Welcome to our Eye Doctor Spotlight series, where we feature the talented and compassionate eye doctors at Vision Salon Eye Care Associates in Blue Island, IL. We believe that our eye doctors are the heart and soul of our practice, and we are excited to share their stories with you. From their backgrounds and education to their areas of expertise and personal interests, we want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the exceptional eye doctors who make our practice what it is today.
This month, we interviewed Dr. Dana Shannon, an optometrist and Director of Myopia Management at our practice. Keep reading to learn about Dr. Shannon’s background, education, and what led her to a career in optometry.
Q: What inspired you to become an optometrist?
A: I have been severely myopic since early childhood. I remember being excited to finally see letters on the chalkboard from far away after receiving my first pair of glasses! I chose optometry because I wanted to positively impact the lives of others just as mine had been impacted.
The first time I met an African American optometrist was during my freshman year of college. I was introduced to Dr. Sabrina Reed through a family member. She practiced in an area of Chicago where 50% or more of her patients were Spanish speaking. As I shadowed her, I was inspired by how she compassionately cared for her patients, while easily switching back and forth between English and Spanish to educate them on their diagnoses and treatments. That experience allowed me to see that I too could be a great optometrist, also bilingual! This inspired me to pursue a Spanish Minor along with my Biochemistry degree.
Today, I am an associate optometrist at a private practice. I enjoy the ability to practice medical optometry at a high level, along with providing routine comprehensive care for patients of all ages. Thirty to forty percent of our patients are Spanish speaking, so I am able to use my Spanish language skills daily to serve our patients. My patients make my job fun and rewarding!
My current role is also the Director of Myopia Management at Vision Salon Eye Care Associates. In this role, I am able to help slow down the progression of myopia in children so that they do not have to face the daily struggles of high myopia that I experience. Myopia management also provides preventative care to children so that when they are adults, their risk factors for glaucoma, retinal detachments, and myopic macular degeneration are significantly lessened.
Q: As you pursued your education and your career, did you see yourself in your current role?
A: I was able to see myself in my current role because I had been exposed to it as a possibility when I began my career in optometry. Since then, I have met several African American optometrists throughout my journey that serve as friends and mentors. They inspire me to reach higher as I develop in my career. A goal of mine is to be a mentor for the next generation of minority optometrists.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?
During my free time, I enjoy weight training, volunteering at community health education events, and spending time with my family. I also love exploring new places and cultures, which is why international travel is one of my favorite things to do. So far, I have been fortunate enough to visit 10 different countries, and I’m always excited to add more to my list!
If you have any concerns about your eye health and would like to see Dr. Shannon or any of our other experienced doctors, we would love to hear from you! Call or text us at (708) 385-0013 or request an appointment online here.