ASCO Blog — Sha’Mia Stinson Recent Grad Profile
written by Dr. Sha’Mia Stinson
KYCO 2020 Graduate
Hi! I’m Sha’Mia Stinson and I am a recent graduate from the Kentucky College of Optometry from South Carolina.
I decided to pursue a career in optometry because I enjoy helping improve patient’s quality of life through vision services by diagnosing and treating eye related diseases, identifying possibly life threatening conditions, performing specific surgical procedures, and providing pre- and post-operative care for eye surgery patients.
Additionally, a career in optometry would provide me with the flexibility and freedoms I desire as it pertains to work life balance, flexible work schedules, different practice modalities and specific areas of interest. The past four years have been challenging yet rewarding in many different ways.
One experience that will stick with me is while attending KYCO, I had the opportunity to present a poster at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. During this conference I was able to make connections that will assist me throughout my career as an optometrist to achieve my desired level of success. It also emphasized the importance of research in the profession. The more we continue to learn about ocular conditions, medications, optical devices etc. the better we will be able to treat our patients.
While attending KYCO, we received in-depth training regarding injections and laser procedures to remove lumps/bumps, treat different types of glaucoma and issues that may arise after cataract surgery. Becoming proficient in these additional services will make primary eye care more accessible to the medically underserved rural populations. I had the opportunity to treat patients in a very rural area, encountering many conditions that will lead to blindness and poor quality of life. In large part this is due to patient’s inaccessibility to proper eye care and/or distrust of health care providers. These are two areas that I want to work to correct. The program is rigorous between exams and national boards however, being able to apply your knowledge in clinic and improve your patients’ quality of life makes it all worth it.
I’ve learned about advocating for the profession as it pertains to expanding the scope of practices to allow optometrisst to deliver a greater level of patient care. Before attending Optometry school, I was unaware of how important it is to be involved in advocacy work. It was a surprise to me but a very welcomed surprise. As my optometry school journey has come to an end, it looks very different than what I imagined with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Although, I have developed a strong interest in ocular disease and geriatrics, I feel prepared to work in any type of optometry setting as I have been exposed to a number of different ways to practice and how to be effective in each setting.