Paraoptometrics serve patients and their communities

Paraoptometrics serve patients and their communities

Excerpted from page 22 of the September 2016 edition of AOA Focus.

Evelyn Denise Lott, CPOT, keeps on giving when it comes to promoting vision health and eye care to the public.

As a volunteer, Lott dispensed glasses to Iraq-bound soldiers at Camp McCain Training Center in Grenada, Mississippi. She helped educate parents in Clinton, Mississippi that their preschoolers are never too young to get an eye exam to detect vision issues.

Each year, at Mississippi College's "Back to the Bricks" celebration, she's there to remind new and returning students about the value of an annual, comprehensive eye exam. Her full-time career is as office manager at Southern Eye Care in Clinton. She is active with the Mississippi Optometric Association (MOA) and the AOA, and has been a member of the Mississippi Paraoptometric Association since 2012. She serves on committees that developed the MOA's Para Jump Start Training continuing education program and the AOA's Paraoptometric Career Ladder.

She also serves on the AOA Paraoptometric Resource Center Education Review Subcommittee. She earned her CPOT certification in February. For her passion for public service and the optometric profession, Lott was named 2016 AOA Paraoptometric of the Year. The award was presented during Optometry's Meeting® in Boston, Massachusetts.

In an interview with AOA Focus, Lott explains why she is so active in her community and in the field of optometry.

What motivates you to get involved in your community?
I volunteer to positively impact the growth and development of my community, and I want to influence others to give back to their own communities. Volunteering means giving a part of myself. Your hard work, dedication, loyalty and selfless service is the most important legacy you will leave behind.

How was your interest in optometry born?
I was 16 years old, a junior in high school, when I started working for a local optometric lab, where I was taught how to make glasses. I instantly became fascinated with the profession of optometry. The lab manager, Mr. Donald, was an incredible teacher, mentor and friend. I learned as much as he was willing to teach me. This is where my passion for optometry was first ignited.

Where did you get your work and volunteer ethic?
I am a U.S. Army veteran. I volunteered to serve my country when I was 20 years old. I wanted a positively structured foundation for my future. First, I was in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training. Then I attended Military Occupational Specialties training in Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

After my training, I was sent to my duty station in Fort Drum, New York. I was honorably discharged in 2008. My military career was short lived, but I learned my most valuable life lessons during that time. I was taught that "The greatest reward for hard work well done is the opportunity to do more."

What do you like most about being a paraoptometric?
The unlimited opportunities to grow within the profession. For example, the doctors I work for—Dr. Steven Reed, Dr. Philip Marler and Dr. Josh Massey—continue to encourage me to exceed my goals. They give me the opportunity to grow alongside them.

Becoming certified has also changed my ability to educate patients on eye health and has made them more comfortable and confident with the level of care we provide. Education is a vital part of the success of all paraoptometrics.

What is the most important role of paraoptometrics?
Paraoptometrics play a vital role in patient care. We are responsible for gathering critical data for our doctors, to ensure that our patients' specific needs are addressed and treated properly. Paraoptometrics are responsible for consulting with doctors on how to triage patients presenting symptoms. Certified paraoptometrics, part of the vision care team, help build patient confidence and satisfaction.

Paraoptometric Recognition Week is September 18-24
It's the perfect opportunity for doctors of optometry to honor staff for their dedication to the patients they serve and the profession of optometry. Click here to learn how you can honor your staff.

September 19, 2016

comments powered by Disqus