When Crystal Liu, OD ‘21, ‘22Resident, of Trinidad, Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado Denver where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology in 2015, she had an eye toward the physician assistant profession. But there was something special about a technician job at a pediatric ophthalmology practice where she worked afterDr. Crystal Liu completing her undergraduate degree.
 
“I was just really intrigued by how much of a difference optometrists make in people's lives with glasses and contacts,” Dr. Liu said.
 
And, it was one patient she recalls providing care for as a technician who really helped Dr. Liu see her future as an optometrist.
 
“There was a little girl who I would see a lot for glasses. She had amblyopia, which means one of her eyes was weaker and we were trying to help her vision develop,” she said. “At first, she wasn't doing well in kindergarten. When I saw her at the end of the school year, her mom gave us a good report that she was at the top of her class.”
 
From there, the eye care she received made a huge impact on her development. The young patient’s personality continued to blossom, and she even became more outgoing.
 
According to Dr. Liu, “it was life changing.”
 
Now, having recently graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus with her Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree, she knows she made the right decision. And, as fate would have it, Dr. Liu found herself back at PCO/Salus as a resident this year.
 
“The doctors I worked with at PCO/Salus were very competent, very warm, and welcoming,” she said. “I really enjoy working with them and I felt like they really helped develop my skills as a clinician.”
 
From the OD program at PCO/Salus, Dr. Liu gained a curiosity about different aspects of the profession. She says she finds everything she learned interesting, but one area in particular grabbed her attention, primary care ocular disease, which is also Dr. Liu’s specialty.
 
“When I started my job as a technician, I always thought it was just contacts and glasses,” she said. “I didn't know there was a huge medical component to optometry such as diabetes, high blood pressure and glaucoma. So, in school when I learned more, it really interested me, and it tied into my early aspirations of wanting to be in medicine. It's a good combination of what I've always wanted in a career.”
 
Dr. Liu started her residency at PCO/Salus in the middle of the summer. While in residency, she’s not only excited to grow as a clinician and gain more experiences managing ocular diseases, but she’s also looking forward to mentoring current PCO/Salus students.

“Because I'm not that far removed from school, I know what students are experiencing,” Dr. Liu said. “Little things have changed here and there but mostly I can understand where they're coming from, and I might be able to relate to them a little better and help them in that aspect.”