Practice Transitions

Heidi Q.T. Pham-Murphy: Eyecare Intern to Innovator

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By John Sailer

March 10, 2021

From modest beginnings, Heidi Q.T. Pham-Murphy, OD, broke through cultural and socioeconomic barriers and achieved success as an optometrist. With over 29 years in the eyecare industry, she now leads a team of eyecare professionals at Visions Optometry, a boutique family practice in Sacramento, Calif., specializing in comprehensive, medically-focused eyecare for patients of all ages. Her husband, Thomas H. Murphy, OD, leads the three-location Eye Designs Optometry practice, also in Sacramento. Both partnered with Keplr Vision in January 2019.

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From Intern to Influential Optometrist
As part of an internship offered for UC Davis students, Dr. Pham-Murphy began building her experience in the eyecare industry observing, cleaning and filing at a local clinic. She later worked as an optician, eventually becoming the manager of a private office in Davis, Calif., while completing her education there. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Davis, she graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis School of Optometry in 2000. Dr. Pham-Murphy has been practicing optometry since, becoming a leader in her field, recognized by both eyecare professionals and her patients.

“When you are an innovator, people question you,” she said, reflecting on her experiences as an early-adopter and trailblazer in her field. Dr. Pham-Murphy was among the first to warn patients and practitioners alike about the dangers of blue light. She has provided expert advice on the impact of blue light on the eyes, especially for children, through multiple media channels. In 2011, she had her first interview with local TV station Fox 40 to discuss the impact of blue light from digital devices. “Seriously, it was not cool to talk about blue light in 2011, but I talked about it.”

Since then she has appeared on Fox 12 in the Bay Area and participated in multiple radio interviews throughout the country on the topic. Additionally, Dr. Pham-Murphy has served as an expert panelist for the Lighting Engineers Society, an organization founded “to improve the lighted environment…to benefit the public.”

Many news media outlets rely on her as an expert source in the field of eyecare in general and specifically the effects of blue light. Now, the potentially harmful effects of blue light, both natural and artificial, are common knowledge among not only professionals but consumers as well, and Dr. Pham-Murphy was among the first to sound the alarm.

High-End Eyewear and Eyecare
Dr. Pham-Murphy’s leadership is not limited to the clinical side of eyecare. Her Visions Optometry office carries unique and often exclusive eyewear collections in a spa-like atmosphere. “You can take really good care of people and you can be luxurious at the same time,” she said. “You don’t have to be one or the other.”

The practice has been recognized by Women in Optometry for its design, and her office has been featured on ABC Channel 10 during the segment “Oscars and Eyewear.”

With Dr. Pham-Murphy’s optometric background, Visions Optometry is not limited to high-end eyewear. The practice’s sub-specialties include a specialty contact lens clinic, an eye disease management clinic and a dry eye clinic. “We like to think our practice is cutting edge. We implement and do a lot of things that are new and perhaps not widely known yet,” she said.

Over the years, Dr. Pham-Murphy’s status in the eyecare community has elevated to the point of leader and influencer. She was recognized by Vision Monday as one of the “Most Influential Women” in optometry, and she has been interviewed extensively in multiple vision care publications.

Today, she still practices cutting-edge eyecare while fitting her patients with the finest eyewear, but now she and her husband do so in partnership with Keplr Vision. While it may seem counterintuitive that becoming a part of a larger entity would allow her practice to maintain its own identity, that’s exactly what happened. “You’re not joining a group to become generic,” she said. “You’re joining a group to be unique.”

Of Keplr Vision, Dr. Pham-Murphy said, “You’re joining a team of amazing clinical leaders in the industry” . . . a perfect fit, just where this intern-turned-innovator belongs.

Heidi Q.T. Pham-Murphy, OD, is the owner of Visions Optometry, a boutique family practice in Sacramento, CA, specializing in comprehensive, medically-focused eyecare for patients of all ages.

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