Elba Fernandez, OD
Elite Diva- Houston, TX
The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Elba Fernandez. Read the full feature below to learn how taking a few years off to take care of her sick baby did not stop her from pursuing her dreams.
1. Tell us a little bit about you?
I am 41years old. I was born in Monterrey, Mexico. I currently practice in Houston, Texas. I am a mother of 3; a 13yr old girl, 12yr old boy, and 11yr old boy. That’s right! Back to Back!
A couple of unique things about me:
1. I had 3 kids in 20 months and I lived to tell the tale!
2. I have 4 large breed dogs and 1 Pig at home…all inside pets.
What’s your super power?
Favorite thing I like to do is, dance! I love to get down!
2. What made you decide to become an Optometrist?
I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine, but I wasn’t sure in which branch. In my 3rd year in undergrad at the University of Houston, I attended an “Optometry Day” event. This event was focused on recruiting undergrad students for their Optometry program.
As I listened to the presentations about the profession, I became very interested. I went around to the different tables and asked a lot of questions. The representatives humored me and answered all my questions and recommended that I apply. I did listen to them and submitted my application right there. I was very excited the day I found out that I got in!
I’m so glad I pursued Optometry because I love my job. The eye really is the window to our soul and our health. As Eye Doctors, we have the ability to ‘catch’ so many health issues and provide the care that can help patients live better. Because of our comprehensive eye exams, many times, we save lives.
I feel that we are like primary health providers, we are the gate keepers or our patients’ health. I love that I can do that each day!
3. What Optometry school did you go to?
4. Where do you currently practice?
Bellair Eye Care in Houston, TX
5. Do you offer any specialty services in your practice?
I specialize in Neuro-Optometry. I prescribe a lot of Fresnel prisms for binocular diplopia and Pelis lenses for homonymous hemianopsias. I also run a Dry Eye Clinic.
6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle I faced in my career was after the birth of my second child. He was a micro-preemie. A micro–preemie is a baby who is born weighing less than 1 pound, 12 ounces (800 grams) or before 26 weeks gestation. My son weighed only 1 lb 4 oz at birth and remained in the NICU for the first 6 months of his life.
When he finally came home he had a tracheotomy to help him breathe. To care for him, I put my career on hold for 3 years. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision for my family.
When I was ready to go back to work, I was concerned that being out of the clinic for 3 years would affect my knowledge or capabilities as an optometrist. To my pleasant surprise, it didn’t.
When I started back working, I did a lot of relief work to get the hang of working in different environments with different patient bases and different practice styles. Within a few weeks, It was as if I had never left.
My son is now 12yrs old now and is healthy and happy. I am so glad that I took sometime off to focus on my family. Knowing that I have given and continue to give my best to my family provided me the confidence to enter private practice. I now have my own practice and I’m able to do the thing I love while being surrounded by the people that I love. I couldn’t be happier!
7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself to ‘take it easy” and relax a little bit; everything will work out just fine.
To contact Elba, you can click on her social media profile links below or visit her website at BellairEyecare.com.