Q&A: Getting to know Dr. Phillips

Get to know the faces behind West Hills Vision Care! First up is Dr. Katie Phillips, WHV’s resident eye expert. Read on to find out why she went into optometry, what she thinks are the keys to caring for your vision, plus how she likes to spend her time outside of the office.

Q: What made you decide to become an eye doctor?

 KP: For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do something in the medical profession. I come from a family of primary care physicians, and when it came time to start thinking about medical school I happened to run into our family optometrist. He couldn’t say enough wonderful things about his profession and how much he loved his job. He invited me to spend some time with him seeing patients, and I fell in love with optometry. The rest is history!

 Q: Are there any areas in which you’re particularly excited about?

KP: My degree is in the area of nutrition, so I find myself fascinated with its impact on eyes and our overall health. I also love the variety and challenges that come with being a primary care optometrist.

Q: How is eye health connected to overall health?

KP: Vascular diseases – diabetes and hypertension, for example – often affect the eyes prior to the patient noticing other symptoms. There are also a number of autoimmune diseases that manifest in the ocular tissue, plus there is a correlation between general health and glaucoma, a disease process that causes damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. So, as you can see, eye health is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining overall health.

Q: In your opinion, what’s the biggest misconception about eye health?

KP: Many people believe that if they have good vision there is no reason to see the eye doctor. But there are many disease processes that manifest in the eye that may or may not have symptoms. The American Optometric Association advises a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years.

Q: What are the main ways eye doctors can help patients improve their quality of life?

KP: Optometry is a very rewarding profession because we have the ability to improve vision with glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery. It’s so satisfying helping people to see well!

 Q: What can patients do to protect and preserve good eyesight?

KP: The first step is to visit an eye care professional at least every two years. Early detection is a key component in maintaining your vision. Also, healthy eating and regular exercise helps to improve vascularity and, in turn, preserving the integrity of the macula, optic nerve and the overall health of the eye.

 Q: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?

KP: I spend as much time as possible with my family. We especially love to visit the children’s museum and the zoo together. I also love the outdoors, and I am really excited to get my son on skis this year!

 Q: If you weren’t a doctor, what would be your dream alternate career?

KP: I thought a lot about teaching chemistry and nutrition to high-school students and coaching soccer and/or ski team, but I truly love what I do, so I can’t see myself in any other field.

 Q: What would your patients be surprised to learn about you?

KP: I was born and raised in the Carson/Reno area, and my favorite vacation destination is Lake Tahoe.

 Q: Do you have any personal heroes? Who?

KP: My parents inspire me with their love for each other and their family, plus their work ethic in both of their careers has inspired me throughout my life.

 Q: Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What?

KP: I am trying my hardest to give up soda pop!

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