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Optometry Divas: Empowering optometric thought leaders


Optometry Times' editor Kassi Jackson speaks with Lauretta Justin, OD, founder of Optometry Divas, and Lisa Hornick, OD, recipient of Optometry Divas' Thought Leader of the Year 2022 award.

Optometry Times' editor Kassi Jackson speaks with Lauretta Justin, OD, founder of Optometry Divas, and Lisa Hornick, OD, recipient of Optometry Divas' Thought Leader of the Year 2022 award.

See the full transcript below.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity:

Kassi Jackson, editor:

Hi everyone, I'm Kassi Jackson with Optometry Times. And I'm joined today by Dr. Lauretta Justin, founder of Optometry Divas, as well as Dr. Lisa Hornick, recipient of Optometry Divas' 2022 Thought Leader Award. Thank you both for being here.

Lauretta Justin, OD, founder, Optometry Divas:

Thank you. Thank you for having us.


Dr. Justin, why don't you tell us a bit about the Thought Leader Award; you know, what inspired and encouraged you to establish this award.


The Thought Leader Award is about one of our divas who has really dedicated themselves to the profession, to growing the profession, to growing their own skills, and who really embodies the whole mission that we have: to empower, to connect, and to promote and live out the values that we support as Optometry Divas.

So I wanted to create a way for us to celebrate, you know, the different ladies in our group and the amazing things that they do every day and the things that in the way that they are changing this profession and spearheading it forward.

So this award was created to acknowledge that and I'm so glad that we have Lisa here today to talk about that, because I couldn't be prouder of her and the things that she's doing.


Dr. Hornick, what does receiving this award mean to you?

Lisa Hornick, OD, recipient of Optometry Divas' Thought Leader of the Year 2022 award:

So it was an absolute honor. I'm just so thankful, you know, to be given the opportunity to help elevate our career. As Loretta mentioned, we elevate, connect, and promote.

And it's so awesome and very meaningful that it's actually here in July because it's Dry Eye Awareness Month. So I'm hoping to bring more awareness to not only patients but also other doctors about dry eye disease.


Yeah, so kind of building off of that. Can you tell us about how receiving this award helps you to empower other optometric thought leaders?


I hope that it inspires other doctors to find something that they're passionate about; to find a specialty in optometry that really gets them going in the morning, and they just want to learn everything they can. That's how I feel about dry eye disease, and it's been this way since about 2014—I've really focused on it. And every year, I'm just learning more and more and it's constantly changing.

So it's just a really great feeling to be able to give back, to learn more, and then to be able to give back to my patients and other professions. I would recommend to younger doctors that they might get a little frustrated if it's slow-going in the beginning, but just to keep at it if it's something that they're really passionate about. Keep working hard at it, and in time it will pay off. I promise.


I love that. Dr. Justin, what about Dr. Hornick stands out most to you.


So I really admire her dedication to the organization—to Optometry Divas, to the profession, and to just developing her own clinical skills. As optometrist, there's so much that we can do, sometimes I feel in my office, I'm like, "This is a hospital." We have to triage every patient who comes in because you just never know what's going to show up on your doorstep.

But when you have a specific area that you've decided to focus on, it allows you to really develop that quality of care in that particular area. Because you've learned so much about it, people come to see you for it; it can kind of reduce your stress level a little bit because you know what's coming, and you're able to provide that care.

So I admire that about Lisa, that she's been able to decide, "I want to do that focus," and then has worked on that and developed it and grow it. And also her willingness to share the information with other doctors to empower — to mentor — other doctors to help develop in this particular specialty and dry eye. So that's also something I find inspiring.

And also she is an ambassador of the Sacramento Chapter [of Optometry Divas]. So that's also inspiring because of her leadership skills and helping people to develop and grow. So I admire that about her.


Dr. Hornick, you mentioned what your passions are, so what about optometry makes you most excited?


What makes me the most excited is that we just keep getting better and better.

You know, we just we have new pharmaceuticals, we have new technology — outstanding technology, really, new medical devices. Our scope of practice is expanding immensely: so many states are getting the chance to do lasers, they're getting injectables.

So it's really exciting that we're able to provide more to our patients year after year, and treat more conditions. And like Laura said, you just never know what's going to come in the office and we are primary care and so we get to treat them first and the fact that we can do more and more. It's really it's... I love it. It's really exciting.


That's awesome. Can you tell us about a contribution you've made to optometry that's most meaningful to you?


So I've been having a lot of fun educating others, doctors, and as Loretta had mentioned, I love sharing everything what I'm learning about dry eye disease with other other colleagues.

I started with just sort of teaching my local doctors here in Sacramento, how they can build their own dry eye clinic, and then that went to more of a national level and I was able to lecture on the national level. So doing those lectures has been a lot of fun.

I've had the opportunity to be a key opinion leader with Luminous, and so being at big meetings like Vision Expo or Academy and being to teach so many other doctors on that level, as well as it just means so much to me, and I'm really enjoying it. It's been great.


Well, it sounds very exciting. And you know, I can feel your passion, you know, listening to you talk.

Dr. Justin, can you share with us your hopes for the future of optometry, especially when empowering women?


What I love about our profession is all the option that's available for you to practice.

I mean, you could do so much, you can go in so many different arenas: you can do specialty practice only, you can do specialty contacts only, I have a few friends—some of our divas—that's all they do, that's all they see, in their practice. You could have a dry eye center only, you can be a primary care provider, there's so much that you can do and I like that flexibility that we have in the profession.

And that's really what I hope to do with this award — and with Optometry Divas — is really to kind of open up our eyes to all the option that's available. So that way you know you are where you belong; and you can be somewhere where it's a good fit for you, and you're not somewhere where you're not happy, you're not doing something you're not happy with; because we have so many options.

So I do hope that as we get more educated, and as the technology continues to evolve, we will continue to have more and more options. And my goal is to participate, and that educating and that opening on mindset so we can see different options that's available, and then come out — I don't want to say push — but kind of nudge us in the directions of trying different things and being open to change and being receptive to all that's happening.

So sometimes I think we look at the profession, we can look at it and the negative side, but like Lisa say, I think we have so many good things that's coming.

So many good things that are happening, so many options. That is really a great time to be an optometrist and I'm glad as part of Optometry Divas to be part of that.


Wonderful. Is there anything that either of you would like to add that we didn't touch on?


I would like to add first of all, if you are not part of Optometry Divas, you definitely need to check us out at optometrydivas.com. And if you're in Sacramento, definitely check out Lisa.

But I always encouraged every OD — every woman OD — in the mission of empower, connect, and promote that we have, is to be sure that what you're doing — where you are — this is a place that you want to be. Your life is so important, is so valuable, you really should think about the things that are valuable to you your mission, your vision, your purpose.

I talk about your core values, your core beliefs, thinking about these things, and really looking into what you do every day. And make sure that it is what you want to do. Because we can provide so much more when we are in the right place.

So make sure you are in the place that you need to be at that time. That's really the one encouragement I always like to give to everybody.


Yeah, I just want to thank Lauretta for, you know, all her hard work with our profession and especially with women optometrists.

A lot of times we kind of stay in our own little bubble. And we forget that there are so many other people out there to help us. And especially as you know, as mothers with our kids and our husbands, and we are pulled in sometimes all these different directions as a business owner, and we forget that there are people out there that can help us, we don't have to figure out everything on our own.

So she's created this incredible organization of mentors, and we text each other all the time. We have group chats, or we email each other and we say, hey, you know, I'm running into this problem, into this situation, can anybody help me? Or I need a new topographer, which one should I get? So it's so awesome to have that network of other people, to have their opinion, and don't forget that there are so many people out there to help you don't stay in your own little bubble.

Definitely reach out whether it's a mentor, or just a friend, or a network of doctors. And then as you proceed in the profession, make sure to give back.


Yeah, I definitely second that.

One sentence I learned from one of my mentors is that "success leaves clues," right. So whatever it is you want to do, there's usually someone who's done it, who's done it really well. So follow in their footsteps, and it's amazing how many people are willing to help.

If you can just reach out through an email or phone call. So many people are willing to help. So like Lisa says, definitely reach out. Don't go it alone.


It's all great advice. Dr. Justin, Dr. Hornick, thank you both so much for your time today.


Thank you so much, Kassi; thank you to Optometry Times for giving us this opportunity to come and share about this award, about Optometry Divas. So we really appreciate the partnership and the support. So thank you; thank you for all you do in the industry, educating us with this wonderful publication. So thank you for having us.

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