Christine Manzella, OD
Ambassador – Tampa, FL
The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Christine Manzella. Read the full feature below to learn more about why she loves to empower and inspire others!
1. Tell us a little bit about you?
I was born in Long Island, New York and raised in Bradenton, Florida. I attended USF and earned my Bachelor’s in Biology. I then went on to Nova Southeastern University where I earned my Masters in Public Health while also earning my Doctorate of Optometry.
I currently work as the Doctor Liaison for Gulf Coast Optometry as well as provide patient care. Gulf Coast Optometry is owned by Dr. Kevin Brooks. Partnering with Dr. Brooks has been and continues to be an amazing experience. He was recently named the leaseholder of the year by National Vision Inc. and currently has 38 locations inside Eyeglass World. I am more than grateful for this opportunity. It has allowed me to provide comprehensive eye care inside a retail setting, as well as network with many other of my colleagues.
I am a single mother of a sweet 7 year old boy named Maddox. I love to be active and adventurous. I went hang gliding off the Swiss Alps this past year! I also hiked 18 miles down to the base of the Grand Canyon and back up (without camping) in less than a day! I love to scuba dive, paddle board and love, love, love to spend time with my son. I enjoy motivating others to become the best version of themselves.
I recently had some major life changes, such as becoming a single mother and loosing 28 lbs. I enjoy being active, working out and eating healthy. I am devoted to my self growth. I hope that if you are reading this and are struggling in any way with anxiety or depression that you will seek the help that is best for you and hope your choose to fight daily to recognize your self worth. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to hear more about my story or need some guidance. I love to empower and inspire others and truly believe in working daily on self love, self compassion and self growth
2. What made you decide to become an Optometrist?
As a young child, I remember getting my first pair of glasses. I also remember my first time wearing contact lenses at 11 years old. How cool was that! I enjoyed going to the eye doctor annually. I was so curious and also felt very relaxed with my eye doctor (as a child I did not enjoy visiting any type of doctor so feeling calm at my Optometrist’s office stood out to me).
In high school and my first year of college, I knew I was meant to help others and give back to the community. Just as I was deciding which path in the health field to take, it was time for my annual eye exam. After discussing optometry as a career with my optometrist, we decided it would be great for me to shadow him. I knew I found my passion and my career path after being given the opportunity to shadow him. I am thankful for his guidance and mentorship.
3. What Optometry school did you go to?
4. Where do you currently practice?
5. Do you offer any specialty services in your practice?
Dry eye treatments, pediatric eye care and contact lenses.
6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
One struggle is balancing work and being a single mother. There is no perfect answer to this hurdle but I make sure that when I am off and spending time with my little man to BE PRESENT. Make each moment count and do not be distracted by the worries or anxieties of the past or future.
As an Optometrist, I think it is easy to forget that there is more to performing an eye exam than just correcting the vision and checking the eye health. I try to connect with each patient on a more personal level. I LISTEN to their overall needs and make sure I am fully present and can serve them in as many ways as they need.
I truly love my job and appreciate I get to positively influence many people on a daily basis..
7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself to be less critical of myself, and have more self worth and more self compassion. Optometry school is intense and stressful enough, and being super critical of myself and my performance only added more stress and caused some physical illness to present itself.
I would recommend that students study hard but also do not be so hard/critical of one self. Find healthy ways to outlet the stress of school