Dr. M Rosenfield Interview Part 2: His View On Being An Optometrist

Dr Rosenfield is a professor at SUNY Optometry who teaches OTP (Optometric Theory and Procedures) I and II, taught during the fall and spring semesters of 1st year respectively. These courses lay the foundation for all classes as they cover refraction, accommodation, binocularity and other critical aspects of optometry. Dr Rosenfield not only teaches, but also does research. Through his research and teaching he shows dedication and passion for the field of optometry. It was very nice of him to share his thoughts on many different topics:

OS: What are the most important qualities of a good optometrist?
Dr R: You’ve got to like working with people. Because some of the tasks can get very repetitive. You can get some absorbing patients, but you get a lot of routine patients too. To me what makes optometry interesting is not just doing the procedures themselves, but also interacting with people. I find people fascinating. Some of them are a little crazy (actually more than a few in New York City!), but that’s what makes it fun and interesting. Sometimes taking a case history and trying to work out what is going on is like being in a detective story. To be a good clinician you’ve got to be good at talking to people, and maybe even more importantly at listening. And it helps if you are good at doing an eye exam as well!

OS: What is the difference between the British system and the American system, and how did it impact your career?
Dr R: The biggest difference in the education system is that in Britain, you can go straight from high school to professional school (Medical, Dental, Law or Optometry). Optometry is still a 4 year program, although it is 3 years at university, followed by a year in private practice or in a hospital setting, before you take the practical “Board” exams. There are also differences in the way optometry is practiced. In Britain, there’s a shortage of ophthalmologists, and so there’s a good relationship between Optometry and Ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists don’t have time to do refractions or routine primary eye care, so they let the optometrists do that. Accordingly, there is a relationship that works well. There is more respect for the boundaries, and there’s less competition between the two professions.

optometristOS: How do you like to unwind from the world of optometry? What are your hobbies?
Dr R: I like running. I just completed my 8th marathon. I find running a wonderful relaxation. When I go for a long run I don’t listen to music like a lot of folks do. I call it “me time”, with an opportunity to think about things going on at work and elsewhere. I often think about my research while I am running. I am also a huge soccer fan. I spend a lot of time watching and reading about English soccer in general, and Liverpool Football Club, which is my favorite team in particular. I love reading in general. I really enjoy cooking too, which is just as well because my wife hates to cook!

OS: If you were stranded on an island and you could only bring 3 things, what would you bring?
Dr R: It wouldn’t be a retinoscope, that’s for sure! I would probably bring a soccer ball, a pair of running shoes, and maybe a Kindle loaded up with as many books as I could fit on there!


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