A Trip to the Eye Doctor Changes a Life

05/30/2019

written by Theresa Maher, ASCO intern

Dr. Shahab Motamedi

It was a typical day in May in Waldorf, Maryland.

Dr. Shahab Motamedi was seeing his last patient of the day one Saturday afternoon, and the patient asked if Motamedi could perform a comprehensive eye exam on his wife. He said he could, and when his patient brought his wife in, Dr. Motamedi realized she was blind.

As the patient and his wife explained that she was blind due to the toxicity of a drug used to address her lupus, Motamedi found that she also had a severe corneal disease known as keratoconus. The disease had never been addressed before they saw Motamedi.

Motamedi concentrates on fitting keratoconus contact lens in his practice, “and just looking at her cornea I knew her vision could be improved with scleral lenses,” Motamedi said. Motamedi put a trial lens on the woman’s eyes, and she started crying and shouted that she could see.

“I will never forget that moment,” Motamedi said, “because it was truly the best moment in my career.” That moment was filmed and shared and it went viral. The local Washington, DC Fox affiliate aired a story about the experience recently.

Motamedi said that the woman can now drive with a limited driver’s license and see her 11 year old son for the first time.

Motamedi graduated from the State University of New York with his OD in 2015. He graduated from college in 2008, when the economy was in a financial crisis—the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Motamedi took the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) because he initially thought he wanted to go to dental school, but was put on the waitlist for a few schools. Motamedi was then introduced to the field of optometry while he did research at the University of Pennsylvania. When Motamedi took the OAT (the Optometry Admissions Test), he did well and wasn’t thinking as much about dental school by then.

“I am really passionate about my profession,” Motamedi said, “much more than when I first started it.”

Motamedi says to hopeful Doctors of Optometry and anyone considering optometry as a profession that it’s a good one — it all depends on what you make out of it.

“My advice,” Motamedi said, “find a niche and be good at it!”

As for the future of optometry and Doctors of Optometry, Motamedi says that the standard of care has to remain high, and that Doctors of Optometry have to always be confident in their way of practice.

“Optometry will grow and will expand,” said Motamedi, “we all need to find out a way to be a part of it.”