Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight (Sept 15-Oct 15)

Student Interviews

Reyna Betances 

What year are you in optometry, what school?

3rd year at SUNY College of Optometry

How does your Latina heritage motivate you to give back in optometry?
It is no secret that there is a lack of Hispanic optometrists. My goal is to provide primary care while working with underrepresented communities. I hope to help reduce the language and cultural barrier that may exist with Spanish-speaking only patients. I plan to better educate them on the importance of vision and ocular health assessments. This is especially true in those with systemic diseases that can affect the eye. I hope patients will be able to feel identified with me allowing for long-lasting relationships and quality care.

What are your goals in optometry and where do you see yourself in optometry?
I see myself practicing in a primary care setting, which inherently incorporates my main interest of ocular disease. Primary care optometric physicians are likely to be the first to detect diseases affecting the overall eye health. Ultimately, my goal is to build a strong rapport with patients by treating them with compassion and respect so that together we can manage and treat their conditions.

If you could speak to your first year self, what advice would you give? 

Always do your best. At times your best will provide great results and other times it will not. The instances where it does not, reflect back and choose to be flexible with your methods. Don’t forget to be proud of your own progress, it is usually so much more than you realize at the time. And finally, never forget why you chose to become an optometrist! Whatever the reason, let it be your biggest motivator.

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