Jaya Pathapati, O.D.

Elite Diva- Amarillo, TX

The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Jaya Pathapati. Read the full feature below to learn how Jaya discovered that Medical School was not the right fit for her.

 

1. Tell us a little bit about you?

I grew up in Bronx, NY and after graduating from SUNY in 1998, I moved to Texas shortly afterwards.

 

I have been married for 28 years to my wonderful husband who is a Gastroenterologist. I have two children 23, and 18. One is in the real world working for Facebook and one is heading to college next fall.

 

I love spending time with my friends, cooking, reading and sketching/drawing. I also LOVE keeping up with new things for my practice.

 

2. What made you decide to become an Optometrist?

I became a Optometrist by detour…

 

I was all set to go to medical school. In my last year of college, I actually applied and got in. However, around the same time I got into med school, my husband began his residency. After seeing his schedule and the burden it put on his life, I realized I did not want that. I wanted a different lifestyle. I wanted more freedom of time. Maybe medical school was not for me after all.

 

I started thinking, there’s got to be something else I can do in health care that is not so time consuming. I went to my college counselor and asked, what are my options in the health field beyond medical school? She first laughed and then suggested I look into Optometry.

 

Optometry sounded interesting.  After all, I wore glasses and really liked my “dorky eye doctor”.  So I did some research. After researching Optometry, I came to the conclusion that it was the perfect fit. I decided not to go to medical school and instead went on to Optometry School.

 

What a Blessing that choice has been in my life! From day one I have loved the profession and everything it has to offer. I am a cheerleader for optometry and constantly encourage students to consider it as a profession.  I have had 4 patients who went on to become optometrists and one heading to optometry school this fall.

 

Optometry has given me the freedom of time and the lifestyle I wanted. I’m so glad I found a profession that was the right fit for me!

 

 

3. What Optometry school did you go to?

The State University of New York (SUNY)  College of Optometry

 

4. Where do you currently practice?

Eyecareplus, Amarillo, TX

 

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

Dry Eye, Specialty contacts, Starting sports Vision

 

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

My first challenge out of school was finding the right practice modality. I knew I wanted to have my own private practice, but It was hard to break into Private practice when I moved to Texas. I was one of 2 female Optometrists in town at that time. Of course, this was almost 22 years ago.
 

I didn’t yet have the resources to go into private practice. So, I found something that fit my life at that time. I worked at Sears Optical and took care of patients to the best of my ability. I figured, when the right time comes, I will be able to have my dream practice. I was patient and eventually the right time did come. 

 

As a practice owner, another hurdle I faced was a lack of business acumen. I did not know the business aspect of Optometry in the beginning. To overcome this hurdle, I immersed myself into anything I could get my hands on to educate myself on the business side of my practice. I gotta tell ya, it’s a work in progress!

 

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

I’d tell myself to learn more on the business side of optometry.

 

Do you have a product or side business you’d like for us to include in your feature?

I partnered with a small frame vendor and designed a frame line. It is called Sai (which means blessing) We offer this as our house brand in my practice.

To contact Jaya email her at drpathapati@eyecareplus.com

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