What's Trending in Optometry? Dr. Jackie Garlich and 20/20 Glance

11:46 AM

Does your desk have stacks of optometry magazines dating back to your graduation year that you insist you'll read -- eventually? Is your email full of unopened blasts from your favorite digital optometry subscriptions?  And (the horror!) you haven't even gotten around to reading the latest Eyedolatry post yet? We live busy lives, and between patient care and families at home, most ODs are completely spent when it comes to spending precious free time reading about optometry.  So instead of reading a full article, wouldn't it be great to get just short, to the point little blurbs about the most exam-room worthy topics of discussion from the past week? Stories curated by an OD that will impact how you practice and what you can tell your patients about new innovations?  This beautifully simple idea is from Dr. Jackie Garlich, the mastermind behind 20/20 Glance.

As an undergrad, Dr. Garlich wasn't sure what path her future would take.  "I had a degree in Agriculture but apparently I learned nothing because I still killed all my plants."  She moved to Central America for a year to figure out her next step in life, and while there, she volunteered at an eye clinic.  "I liked that you could have such an immediate effect on patients' lives with something as simple as updated glasses.  It seemed to be a rewarding profession and since I already had a thing for science, we were a good match!" She went on to graduate from the New England College of Optometry and completed her residency at the St. Louis VA Medical Center.

Why did you start 20/20 Glance? 
It's our responsibility as clinicians to keep up with relevant optometry news but, for me, it always seemed challenging to do that.  I felt guilty looking at the stack of journals I wanted to read but never got around to reading at night because I was exhausted from the day and a new episode of Scandal was calling my name. When I asked colleagues how they kept up, most said, "I don't".   But you know what I did have time to do?  Shut off my morning alarm, roll over and read a few emails before the day started.  So I drew my inspiration from theSkimm but put an optometry spin on it.  It's an email that takes less than five minutes to read and has a rundown of relevant optometry news for the past week along with article summaries of things your patients might ask you.

How do you choose the topics you feature in 20/20 Glance each week? 
The main question I ask myself when I read an eye-related article is, "is this clinically relevant"?  Can I apply this or talk about this with my patients? If not, I leave it out.  

What's your vision for the future of 20/20 Glance? 
I want 20/20 Glance to be known for providing consistent, reliable, easy to read updates in optometry.  I have grand plans on how to expand on the delivery of this clinically relevant information but because 20/20 Glance is still new, I'm taking it one step at a time!

Any advice for new grads, current optometry students, or those considering our profession? 
  • Find yourself a good mentor. Someone you can ask for help on cases (even after you graduated), negotiating work contracts when you are looking for a job etc.  If you've found a good one, their input is invaluable. 
  • Ask questions.  Ask a lot and often.  No one expects you to know everything and you learn so much by asking.  There is always someone who knows more than you, so buy that person a coffee and pick their brain.
  • Be active in leadership in school. Join a student council; volunteer with SVOSH.  Leadership takes practice and you will be expected to be a leader in the future so start developing your skills now.
  • Strongly consider residency. I absolutely recommend it. I wanted to work in an MD/OD setting and I knew that a residency would make me more valuable to a potential employer.  I really loved my VA internships and ocular disease so I knew I wanted to do a residency in the VA system.  I remember thinking I was so smart when I graduated from school but then I saw my first disc edema patient, that confidence quickly faded and was replaced by excessive perspiration as I sprinted to find help.  So yeah, residency made me a lot less sweaty with challenging cases.
Head on over to 20/20 Glance to start receiving your weekly emails, and you can follow Dr. Garlich for more optometry news on social media:

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