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Meet Dr. Carey A. Patrick, O.D.

With a Vision to Help Others, Fairview EyeCare Gives Back

Girl Scout's mission is to prepare every girl for a lifetime of leadership. Dr. Carey A. Patrick, O.D., the owner of Fairview EyeCare, is a lifelong Girl Scout who embodies the pillars of the organization. She is a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader in her field, but her journey to serve others didn’t start with optometry. 

“Optometry is a second career for me. I picked it because I kept hitting my head on the glass ceiling of marketing communications. That career wasn’t sustainable with family life, and so I looked for something that would better support women in business and made it my own.”

When considering the professional move, she reflected on her own vision journey.

“My first experience wearing glasses and being able to see the leaves on the trees was eye-opening. That was the fourth grade, which motivates me to reach back to the pediatric population.”

Dr. Patrick is actively involved in InfantSEE, a public health program that prioritizes the wellness of six to twelve-month-old children and provides them with free eye exams.

“We are looking for vision development milestones. Are both eyes healthy and developing on progress?” These children are too young to read an eye chart, tell you their ABCs, or explain that one eye works and one doesn’t. As Dr. Patrick puts it, “They don’t have those articulatory abilities, but there are diseases and things that can go wrong with kids.”

InfantSEE helps infants make massive developmental leaps and has life-changing results. 

One of Dr. Patrick’s proudest moments with InfantSEE involves a 9-month-old baby experiencing “failure to thrive.” Dr. Patrick explains, “I realized he was in such need of glasses that he couldn’t see his mom’s face. He was failing to thrive because he couldn’t see the floor to touch. He didn’t know where to put his feet to begin to learn to walk.” Dr. Patrick made him a pair of glasses, put them on, and saw instant results: “His physical response to suddenly being able to see the world around him was rewarding and heartbreaking. But we figured that out at nine months old.”

Proactive eye care is monumental in developmental success. Patients should visit their eye doctor consistently. An annual eye exam is recommended, and children should have their first eye exam before their first birthday, their second exam between two and three years old, and their third before they start kindergarten. Dr. Patrick explains, “If their first opportunity to get screened doesn’t happen until kindergarten, you’ve missed out on so much of the development window that you could have done something easy. Now you’re faced with having to do something much harder.”

If a patient doesn’t proactively pursue regular eye exams, the outcome can be catastrophic.

“A young man once came in with acute angle closure, meaning he had fluid pressure inside the eye that had elevated beyond the tolerance level of his eye’s physical structure.” The office was about to close for the weekend, but Dr. Patrick’s team stayed late to get him back to a safe space. They saved his vision.

Dr. Patrick attributes her professional growth to colleagues, professors, and other leaders in her life. 

“People encouraged me to take a leadership role in the local professional society. People encouraged me to serve on the state licensing board. That’s part of why I push myself forward. I’m just an average Jane; why couldn’t another doctor also push themselves forward? It grows the profession. It makes it better for everybody, whether you're a patient or a doctor. We all win.”