Diva of The Week – Flana Levando, OD

Elite Diva - Orlando, FL Chapter

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Flana Levando. Read the feature to discover why Flana believes no matter the circumstances, you can work through and succeed throughout difficult periods of time.

1. Tell us a little bit about you?

I'm originally from Sarasota, Florida. I am the first generation of my family to be born in the United States. The rest of my family is from Kiev, Ukraine and immigrated to the States over 30 years ago. Something unique about me is that I'm fluent in Russian and proficient in Spanish. I am not married, but I'm currently in a committed relationship. My favorite thing to do is anything active or outdoors – hiking, biking, dancing, working out, traveling… and spending time with family & friends too!

2. What made you decide to become in Optometrist?

I always knew I wanted a career in healthcare. I shadowed many different professions in high school and in college: Dermatology, Optometry, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology, and Pediatric oncology. When I got the opportunity to shadow my own optometrist, that's when I realized my passion for eyes. It never seemed to get monotonous or boring. I felt like I could continuously find excitement in this field. I shadowed him multiple times throughout my pre-optometry school years and was never dissuaded. I graduated optometry school in 2020 and contrary to some of my patients’ beliefs, I did not join the field when I did just for the pun... 2020... Get it? LOL!

3. What Optometry school did you go to?

Nova Southeastern College of Optometry

4. Where do you currently practice and do you offer any specialty services?

Florida Eye Clinic, Ocoee and Clermont, Florida. I occasionally work at Target Optical on weekends. I fit Specialty Contact Lenses, including RGP and scleral lenses.

5. Why did you join Optometry Divas?

I've always felt that community is important. I love meeting new people, learning from others, and gaining new perspectives. Furthermore, I am an extrovert and enjoy sharing experiences such as conferences and social gatherings with other passionate & ambitious individuals!

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

This was a hurdle that preceded the start of my career, but was part of the journey. One week prior to my boards, a patient in one of my clinics had stolen my iPad, iPhone, & charger out of my clinic room as I was returning with samples & educational pamphlets for her. While that was highly disappointing as I used my iPad for the majority, if not all, my boards studying, I did not let that phase me. After that clinic day, I continued my same study regimen and met my partner in the laboratory to practice our skills. As I returned home that same evening around midnight, I noticed that my car was broken into. My BIO kit and accessories were stolen. The following day after I filed the police report, I noticed unusual symptoms and came down with the flu.

While that was the lowest I had felt in a long while (there was a brief moment I thought I had truly angered someone without knowing and was being targeted), I joked that all bad things come in threes. The worst was over. I would continue practicing my scripts and I would not postpone my Part 3 Boards.

With the support of family & friends, I put the past behind me and flew to North Carolina to take the national board exam the following week. I am now licensed and enjoying my career, but those few weeks were unforgettable. They will always serve as a reminder that no matter the circumstances, you can work through and succeed throughout difficult periods of time.

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

Do not stress about all of the tiny details. Perfection is not a crucial goal in becoming a successful O.D. Passion, ambition, and a thirst for knowledge are more crucial than perfection. Furthermore, I'd remind myself that if effort & time are put in, all things work out in the end.

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