Updated: Feb 16
We recently connected with Chandra Gibbs and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Chandra thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. We’re complete cheeseballs and so we love asking folks to share the most heartwarming moment from their career – do you have a touching moment you can share with us?
Our profession provides many opportunities to educate our patients and make a difference in their lives ( improving vision or saving a life). Here’s one of my stories. A 65 yo woman whom I had just met came for a routine eye exam. Her glasses were 1.5 yrs old and she complained her vision was blurry at distance. After performing her exam, her glasses RX had changed in an amount that is not normal for her age. After further discussion, we wanted to do more follow up with her PCP to make sure all her health was stable ( Eg. blood sugar, blood pressure, heart conditions, etc). The primary care doctors kept stating she was stable and nothing was wrong, But her glasses RX kept changing from 1 week to the next. This is unusual for a glasses RX to change after 56 yo unless something medical is unstable. The patient tried for 6 months to work w/ the doctors to find the problems but they could not find anything. I contacted the PCP and we discussed doing a Doppler test that checks her Carotid Artery ( main artery that leads to the brain). After that test was performed they found it was occulded /closed 80%. She immediately had surgery and when the artery was open her vision stabilized. The doctors stated that if she would have not caught the problem, she could have had a severe stroke or died. The overwhelming gratitude the patient bestowed on me when she was stable out of surgery, was memorable. I continue to this day to allow education to be a primary focus in my practice.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I was always interested in healthcare, especially the eyes as a kid. When I went to my own eye exams, I thought the equipment was fascinating and how it relayed to a pair of glasses. I wanted a profession that allowed me to help people and educate them at the same time, Optometry fit that perfectly. I have always believed in education. In our office, the staff and I pride ourselves on taking quality time to explain the products they need, why they need them, and all costs. I take time to explain what their problems are, why/ how they came about if possible and how we fix them and possibly prevent them in the future. These problems range from problems at distance, near or both, dry eyes, red eyes, eyestrain/ fatigued eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. My job is to listen carefully to the patient’s lifestyle and find the best solution for them. But, I can not do it alone, I believe this is a group discussion. We make decisions together and getting the patient involved makes them their own best doctor. I believe what makes us different is keeping the small town mentality- you take time to get to know your patients ( personally and medically b/c they correlate), take time to listen, educate the patient in a method they understand, make them feel comfortable to ask questions, and truly care about them. I believe if you truly love what you do and you treat each patient like your family member ( truly care about them), they will see and feel your compassion.
Do you think you’d choose a different profession or specialty if you were starting now?
Definitely!! Optometry was my first choice. I know other students in Optometry school stated they only came to Optometry because they didn’t get into Medical school or didn’t think they could. This shocked me even then. I researched all medical professions, spoke to different doctors in various fields and Optometry still fits what I was looking for in an occupation. What I love about our profession is the ability to educate and help our patients with their visual needs and potentially catch any medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc through their ocular health.
Putting training and knowledge aside, what else do you think really matters in terms of succeeding in your field?
I feel the most helpful aspect in succeeding in our field is love and passion. Having the training/ knowledge is the foundation of the career, but when you have love and passion for the occupation and patients it pushes your desire to educate and care for your patients with compassion. When you hear about a doctor having a good “bedside manner”, those are the doctors that incorporate love and passion into the profession. All doctors are good, but I believe love and passion are what make us great.