It wasn’t until Anthony Boyd, OD, ‘22Resident, started working as an optometric technician at a private practice in his hometown of North Brunswick, New Jersey, when he discovered his love for optometry. And, as moments come and go in life, Dr. Boyd didn’t realize right away that accepting the technician job was “the moment” that would solidify his future.Dr. Anthony Boyd
“It was pure chance,” he said. “I was looking for jobs and it popped up on one of the job sites, I went to interview and it was kind of like fate.”
Dr. Boyd always knew he wanted to work in healthcare, graduating in 2014 from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a double minor in political science and history, but the technician position during his gap year put him in his wheelhouse.
“It showed me everything about optometry,” he said. “Eventually I became the lead technician. So, I got the full gauntlet, the full exposure, and then that's when I knew how much I liked optometry."
Working at the low vision practice, Dr. Boyd experienced all types of medical eye exams. He saw patients wearing scleral contact lenses for keratoconus, an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea, as well as patients who use low vision devices for macular degeneration and unique cases involving younger patients diagnosed with Stargardt disease, needing telescope lenses to help them manage their remaining vision.
As a political science minor, Dr. Boyd was even introduced to the legislative side of optometry by a private practice optometrist who was involved with the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP).
“I was really into politics a lot, going into undergrad,” Dr. Boyd said. “So, it was nice to see how legislative optometry is and how optometrists have to fight for our rights in all the states.”
But Dr. Boyd really liked how the profession helps the lives of children suffering from vision impairments, knowing early on he wanted a career working with kids. He witnessed the impact firsthand at a place in Rockaway, New Jersey, called Camp Marcella for children and teens with blindness and visual impairments. While working as a technician, Dr. Boyd spent some time visiting the camp in the summer along with a doctor who he worked for at the private practice.
“We went up there, we just played games with them, we did eye-related activities with them, but a lot of the kids were also patients at the practice,” he said. “So, we got to see them for their eye exams, but also see how they lived, and how they got by, and how they succeeded, without 20/20 vision.”
That experience helped Dr. Boyd decide to pursue his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree in 2017 at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry where he focused on electives and externships to develop his specialty in pediatrics/vision care. And, this year, he is continuing to hone his skills as a resident at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus where he is helping current PCO/Salus OD students do the same.
“I liked the fact that it was mostly precepting, helping students, teaching,” he said. “I always liked to be part of people's learning experiences, even in school. It was just fun to help people understand concepts that maybe I understood a little bit better from my background and vice versa, showing me an easier way to learn too.”
Dr. Boyd started his residency this past summer and is eager to gain exposure to more complicated cases at clinical sites such as Magee Rehabilitation Hospital of Jefferson Health and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. He is grateful for the opportunity to experience the PCO/Salus residency program, as well as a new city, as Philadelphia reopens and establishes a “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It's definitely all new to me,” he said. “I'm not from the area, I don't know anybody, so it's kind of exciting to have a fresh start and to see what they can teach me versus what I learned at SUNY.”