A Look Back
By: Dr. Carolyn Helbert-Green
I took a visit back to University of Houston College of Optometry where I received my Doctor of Optometry degree a few years ago. As I’ve mentioned, education is key to me, and I was attending a continuing education class on Aging in America. As my practice has patients of all ages, we want to continue to learn more about the demographics that we serve. It was very informative about general challenges that the aging population faces as well as eye health. Diseases such as dry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, vascular eye disease, and macular degeneration all increase with birthdays! Much was learned and it was fun to catch up with colleagues as well as my son, who is a 2nd year dental student.
Another tribute to the University of Houston was the growth and advances this university has realized over the years. It has been a few years….okay, a decade plus, since I had walked the hallowed halls. Since I graduated, many alumni and ophthalmic manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have invested in the school structurally as well as technologically. Students now have a dry eye center, laser center and cataract surgery center in the school. Local doctors all eagerly seek to get credentialed in order to use this state of the art facility.
As my son dropped me off for my day of education, he asked if he could come in for a tour. We walked back in time, as I was about his age when I attended optometry school. He noticed the pictures on the wall of each class, with the first class in the early 1950s with a class of about 10 (with one woman). He progressed on down and found a picture of me which he promptly laughed out loud at the 80s hair and was impressed that about 45% of my class were women! Next, he found Dr. Horn’s photo. He took the opportunity to snap a few pictures, which you can see to the side. When Dr. Horn joined the practice, I talked about graduating in 1987 and consequently she pointed out that she was born that year. You’re only as young as you feel!
Time flies. I can say I love my career more each day though it’s bittersweet remembering the last day I left the UHCO clinic to go into private practice 27 years ago.
The joy of optometry has been such a journey. I made a decision that I would continue my education well through graduation. I had the opportunity to become certified as a therapeutic optometrist, then a glaucoma certified optometrist, and last year a Diplomate of the Board of Optometry. The evolution and advancement of optometry in technology and science, as in all fields of medicine, continues to improve with healthy new options for eye care. As always, it is an honor to serve my patients.