Optometry is All in the Family: Dr. Desiree Hopping

By Desiree Hopping, O.D.
Optometrist and wife of Ron Hopping, O.D., MPH, AOA president

Both of our sons have grown up around our office. We had staff pick them up at school and bring them to the office until we finished seeing patients, had them help with painting the office, and finally had them working as techs and in the optical during summers. I suspect their early days of rotating stools that zoomed around the office, swinging saloon-type doors, and enjoying the available candy from (and adoration by) staff led to good feelings about the profession.

Our oldest, Reed, decided to pursue optometry as a sophomore in college when he realized that he was enjoying his science courses the most. He also deduced that his single best talent was meeting people and turning strangers into friends. This skill is perfect for optometric practice and should keep him quite happy long term. Our youngest son, Grant, also is preparing for a health-care-related career; he has demonstrated an interest in the eyes, though in a more biochemical manner.

It is very rewarding to observe your children learning the updated version of optometry and biochemistry. I enjoy learning the book knowledge from them, and they in turn love learning from our vast experiences with patient care. It is a pleasure to talk through a case with them and have them ask me questions about a case they are working on, even if it is in the form of a text message! Last year at the Academy meeting, Reed and I attended CE together and it was memorable to me sitting there with him as a peer, not just as my son.

My No. 1 "Tip for Success" when it comes to working with family is not to force a child to follow in your footsteps, but foster their curiosity by having them around the office. My boys sat quietly on the floor during many exams late in the day or emergencies after hours. They do not enter their optometric and medical careers with blinders on and have chosen optometry and patient care because they saw that Ron and I not only helped the patients, but were rewarded ourselves by helping others see.

This article is one within a series profiling AOA members across the country who practice as a family.

June 18, 2013

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