OPTICAL PRISM | NEXT GEN
VISION CARE ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
BY DAVID GOLDBERG
It doesn ’ t matter the patient ’ s age , Dr . Renee Phipps always relishes the opportunity to help her patients interact better with their environment .
“ I have cared for children as young as 10 days old to adults over 100 years young . No matter the age or visual concern , every day I have an opportunity to help solve people ’ s challenges .”
Born and raised in Winnipeg , Man ., Phipps developed a keen interest in eye care from an early age after being prescribed her first pair of glasses at just five-years-old .
“ I had an established and positive relationship with my childhood optometrist . Eye care was already an important part of my overall health maintenance and from an early age , I understood how proper visual and ocular health care could make a huge difference in someone ’ s life .”
It was a first-year university physics course that finally prompted Phipps to consider optometry as a profession .
So , she set off south of the border to merge her passions for eye care and science at the Illinois College of Optometry , graduating in 2008 .
Now , Phipps runs her practice at Prairie Eye Care back in her hometown Winnipeg .
“ Our philosophy is accessibility and patient-guided care ,” says Phipps .
“ Our goal is for our patients to feel welcome and considered in an accessible environment , which I was very mindful of when creating the office layouts . At our clinics , we work with patients to fix ocular health and vision issues . We are guided by their goals and desire for positive outcomes .”
Of all the patients she ’ s helped through the years , Phipps can never forget a man who drove more than 100 kilometres to be treated by her for something that the emergency room or a general healthcare provider couldn ’ t treat properly .
“ He was working on a car with his dad when a piece of metal under pressure dislodged and hit him in the eye . He went to the hospital , but doctors told him that he needed to see an optometrist immediately because they didn ’ t have a slit lamp available for proper assessment . A dilated fundus exam revealed a small piece of metal on the retina , and a (+) Seidel sign showed us the point of entry . Needless to say , we acted quickly , made the necessary calls and he was cared for promptly .”
Phipps has developed a particular interest in the effects that auto-immune conditions can have on the eyes .
“ Within our dry eye clinic , we have commonly seen the relationship between ocular surface health and autoimmune conditions and the subsequent impact on the patients ' quality of life .”
If you ’ re an aspiring optometrist seeking inspiration , look no further . Phipps is a practice owner and founder , mentor , author , frame line creator and contributing writer for an American Optometrists ’ Association publication .
“ I provide primary eye care , but also have a large patient base requiring ocular disease management , pediatrics and dry eye . Ultimately , being a primary eye care provider can be whatever you want it to be with the right training , focus and passion .”
If Phipps wasn ’ t an optometrist , she said she might have become an architect . She loves creating useful and beautiful spaces . She was able to put this love to work designing the layout for four out of her five clinics .
When she ’ s not treating patients , Phipps is trying to spend as much time as possible with her husband and three kids .
“ I love travelling and trying new foods ! This sense of adventure may sometimes be to the detriment of my family when considering dinner options . I also enjoy spending time with my family , enjoying the outdoors , reading , drawing and exploring new music .” OP
44 OPTICAL PRISM | May 2022