Our Certified Paraoptometric Associate Megan is enthusiastic about learning new skills in optometry and growing in her job. She answered a few questions so we can get to know her better:

How long have you been with Ridgefield Vision Center? I’m celebrating two years here this month! When I started, I had little previous knowledge about eye exams, prescriptions, or getting glasses and contact lenses. The team at Ridgefield Vision Center, including Dr. Droter, Amber and Mike, took me under their wing and taught me what I needed to know. They also encouraged and inspired me to study and attain my paraoptometric certification. I’ve learned quite a bit about optometry in two years!

What is your role here? I am a Certified Paraoptometric (CPO). As a CPO, I am cross-trained to work the front desk, schedule eye appointments, help patients check-out and also work-up patients before Dr. Droter examines them. A typical work-up involves reviewing a patient’s medical history, checking a patient’s visual acuity with and without their current correction, and documenting any concerns they may have about their current eye health and visual needs. When the optical department needs my help, I assist with frame selection and can dispense glasses to patients picking them up. I’m also beginning to learn how to adjust and repair frames.

Before Ridgefield Vision Center, what was your most interesting job? I worked as a caregiver for kids with special needs, which included many different conditions, from Autism to Angelman Syndrome. All the kids I worked with were non-verbal, so I learned sign language and different nonverbal ways to communicate with them through their chosen ways of “speaking.” I participated in a range of activities with these kids ─ sometimes it was as complex as physical and speech therapy; other times it was as simple (and fun) as going out to the park or taking them shopping!

What do you like best about working here? From my very first day, my absolute favorite thing about Ridgefield Vision Center is that I have so many opportunities to learn new skills and techniques, and what makes it even better is that Dr. Droter is so willing to teach me. This prevents me from ever getting bored with my job, and as a result I look forward to coming here every day.

What’s your biggest challenge at work? One of the most challenging things – but also one of the most rewarding – is finding ways to keep the attention of small children as we’re working them up. My previous experience working with kids definitely gives me an advantage in this area. Often, parents make multiple appointments back-to-back for all of their children, so we make a conscious effort to keep their attention and keep them focused. I can see it from the kids’ perspective: what 3-year-old wants to spend 20 minutes in one chair at a doctor’s office? We always try to make it as interesting and as fun as possible for them.

What’s your work philosophy? I make it a point to get to know our patients. In my role, I feel like I have the biggest opportunity to do this, besides Dr. Droter, since I’m in the exam room with them for a while. When given the chance, I try to ask about the patients’ family, hobbies, or recent events they’ve enjoyed. Our patients are the most important part of our family here at Ridgefield Vision Center, so I always try to greet them with a big smile and make sure they know we’re happy to see them!

How has Ridgefield Vision Center changed since you’ve been here? We’ve gone high-tech! To help patients flow more smoothly through their eye exam, Dr. Droter invested in digital phoropters for two of our exam rooms. A phoropter is the piece of equipment necessary to determine a patient’s eyeglass or contact lens prescription; it’s the part of your eye exam where we keep asking, “Which can you read better, number one . . . or two?” It makes our patients’ prescription evaluations more seamless, and enables us to show a patient the difference between their old prescription and the new one.

What’s your proudest moment at RVC? That’s an easy one: the day I learned that all of my studying finally paid off and I attained my official Paraoptometric Certification! I have a two-year-old daughter at home, so it was tricky to find enough time to study for the test, but I dedicated myself to it. Also, Dr. Droter, Amber and Nicole helped me study, and I was delighted to pass the exam in January 2016! Huge accomplishment!

What do you do outside of work? I spend an enormous amount of time with my two-year-old daughter. She is a “Momma’s girl” through and through, with endless amounts of energy, so as every parent can imagine, I don’t get a ton of “me time.” When I do, I like to keep things simple by relaxing and reading a good book.

For 19 years, our optometry team at Ridgefield Vision Center has provided conscientious, personable vision care for adults and children in Richmond’s far West End, near Godwin High School and Short Pump Mall. We make going to the eye doctor a positive experience. Whether you need eyeglasses, sunglasses or contact lenses, we offer the highest quality products to ensure the health of your eyes so that you enjoy good vision in every season of life. We’ll continue to provide you with valuable information about the human eye and to provide the highest level of professional eye care for our patients’ vision health. Call us at 804-741-1204 and schedule your next appointment today!