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    Q&A: Linda Chous, OD: Chief Eye Care Officer of United Healthcare Vision, Owner of The Glasses Menagerie in Minneapolis

    Chief Eye Care Officer of United Healthcare Vision, Owner of The Glasses Menagerie in Minneapolis

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in San Diego, although I was a Navy brat. I started school in Japan, but lived mostly in the United States. My father was an officer and he would always put in for San Diego. [Laughs]. Having been a Navy brat, I was used to moving into unknown territory—back in 1989, I had a four-month-old baby and we moved to Minnesota. There were so many reasons why it was a perfect fit, and I didn’t even know. My life’s like that sometimes; I’m sort of “Ready, fire, aim."

    Why pediatric optometry?

    I started my career as an ophthalmic technician at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, and I was teamed with a pediatric ophthalmologist who became an incredible mentor to me and helped me decide that optometry is what I wanted to do. I also have a very strong interest in low vision and vision rehabilitation. I’ve had the opportunity to work with children who are partially sighted and perform low vision evaluations and training with them, and it’s been awesome.

    Previous Q&A: Rohit Sharma, OD—President, Southern Eye Specialists, Atlanta, GA

    What three things do you recommend to ODs starting a pediatric-centered practice?Linda Chous, OD

    Network. Network. And network. [Laughs] The most important thing is to get out there and make sure people know who you are and what you do. When you’re opening a practice, people think you have a lot of time on your hands, but usually you have to work five other places to keep the income flowing. The time you spend promoting yourself, your practice, and your abilities is just as important as the money you make working somewhere else. So, take the time to reach out and make sure your communications skill are good, too.

    Related: Q&A: Diana Canto-Sims, OD, Owner, Buena Vista Optical, Wink and Save

    How did you start your practice?

    I would go to my colleagues in retail settings to let them know what I was doing. A lot of them don’t have the equipment, the space, or scheduling time to work with vision therapy, so they’re open to referring patients. We would have lunch, they would get to know me, and I would get to know them on a personal level as well, which I think is important. If I refer a patient for something that is beyond my capabilities, the person I refer to is a reflection of me. I opened my practice in 1991, and the scope of optometry wasn’t what it is today. I wanted to have a place where parents would feel comfortable bringing their children when they got the note from the school nurse or the teacher where the child would feel comfortable and not threatened. Every time a patient would come in with an outside prescription, I would assume that doctor didn’t have the frame selection for kids. Back then, there wasn’t a lot for kids. I would then go to that doctor’s office with a bunch of my cards and said, “If in the future you have other patients who might require good pediatric opticians to help them, take my card.”


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