Diva of the week – Christine Hair, OD

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Christine Hair.  Read the full feature below to learn how her childhood condition led to finding her calling as an Optometrist.

1. Tell us a little bit about you

I was born in Massachusetts, but have lived in six states: MA, NC, NH, TX, CA, and FL. I went to the University of Texas at Austin and majored in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics. After graduation, I worked in California in the field of biotechnology for several years. I soon realized though, that I did not enjoy the work. I began looking into alternate careers and my optometrist set me on my current path.

I graduated from the University of Houston College of Optometry. After graduation, I relocated to Tampa.

My husband Greg and I have two boys. So when I’m not at work, I’m helping with homework, driving the boys to practices, and building LEGOs.

I’m a work-out junkie who enjoys running, cycling, barre classes, and lifting weights. I’m also an avid reader.

2. What made you decide to become an Optometrist?

I was born at 28 weeks which means I was 12 weeks premature. Because I was born so early, I developed Retinopathy of Prematurity. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disease that can happen in premature babies. It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina and can lead to blindness.

Due to my birth complications, my parents were told that I had only a 10% chance of survival. It was every parent’s worst nightmare and they were devastated. However, over the next few weeks, something changed.  The little fighter in me came out and against all odds, I survived.  

I not only survived, I grew up strong and healthy. In spite of those unfavorable odds, I was a rambunctious kid. However, I still had ROP. Luckily for me, I didn’t go blind but I became very nearsighted. 

My optometrist was one of my favorite doctors to visit as a child. Because of my eye condition, I visited my Optometrist very often. She was the one who has always been there for me. She was a constant growing up and the “happy doctor” to go to. 

After working in biotechnology for a few years, I realized I did not enjoy the work. I began researching alternate careers. That’s when I started to remember my Optometrist and how she made me feel during my visits. I realized that I wanted to bring that same experience to other people. That’s when I knew Optometry was the career for me.

I changed careers and I’ve never looked back since!

3. What Optometry school did you go to?

The University of Houston College of Optometry

4. Where do you currently practice?

TLC Laser Eye Centers Tampa

5. Do you offer any specialty services in your practice?

Refractive Surgery (LASIK and PRK)

6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges I faced was finding the right job.  Five years after graduation I left being an associate in a commercial location to work in a private practice. The doctor wanted a business partner. I was promised the moon, but was paid as an associate. After four weeks, I realized this was not a good fit, and I left the position.

I had a small child and a husband who traveled for work… and no job. I made calls all over town. One of my colleagues gave my name to the Center Manager of TLC Tampa who was looking for a new Clinical Director. I went through five rounds of interviews and many days of filling in at the office to make sure the center and staffing were a place I could see myself in for a long time.

As I’m coming up on my 9 year anniversary at TLC, I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love the challenge of working in refractive surgery. I’ve found where I belong.

7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself or any other students stop stressing so much about grades. Once you pass boards, no one cares what your optometry school GPA was. It’s important to study hard and take time off to have some fun as well.

How to contact Dr. Christine Hair

To contact Christine, click on her social media profile links below or visit her website at www.tlcvision.com

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-hair-66470123

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cwhairod

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