Making our Private Practice Knowledge “Sharp”

One of the great things about UIWRSO is that professors are very involved in the multiple clubs we have at school. They are able to come in and give talks about their personal practices, experiences, or advice for future optometrists. One of the prominent clubs at UIWRSO is our Private Practice Club (PPC). PPC brings in professionals who share their experiences with students on opening practices, what works and what doesn’t. Additional guidance can be found in special events like “Dining with the Doctors” where students have the opportunity to eat at a restaurant with a professor from our school and “pick their brain.” Fortunately, one of our professors, Dr. Richard Sharp, was able to speak to the students of UIWRSO about his private practice, Sharp Eye Consultants, P.A. Dr. Sharp teaches “Diagnosing and Management of Glaucoma” at UIWRSO, and also hosts an externship for fourth year students (which I will be attending—stay tuned for details!).

Sharp Consultants, P.A. is a practice that focuses on those who have ocular or systemic diseases and providing care for those patients. Many patients are those who are referred by their primary care physicians for this specialized care. The practice has an optical to provide these services to patients, as well. Three doctors manage the practice, including Dr. Sharp, Dr. Eddy Contreras, and Dr. Steven Campbell, who are all optometric glaucoma specialists. As I mentioned previously, RSO fourth years have an opportunity to work alongside these skilled doctors during their externships.

Dr. Sharp visited with the students of RSO of how his private practice came to be. He first started talking about when and where it was created and what kind of income the practice generates. Dr. Sharp mentioned that one source of income is a “capitated contract,” which I had no idea what that was. As he put it, you get paid to “take care of a patient month by month” instead of charging per visit. As he explained it more and more, it definitely gave us a better idea about the options available to us once we have our own practices. He also talked about the issues he had opening a practice and what to watch out for. This is the kind of advice you can only get from someone who has experienced set backs; I was very interested in this part because we can avoid these mistakes in the future. He then went on to explain what a day is typically like in his practice: who they see each day, what kind of patients, as well as the billing that comes along with it. Dr. Sharp also offered some tips for us, as future doctors, on how to impress your patients such as taking the extra five minutes to explain their disease because they will appreciate it and come back to your practice. I hope you enjoy a glimpse of his presentation:

Sharp1 Sharp2 Sharp3 Sharp4 Sharp5 Sharp6 Sharp7 Sharp9 Sharp10 Sharp11 Sharp12 Sharp13

At RSO, we are lucky to have professors who can give us the “keys to success.” I love the fact that our faculty is close to the students and they help us to learn from their mistakes and triumphs. Even though it might be quite sometime before I open my own practice, I will take what I learned from Dr. Sharp’s presentation and apply it when the time comes.

To learn more about Dr. Sharp’s practice, please visit:

Dr. Parker demonstrates Customer Service in a “Full Scope Practice”

Dr. Parker - Essilor

The Private Practice Club at UIWRSO welcomed Dr. Parker to lecture on “Full Scope Practice” on Monday, March 2nd from 6-7pm in the Lecture Hall 328.  Over 60 students and faculty came out to this event and were very please with the presentation, role-playing, videos, and the tips for improving their customer service. Dr. Parker was very interactive and invited students to come to the front to act as a customer or patient while Dr. Parker acted as an “engaging” or “not so caring” doctor to demonstrate the impact that good customer service have on the patient.

Dr. Ryan Parker graduated from the Oklahoma College of Optometry at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah Oklahoma in 2004.  While in school he was honored to be elected as President of The AOSA and greatly enjoyed his time serving the national student association.  He opened Parker Family Vision Center in 2007 after being involved in two partnerships.  Dr. Parker practices full scope optometry.  He is proud to be among a select group of Optometrists in the state of Oklahoma that have completed the training to become licensed to perform PRK eye surgery.  Dr. Parker works as an optometric consultant in professional relations for Essilor of North America and lectures for Essilor nationwide. He has lectured on practice management topics at many of the schools and colleges of Optometry and has presented numerous lectures to opticians and optometric physicians on a variety of spectacle lens related topics.

He shared his experiences with the students and many students were glad to have learned more about private practice from a customer service point of view. Please watch this clip to hear what he had to say!

TEXAS BBQ dinner from Rudy’s was served in the cafeteria afterwards. There was brisket, sausages, beans, corn, peach cobbler, pecan pie, and refreshing ice tea! Essilor sponsored Dr. Parker to come to our school as well as the food for the school.


The Private Practice Club Symposium

Symposium PPC SignageRecently, the Private Practice Club (PPC) at UIWRSO hosted the first ever “Modes of Optometric Practice” Symposium. I invited doctors from various modes of Optometric Practice to come sit on a panel for the students in order to educate interns about the variety in practice styles one can pursue and to introduce the interns to the pros and cons of the different modes of practices. Th symposium started with a full course luncheon sponsored by Walmart and Sam’s Club, then came a series of mini speaker bios, a panel, and ended with small group discussions with individual speakers. You can view the slides here.


  • Drs. Nevelow, OD (PRIVATE PRACTICE)
  • Dr. Monica Allison, OD (Texas Optometric Association)
  • Dr. Sharon Early, PharmD (WALMART)
  • Dr. Sharp, OD (GROUP PRACTICE)
  • Dr. Graciela Sable, OD (CORPORATE PRACTICE)
  • Dr. Garcia, OD (EDUCATOR, UIWRSO PPC Faculty Advisor)


  • 12:30 PM PPC Student Officers – INTRODUCTIONS
  • 12:35 PM Dr. Early, Walmart Regional Talent Specialist
  • 1:40 PM Q&A PANEL
  • MODERATORS: Intern Susan Ly/Dr. Garcia
  • 2:50 PM END

The Panel was especially interesting to the students because we asked attendees to send us their questions to ask the panelists. The PPC officers took the questions and condensed it to 3 comprehensive panel questions:

  1.       What benefit(s) did you foresee that helped persuade you to choose the mode of practice you chose? Did those benefits materialize? In your mode of practice, what would you wish was different?
  2.       What abilities or leadership skills do you wish you had developed very early in your career? What do you know now, you wish you had been aware of then?
  3.       What are you looking for when you are hiring a new/young practitioner? What makes them a competitive applicant? What would prompt you to consider an associate? How would you envision integrating an associate into your practice?

Dr. Garcia, the moderator of the panel, also opened the panel to the audience giving them a chance to ask more questions.

The last portion of this event was the small group discussions. A speaker would join a roundtable of students and they would talk about anything that they want. I overheard students asking about “balancing work and personal life”, “best way to generate income”, and more!

All in all this event was a great success! As the President of the Private Practice Club, I received a lot of positive feedback, from the speakers and students. I hope the attendees were able to take away knowledge of the flexibility and recognition of the variety in this profession!