One of my favorite roles in optometry is consulting, speaking, educating, and inspiring other optometrists to build authentic practices and craft careers that align with their passions and interests. As I often tell my students, we have a long career ahead of us, and having work that you look forward to each day (or most days!) will serve you well. I believe one of the best parts of optometry are the vast choices we can make during our careers about different ways to practice and different patient bases to serve, and we can really create pathways toward combining our careers with things we are truly interested in.
I was very fortunate early in my optometry school path to be introduced to the field of sports vision, something I didn’t know existed but combined my love of optometry and performance. I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete, so finding a way to incorporate sports and athletics into my daily life was a win-win all around.
Since optometry school, I have continued to evolve my sports vision practice. I started Performance 20/20, my sports and performance training facility in 2015, and I continue to work with athletes all over the country. I’m on the executive board of the International Sports Vision Association, frequently lecture and write on sports vision, consult with other optometrists who are looking to start a practice, and teach an elective on the specialty to students at the New England College of Optometry.
Building a specialty practice is incredibly rewarding, challenging, exciting, and motivating. Whether your passion is sports, dry eye, aesthetics, low vision, nutrition, ocular disease, pediatrics, myopia management, vision therapy, or specialty contact lenses, you can continue to find meaning and purpose in your work.
I’m excited to share stories and resources over the next quarter as we explore how our colleagues have followed their dreams and built successful specialty practices. By continuing to differentiate, these independent practitioners have found success, increased revenue, started new businesses, and changed lives.
If you have a passion that you haven’t explored, I hope you are as inspired by our colleagues as I was and take that next step. A benefit of being an independent practitioner is having the flexibility to chart your course — whatever that may be.
Yours in success,
Jennifer L. Stewart, OD