Shauna Thornhill, OD, Owner, Amarillo Vision Specialists
Toys for free eye exams, community service, and $2,000 Manolos
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Colorado. I went to 17 schools kindergarten through twelfth grade. My dad was always searching for the perfect job, and he never really found it. Somehow we ended up in Amarillo, TX. We got here my sophomore year of high school and stayed here my sophomore, junior, and senior years, which is the longest I had ever been anywhere. My mom was a stay-at-home mom for most of my life. When we got to Amarillo, she became a cashier at Walmart and she’s been with Walmart for 24 years. She’s the personnel manager at one the stores I have a lease at. Yeah, full circle, huh?
How did you decide on optometry?
I was the math and science nerd at school, I think most optometrists probably were, and I started working for Walmart in the vision center right after high school to help pay for college. Sort got interested in the eyes, and there was a really nice doctor who was next door, who funnily enough works for me now [laughs] and so just got me interested in eyes. I did the whole rounds with dentistry, and I worked for an oncologist for a while in college. The eyes were really cool to me so that’s really what led me that way.
Why contact lenses?
I think contact lenses are fascinating. I’ve also got a minor in chemistry, and I think the chemistry behind it is really, really interesting. I remember taking a tour one time of one the contact lens facilities and I got to meet one of the chemists who created one of the lenses. Besides that, I think patients get such a feel-good boost when they wear contact lenses as opposed to glasses.
What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?
Not many people know I went to 17 schools because when asked I say I’m from Amarillo, TX.
Was there a culture shock going from the Texas Panhandle to study in Philadelphia?
For me, not too bad because I had moved around so much, although that was my first East Coast experience. But my husband was born and raised in the Panhandle of Texas, so that was huge culture shock for him. I loved Philly—I thought the people were wonderful, genuine, great people. They’re different from down here, but wonderful people. I loved my experience there.