Congratulations to Jessica Hults, OD for being named the Indiana Young Optometrist of the Month (March 2021)!
This award is courtesy of the Young Optometrist Leadership Organization (YOLO). YOLO is an organization that recognizes optometrists for their contributions to their patients, communities, optometry, and have been working in the field for less than 10 years
Dr. Hults is a native Hoosier, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She went to Heritage Christian School from elementary school through high school then attended Indiana University for undergraduate school. After completing three years of undergraduate studies, Dr. Hults received early admission into Indiana University School of Optometry (IUSO) where she graduated in May of 2019 with her Bachelor of Science in Optometric Science, her doctoral degree in Optometry, and a Business Management Certificate in Eye Care. During her time at IUSO, Dr. Hults served as an Associate Instructor in clinical courses and as IUSO’s Club President of Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) International Optometric Honor Society. Dr. Hults joined Eye Surgeons of Indiana, a busy MD/OD referral center in Indianapolis, in June of 2019 where she finished a year-long fellowship specializing in Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery before joining the practice as an associate in July of 2020. Dr. Hults is an active IOA and AOA member.
Q: What mode of practice are you in? Did you do a Residency and did this help you decide the mode or speciality you are currently in? Why does that fit the best for you?
A: I currently work at a busy OD/MD referral practice, Eye Surgeons of Indiana. I joined the practice after doing a year-long fellowship with them specializing in Ocular Disease and Refractive Surgery following graduation. I work closely with the cataract surgeons, specifically Dr. Paul Cacchillo, by examining and educating patients at their cataract consult and seeing the patients for their post-op visits. I also have independent clinic time where I focus on ocular disease like glaucoma or other optic neuropathies, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and emergency eye care. My dad and oldest brother are physicians, so I always had a love for the medical field. Working at this practice, I am able to combine that love with my love for optometry by working closely and alongside other physicians. I also like being busy and challenged...this practice definitely does that for me!
Q: As an IOA member, why do you think young ODs should join the association?
A: Throughout optometry school, I was never super involved in the IOA. After joining Eye Surgeons of Indiana, I have seen Dr. Damon Dierker, the current President of IOA and my colleague, take on leadership roles within the IOA and have been encouraged by him to get involved. I am so happy I did because I have been able to network with and form relationships with other optometrists in the area, reconnect with old classmates, and keep up to date on current legislative issues. It is so important that we get involved early as young ODs so that we can get plugged in, stay connected, and continue to be encouraged to learn about and advocate for our profession along the way!
Q: Of all your achievements, which are you most proud of?
A: At Eye Surgeons of Indiana, we are always on the cutting edge when it comes to technology and cataract surgery. Over the last year, I helped start a Light Adjustable Lens clinic at our Indianapolis location. We are one of two practices in Indiana that offer this technology. The Light Adjustable Lens is a UV-adjustable IOL implant inserted at the time of cataract surgery that can be customized post-surgery with in-office UV light treatments. This has been a great addition for our post-refractive (aka S/P LASIK, RK, PRK) patients as these patients are some of the hardest patients to estimate the correct IOL to implant at the time of surgery due to the altered cornea/corneal power. Following cataract surgery, patients come in for UV light adjustments (with ME!) where I do a detailed refraction, trial lenses, talk through options (such as great distance vision, monovision, or a mini monovison), and then refine their vision following cataract surgery with their treatment in-office. This has been such an exciting addition to our practice and it has been such a joy bringing exceptional vision, decreased glasses dependence, and LASIK-like results to people who had very blurry vision prior to surgery!
Q: What do you do to maintain a good work/life balance?
A: I think a good work/life balance is huge in your overall happiness and job satisfaction. I grew up on Geist Reservoir doing watersports and am really close with my family. My parents still have a boat there. Whenever my dad texts me to hit up the lake after work, I never want to have to turn it down! How I do this is by prioritizing my time. I go into work 30 minutes-1 hour early every single day to get charting/work done so that I can have more time after work to spend with family and friends.