history. I want to go back to multiple periods in time and see how things were back
in the day. There’s only so much you can learn from documentaries and reading about
history, so it would be amazing to actually be there.

If I could travel forward in time, I would like to see how far technology is going to take us in the future.

Jaclyn: Thanks so much for your time Yehia – it was great to learn more about you!


0 / 5. 0 puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

Four Eyes Optometry Podcast Founders

PathFinder Spotlight:

Four Eyes Optometry Podcast  


  • Dr. Alex Coon, Wasilla, Alaska, US
  • Dr. Amrit Bilkhu, Brampton, Ontario
  • Dr. Deepon Kar, Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Dr. Ravinder Randhawa, Vaughn, Ontario


Four enterprising female ODs from the Illinois College of Optometry class of 2019 started the “Four Eyes Optometry” podcast, combining their talents and cross-border interests to educate, enlighten and entertain ODs on both sides of the border.

The Four Eyes Optometry founders:

  • Dr. Alex Coon, Wasilla, Alaska, US
  • Dr. Amrit Bilkhu, Brampton, Ontario
  • Dr. Deepon Kar, Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Dr. Ravinder Randhawa, Vaughn, Ontario

…  combined their answers to questions posed by Editor Dr. Jaclyn Chang.

After reading their responses below, make sure you sign up to their podcasts. You can view the entire list of podcasts from Four Eyes Optometry here:  See the list (the ladies have been busy!)

Jaclyn: Are there any resources that you can provide for new graduates that you found helpful?

Four Eyes Optometry: Besides the Four Eyes Optometry podcast, we all found that joining our provincial and state associations tremendously helped with information about licensing, job searches, and the overall process of transitioning from a student to an independent optometrist.

Other valuable resources we all use on a regular basis to keep up to date with what is occurring in the eyecare industry are various digital publications such as, Eyes on Eyecare, Modern Optometry, Review of Optometry, and 20/20 Glance.

Jaclyn: Can you provide job search/interview/contract advice?

Four Eyes Optometry: Since all of us have been working full time in various practice modalities for the last couple of years, our most important piece of advice is to not always accept the job that pays the most.

You may be offered a position where the compensation is great, but you are questioning yourself about the hours, equipment available, staff, and the number of patients that need to be seen.

These feelings of uncertainty will not eventually disappear as you practice, they will often return until you decide to address them.

Money will seem like the priority when you first graduate because of those pesky student loans that need to be paid off, but from our experiences, money is definitely not everything when it comes to avoiding burnout and finding an appropriate work-life balance.

Jaclyn: Describe your first day of work.

Four Eyes Optometry: We have all talked about similar anxious experiences from our first day of practicing as an independent optometrist. Most of us were working as solo practitioners and were very aware that we did not have an extra set of eyes to help with diagnosis, treatment and management if we were ever unsure of the clinical situation.

The first day, and even the first week, was very nerve wracking for all of us, especially since there is no Attending to double check your work and guide your clinical decisions. Even during those initial anxious moments practicing on our own, we would constantly text each other in our group chat hoping one of us would have the correct answer, and what we all eventually came to realize is that it is absolutely okay if you do not have the immediate answers, you can always follow up with patients at a later time and systematically plan your approach to their care.

Jaclyn: What advice would you give a new grad today?

Four Eyes Optometry: If you or a group of your friends have been thinking about creating something, starting a project, or reinventing a product that is already out there, whether or not it has to do with the eye care industry or not, without a doubt, just start it!

The most difficult step is to start, and then the second most difficult step is to be consistent with your efforts towards your creative project.

Even if you do not know all the steps to get to the result you want, you will figure out everything as you trudge along. This is exactly how we started the Four Eyes Optometry podcast. We began not knowing everything that could potentially go wrong, and when they did, which was often, we figured it out together and learned a great deal from the process.

Jaclyn: What is your definition of success or what habits make you a successful person?

Four Eyes Optometry: In our opinion, any person with a goal in which they are consistently putting in those tough and long hours towards achieving it every single day, is already a successful person.

It really is all about the process. Being able to look back on those rough experiences and hard lessons during the journey will always make reaching the destination so much more rewarding.

Jaclyn: What is your most effective marketing tool/platform?

Four Eyes Optometry: “Do it for the gram!” All jokes aside, Instagram has been our podcast’s platform of choice because of the multitude of opportunities to network with so many of the amazing and different eye care professionals we have connected with in the past and plan to connect with in the future.

Jaclyn: What was the last time you laughed?

Four Eyes Optometry: We always have belly aching laughs when we are together recording our weekly podcast episodes; we definitely do not take ourselves too seriously. Our regular Happy Hour podcast episodes definitely show off our goofy personalities!

Jaclyn: What is your favorite TV show / Netflix series?

Four Eyes Optometry:  All of us have lived with one another at different points of time during our optometry school days. The TV genre that always excitingly brought us together in the living room, along with various snacks in hand, was tacky reality TV. These TV shows included everything from Netflix’s bakeoff challenges to MTV’s Floribama Shore. Quite a range, we are aware. Even though we do not have much time to watch these entertaining TV series now, we once did schedule time to live vicariously through these so-called TV characters on a regular basis, and shamelessly loved every moment of it!

Sign up to their podcasts.


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PathFinder Spotlight:

Jocelyn Leung

University of Waterloo, 2019 Graduating Class

By Jaclyn Chang, OD

Jaclyn:  Tell us about your education and internship experiences.

Jocelyn:  I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2019, and I currently live and practice in Toronto, which is also where I grew up. I was fortunate enough to have a quite diverse experience during my internships, and that gave me a different perspective on optometry. These included a single doctor private clinic, a multi-doctor private clinic, and a clinic that specialized in dry eye therapy, glaucoma co-management, and myopia control.

Jaclyn:  Is there an area of optometry that you’re particularly interested in right now?

Jocelyn:  I really like dry eye therapy. It’s a growing field in research and new treatment options, which changes the way that we manage our patients. Dry eye is very, very common nowadays with device usage and screen time, and the treatment is personalized for each patient. This gives us the opportunity to talk to our patients and help them figure out the status of their eye health and best treatment. I am also interested in aesthetic optometry, such as IPL and RF therapy, which pairs up nicely with dry eye.

Myopia control is another area of interest of mine as myopia becomes more prevalent globally. The treatment options are soft contact lenses, ortho-K, atropine, and specialty spectacle lenses. This area of optometry, like dry eye, also involves a personalized plan for the patient and is one of the reasons I’m drawn to it as a specialty.

Jaclyn:  How was your start in optometry – can we talk about your first day of work?

Jocelyn:  My first day of work was in September in 2019, and the first day is definitely nerve wracking because it’s your first day seeing real patients on your own. You have a responsibility to give them the best vision you can, and it’s also a new setting.

To mitigate that stress in the beginning, I would recommend going into the office ahead of time before you see patients, whether it’s a few hours or a day before. Learn the EMR, equipment, fees, the staff’s names and roles they play in the office. If the office is dispensing, learn the type of frame lines that you carry and the lenses you offer so you can have that conversation with your patients. For referrals, ask the other associates and the owner of the practice who they typically refer to for cataract surgery, or even other specialties like vision therapy within optometry. Familiarizing yourself with the names of other healthcare professionals in the area, such as pharmacists and family doctors, is very helpful.

There’s also no need to jam-pack your schedule the first day. Take your time with the patients and make sure that everything in terms of procedure is seamless, because you don’t want show that it’s your first day at work to the patient.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself – you’ve been trained for this. Do your best and enjoy that you’ve picked a great profession and are just at the start of an amazing career.

Jaclyn:  I can definitely relate to that first day feeling! Of course, a lot has changed since then. How have or will things change with COVID?

Jocelyn:  With COVID, people are more conservative about traveling and going to do things in person. Since people are staying at home more, convenience is a big thing for everybody. We have one day Amazon shipping, and everything is at our fingertips through apps and the internet.

Utilizing technology is so important post-COVID. Having an online store for contact lenses, drops, even sunglasses is becoming an essential. Communicating via email or text also helps with patient convenience and ensures patients aren’t feeling that they’re forgotten after COVID.

Tele-health was big during the first lockdown. Tele-health can be a great platform to discuss care – to discuss testing or visual field results instead of having the patient come in. However, there are also times you would want to see the physical eye to make a diagnosis.

Jaclyn:  Let’s switch a little bit from optometry and talk more about you! What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

Jocelyn:  Pre-COVID, I loved working out in the gym. I love weight training and powerlifting. Now I have a makeshift garage gym with some weights, but it’s not the same feeling. I do look forward to going back to the gym because it did help to de-stress and help me feel a bit more accomplished throughout the day.

I love travel – I already have a list as to where I want to go next. I want to go to Japan again. And I’m a big Disney fan, so I definitely want to go to Disney World.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite food?

Jocelyn:  Sushi! Good sushi with good quality fish is something that I really love and associate with good memories. Back in university, I used to go for sushi with my friends, and it was always a good time.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite TV show?

Jocelyn:  I love reality TV dating shows, but I also like intense storylines such as Game of Thrones, or any sort of action lines. I love Food Network shows that include traveling and eating different foods or cooking challenges.

Jaclyn:  Great to learn more about you! Thanks so much for taking the time to have this discussion with me.


0 / 5. 0 puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

PathFinder Spotlight:

Brian Yeung

Optometry:  Illinois College of Optometry (2013 – 2017) 

Undergraduate: Ryerson University: B. Sc.  – Biology (2008 – 2012)

Dr. Yeung is currently practicing in Ontario.

By Jaclyn Chang, OD

Before I completed my optometry degree at the University of Waterloo, I spent one year at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) in Chicago. My next-door neighbor at the ICO residence was Brian Yeung. We’ve managed to keep in touch over the years and recently we had the chance to catch up. The following is the conversation we had:

Jaclyn:  Tell our audience about your background. Where did you go to undergrad? How did you get into optometry?

Brian:  I went to Ryerson for Biology, and I went through undergrad not knowing what I wanted to do.

I knew being in science, I would have to either go into some sort of medical profession or research. I realized very late in my last semester of fourth year that I didn’t like the research side of things – laboratories, testing, etc., so I decided to go the medical route. I then volunteered in various medical settings to help me figure out what I wanted to do.

I worked at my aunt’s pharmacy and volunteered with an optometrist. That’s when I realized that optometry could be a lifestyle for me. I liked that it was a nine to five occupation and I really enjoyed seeing how personable the optometrist was when dealing with patients.

Over the next year while I was doing the prerequisite courses for optometry school, I had paid work at the office where I had volunteered, dispensing and doing front desk work. I worked with the staff and met patients, and everyone was always so happy to be there.

Jaclyn:  How do you think that year that you had off translates to how you practice today?

Brian:  I’m an introvert but working at the front desk during that year pushed me to be more social and get out of my comfort zone. On the fly, I learned how to socially interact with people and make them feel comfortable because they’re there to get help from us. In a medical profession, interactions and the comfort levels of the doctor-patient relationship are so important.

I was also able to get a look at how the other side of the practice works as well, the admin stuff. I did OHIP remittance, sent error reports back, booked appointments, and answered phones. That taught me to appreciate what the front desk staff has to go through every day. I understand how frustrating it can be sometimes. Being a doctor now, I don’t feel that disconnect; I don’t want the staff to feel like there’s that disconnect.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite specialty within optometry?

Brian:  I’m the doctor that likes the social aspect of practicing. There’s maybe not a particular specialty that I’m really invested in at the moment, but if the situation calls for it, I’ll do what the patient needs.

When I first came out of school, I really enjoyed glaucoma, but there were some limitations with where I was working not having the technology available. Now, where I work in Oshawa, we do have a Humphrey field, OCT, and Optomap.

In Oshawa, we also have meibography and recently got a TempSure machine. It’s nice to be part of an office that has the ability to treat these things. Even if I’m not the one to do the treatments, I like being part of a network that allows me to refer to my colleagues.

I have a very personal relationship with dry eyes. At ICO, they did the full workup on me and found out I had pretty bad dry eyes. I even had Demodex at one point. They treated me for it; eventually they put me on Restasis and then Xiidra, when it came out. I did have the taste side effect from Xiidra so I ended up staying on Restasis for a year and realized I wasn’t needing artificial tears as much.  I went from six times a day to two.

Dry eye is a great specialty to be involved in within optometry because it affects a majority of people and it’s something we can treat. It’s definitely an area I can get more into in the future.

Jaclyn:  Do you have any advice from your work experience over these past couple of years that you can share with new optometrists?

Brian:  I’ve heard this and it’s the same thing I would tell others: Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Patients come to you looking for advice and solutions, but at the same time, if you don’t know the solutions, don’t lie to them. Don’t hesitate to bring the patient back for a follow up, because it shows the patient that you care and you’re doing what you can to figure out the problem with them. Patients appreciate you more for your honesty.

I also wouldn’t necessarily worry about cost to the patient – if they have to come back and pay for a partial or a test, you’re doing what’s best for them. You’ve worked hard to earn your title as a doctor and patients come to you for a reason.

Also, make sure you always keep a good network of people around you to help you out. Don’t think that you’re the hero and know everything, as I said. If you have a good network of friends, optometrists, and online resources, make use of them.

Another piece of advice is to just be personable with your patients. Take the extra two minutes to talk to your patients. It’s not just, ‘Here’s the problem. Here’s the answer. Goodbye.’ Taking that one extra minute to even tell a joke and relax makes all the difference.

Jaclyn:  Can you tell our audience a little bit more about yourself? What’s your favorite food?

Brian:  Steak and potatoes, mostly steak, fried chicken too. It’s pretty much just any meat.

Jaclyn:  What are your hobbies? What do you do outside of optometry?

Brian:  I love cooking; you can see that on my Instagram. I love anything to do with food. You have to eat anyways, why not put some good stuff in you? I love the creative aspect of cooking. It’s very therapeutic. That’s my version of therapy. Cooking and eating brings me to my happy place.

I also play a lot of sports, and I’ve been working out a lot more when I’m at home, since I can’t go anywhere. I bought a kettlebell and that’s the best investment I’ve made.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite sport to watch?

Brian:  These days, the Leafs hockey because we’re doing well. A couple of years ago it was the Raptors because we won. All my life, first things first is baseball. I play baseball too.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite movie or a TV show, or both?

Brian:  I’d say Inception, but there’s too many others as well. I don’t have a favorite TV show, but I would say the Sherlock series is one of the better ones.

Jaclyn:  What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to? Or where would you want to travel to, when we can again?

Brian:  Southeast Asia – I definitely want to go. I’ve never been, but I want to go there because I know your money goes really far and there’s so much good food. I’m not allergic to anything. I love spicy foods, so I’m down to eat anything and everything there.

Jaclyn:  Thanks so much Brian! It was really to catch up and I really appreciate your time. I’m glad that after one year of school together we’re still friends, especially because we have so many similarities in the way we like to practice.


0 / 5. 0 puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

PathFinder Spotlight:

Cindy Shan

University of Waterloo 4th year-Class of 2021

Cindy Shan is a student at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science.

She is the Class President for the Class of 2021.

She has a special interest in practice management, specialty contact lenses, and myopia control.

When not engrossed in building a career in optometry, Cindy loves to travel and explore other parts of the world, test her skills at DIY projects, and hike the beautiful mountains in British Columbia.


Why did you choose Optometry?

There are many reasons that an individual chooses their profession. Optometry, to me, was always a perfect combination of being academically challenging, patient-focused, and entrepreneurial.

After reaching out to doctors in my hometown of Vancouver, I had the opportunity to shadow them and work alongside them. I fell in love with the work and was ecstatic when I got an acceptance email to the University of Waterloo.

Four years later, I am finishing up my last year of optometry school and getting ready for graduation in a couple of months.

During my time in Waterloo, I was the Class President for the Class of 2021 and helped out with many organizations within the school. The highlight was definitely planning the many social gatherings for my class, whether it was holiday parties, laser tag, or pub crawls.

Where do you see your practice / eye care in 10 years?

The answer to this question has changed drastically in the last couple of years. If you had asked me this question at the beginning of optometry, I may have said “return to Vancouver and work in an office there.”

I have learned a lot in optometry school, but one of the most important lessons was the amount of potential that this profession holds and the various regions in Canada that are underserved.

Having had the chance to complete a clerkship rotation in a rural setting, I appreciated the challenge and satisfaction of providing our services to these communities.

In the next 10 years, I hope to work on completing a residency in contact lenses and opening a practice in a rural city. I hope to share what optometrists are capable of beyond a simple glasses prescription.

What is currently the most exciting thing in your field to help patients?

I am most excited about the advancements in dry eye disease treatment and management. At the Global Specialty Lens Symposium in 2020, the last conference I was able to attend pre-lockdown, I witnessed the many advancements in technology and treatment options available.

Optometry is a profession that is ever changing and developing new ways to best help our patients. Having seen many patients that suffer from discomfort due to dry eyes, I am excited to see the new pharmaceutical and technological advancements that will soon become another treatment option.

It was exciting to see certain devices that were advertised at conferences early in my first year of school come into the market and be implemented into private practice during my fourth year.

Which ECP speakers/leaders do you admire?

Dr. Andrea Lasby has been an amazing speaker and leader that I have had the pleasure of interacting with multiple times. As an optometrist with a residency under her belt, multiple leadership positions within the optometry community, and a mother, I strive to be as accomplished as her.

I had the chance to shadow Dr. Lasby for one day at her practice, Mission Eye Care, and loved the way she interacted with her patients. The connection that she makes with her patients builds a trusting patient-doctor bond.

Her accomplishments in the world of specialty contact lenses is also very admirable, as I hope to become a fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society and the American Academy of Optometry.

Favorite past-time/hobby?

I am a big fan of crafting and have always had a knack for completing hands-on projects. Recently, I took up crocheting and have been creating many gifts for friends and family. A night in with some movies and my yarn sounds like a perfect evening.

Eventually, I hope to be able to work up to bigger projects, maybe dipping my toes into woodworking and creating my own furniture.

My favourite social aspect of optometry?
Going to conferences! I went to my first conference in my first year of optometry school and absolutely fell in love with the community. I will always remember seeing the doctors greet each other and reconnect, even though they practice in distant clinics.

My friends and I always discuss our future plans of meeting up at conferences, attending lectures together, and taking advantage of the many sponsored events.

I love the ability to build a network of colleagues that I feel comfortable going to for advice and assistance if I have a difficult case. Attending the University of Waterloo was amazing for this reason, as I am surrounded by intellectual and lifelong friends.


0 / 5. 0 puts the spotlight on Zero to Five Pathfinders

PathFinder Spotlight:

Alexa Hecht

Undergraduate Studies:
University of Manitoba in Psychology/Biology

University of Waterloo 4th year-Class of 2021

Why did you choose Optometry?

Optometry offers various aspects that I was looking for when I was choosing my career path. Every optometrist I had ever spoken to loved what they did and always stressed the work-life balance optometry provided. I wanted to have a career where I would look forward to going to work, and every day seemed somewhat different. Optometry provided me with the opportunity to own my own business one day, which always intrigued me. I know the profession will constantly evolve, and I am excited to see which path my career takes me on. Also, vision is one of the most important senses we have; helping people see every day is incredibly gratifying.

Where do you see yourself/eyecare in 10 years?

I think it’s hard to predict where I will be in 10 years, but at this point, I see myself opening up a private practice. I have always wanted to create a very unique, relaxed environment for my patients to come. I want my future practice to provide excellent patient care and showcase the hippest frames. I have always said I would love to live near a beach, so who knows, maybe I will be opening up a practice in a beach town. For now, I take one day at a time and try to focus on my present goals.

What advice would you give a first-year optometry student today?

The first year of optometry school was a very overwhelming experience. You are trying to juggle school and growing friendships while still taking care of yourself. I would tell students not to stress the small things, and their mental health should always come first. Everything will eventually fall into place, and you will find your groove. I would also tell first-year students to get involved in some way or another. I was very involved with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and got to attend numerous conferences and meet so many leaders in optometry!

How have you changed since high school?

I believe my mindset has shifted significantly since high school. I think one of the significant shifts I have noticed was I have stopped doing things for the sake of pleasing other people. I think this is something many young people struggle with, especially when you are still trying to figure out your place in the world. Whenever I make plans, I question whether it will bring meaning to my day; I ask myself will this cause me more happiness than stress? I’ve learned that it’s ok to say no to people, and I have learned to put myself first before committing to something.

Describe your perfect day?

My perfect day would start with a nice cup of coffee and a killer spin class. It would also involve exploring a new neighbourhood and maybe trying a new restaurant for brunch. I love to cook new gourmet recipes, so I would for sure finish off my day by trying something new in the kitchen. In a non-COVID era, my perfect day would end with grabbing a drink with a couple of friends.

What is your favourite food?

I love Thai food! There is nothing more comforting than a good pad Thai or a warming coconut curry. I’ve tried to make a few Thai dishes and they are good, but nothing beats authentic takeout!


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