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Optometrist Spotlight: Dr. Alicia Feis, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Sep 14, 2016 12:00:00 AM


What is your current mode of optometry practice?

Education.  Pediatrics, infant vision and binocular vision-specifically strabismus and amblyopia

Describe your career path from graduation to where you are today.

After graduation, I completed a residency in Pediatric and Binocular vision at ICO.  I returned back to California and worked a few part time jobs in ophthalmology before moving to Fort Collins Colorado.  There I worked in a private practice that specialized in vision therapy full time.  I saw patients of all ages throughout the week and we also had students who rotated through the office for their fourth year externships. 
I had always wanted to go into education and this experience made me think about getting into education full time. I moved back to California for personal reasons but then started working part time in the clinic at SCCO.  A full time position opened up at ICO working with all the chicago public school children so I made another move.  While I was at ICO I was contacted by the Dean and they informed me the new school in Arizona was in need of a teacher for the strabismus and amblyopia course. 
This was my dream course so I came out to take a look at the school and decided to make one last move.  Here I was able to teach my own two courses along with many other lectures in other courses. I also ran the clinic rotations for the fourth year externs and have now moved up into my new role as the Associate Dean of Academic affairs. 

What made you decide to get into education?

I have always wanted to teach.  When I was younger I thought I would be a second grade teacher.  I love the moment when the light bulb goes on and the challenge to get students to learn new things. 

What aspect of educating optometry students do you like most?

Seeing them get excited about our profession. I love watching them grow each quarter and becoming less like a student and more like a doctor.

What made you decide to transition into an administrative role?

Working at a new school there are lots of things that are constantly changing.  I enjoyed being in many of the meetings that talked about the vision of where we wanted to be and being a part of that change.  I am very interested in how to make our students successful doctors and how the curriculum must be adapted with the changes going on in our profession. It is important that our education be ahead of the current practices to keep our profession on the leading edge.

Are you involved in any other optometry related work?

I am the clinical director for the Special Olympics here in Arizona.  We run a large screening program for the summer games every year.  The school also has a close relationship with the Arizona Optometric Association.  A few of the board members are adjunct faculty that teach students in the classroom and the clinic. 

Any advice for a recent graduate wanting to get into education?

Go and see what it is about. I love that my day varies everyday and I am never bored.   Most schools require that you have a residency to teach in the classroom.  If you don't have a residency, you can possibly work in the lab or the clinic to get some teaching experience under your belt and see if it is something you want to continue pursuing.  Education has lots of great benefits when it comes to conference attendance, time off and health insurance etc.  

What do you do for fun outside of optometry?

I love to travel. I enjoy hiking and being outdoors. Spending time with my husband and our friends always makes for a great weekend event!

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Topics: Optometrist Spotlight



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