The two areas of practice that I especially enjoy are pediatric eye exams and specialty contact lens fittings for patients who have limited vision even with glasses.
As an eye doctor, you realize that children with uncorrected vision conditions perform poorly in academics. What surprised me was how many children who are underperforming in school have underlying vision problems! These could be easily diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam by your optometrist. Working with young kids has the potential to change their academic potential and much more.
A different aspect of optometry that is also very rewarding is specialty contact lens fitting. Some patients with corneal eye diseases cannot drive, read, or function in everyday life despite how strong you make these glasses. Specialty contact lenses can give these patients a second chance at vision.
I’ll never forget a young 25-year-old patient who walked into our office for a second opinion. He had recently seen another doctor out of town and had updated his glasses, and yet his vision was extremely blurry. I begin my examination, check his vision, and find a similar glasses prescription. I proceed to the health examination, and voila, his corneas (the front surface of his eyes) were distorted! He had a condition called keratoconus.
Glasses were not the answer for my patient. I educated him on the nature of the condition and how we would treat his poor vision and how we would slow down the progression of this disease. The secret to helping him was a pair of specialty contact lenses. These are not your typical soft contact lenses, rather they are completely customized contact lenses that contour the eyeball in a way that imitates a normal cornea.
We order the lenses and fit them the following week. His face lights up in the clinic! “Dr. Girn, I can see, I can see your face, wow!” That wasn’t even the best part. I teach him how to apply and remove the lenses and send him home to wear the lenses for the next week. The following week he comes back for his follow up with a big smile on his face and he tells me this:
“Dr. Girn, I have a 5 month year old daughter, and when I went home with the contact lenses last week, I feel like I saw her face for the first time!”
I will never forget those words. I love my profession and I like to think that many of my patients leave my clinic with sharper vision, healthier eyes, and a better understanding of their eye care. I have to say, I really enjoy establishing relationships with my patients over the years. I am lucky enough to share my patient’s big life events: high school and college graduations, getting married, having kids, and even career changes!
When I became an optometrist, I wanted to practice to the fullest scope of my skills and abilities. When I looked at my local optometrists, the ones who were active members of our society caught my attention. These members were more involved in their profession, their exam skills were sharp, and their knowledge was up-to-date. More than that, these doctors were more compassionate. They really just cared about their patients.
Since 2015, I’ve been a board member of the San Joaquin Optometric Society. For two years, I served as the Communication officer and this year, I am honored to be the President of the SJOS Board.
San Joaquin Optometric Society (SJOS) is a non-profit organization that helps keep our local optometrist’s knowledge and skills up-to-date with the latest research and technology. All optometrists are required to continually update their knowledge of optometry every year through Continued Education classes. SJOS puts together Continued Education events at local venues throughout the county: Stockton, Manteca, Modesto, Tracy. We invite the best of the best researchers, experts, and partners from the industry to help us keep our skills and knowledge top notch!
But what really drew me in was what this organization was doing for the community. They elevate the level of care that optometrists provide to this whole community. The organization’s main priority is the community. The end goal is to benefit the community. I attended the board meetings and saw all of these seasoned doctors talking about how new laws, new practices, new technologies will affect vision care, and their main focus was:
I knew I wanted to be a part of this compassionate goal, and I’m proud to serve on the board this year to further elevate the ocular health of our local community! I look forward to contributing my time and energy towards bettering eye care for many years to come.
I am lucky enough to have colleagues at Brookside Optometric who are not only excellent doctors but have compassion for others—I see them go above and beyond to take care of patients. My colleagues and mentors raise the bar of what it means to be an optometrist and I hope to reach that level someday.
The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself in the last few years is how I want to practice optometry. I believe in this patient-first attitude and incorporate it into the way I practice everyday. If a patient comes to my office seeking my expertise, I will do everything I can with my knowledge and skills to help my patient.
Outside of the office, I enjoy spending time with my family. My mother and father currently live and work in Stockton. Both of my parents immigrated to the states from Punjab, India and I am the eldest of three children. My younger brother Shan is completing his residency in pediatric dentistry, and our youngest sibling Harnoor is currently in college pursuing a career in healthcare. As a family, we enjoy exploring local national parks, road trips, and sightseeing out of state.