Practice Transitions

How to Find Your Ideal Optometric Mentor

Dr. Youngblood (left as you are looking at the photo) and Dr. Pang have established a mentoring relationship that enhances patient care and provides greater professional fulfillment. Being a part of AEG Vision makes mentoring relationships easier to find, they note.

Dr. Youngblood (left as you are looking at the photo) and Dr. Pang have established a mentoring relationship that enhances patient care and provides greater professional fulfillment. Being a part of AEG Vision makes mentoring relationships easier to find, they note.

Harnessing the power of mentoring in optometry

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By Albert Pang, OD,
and Sylvianne Youngblood, OD

March 27, 2024

When you become an optometrist, you have a vision for what you want to be doing 10, 20 and even 30 or 40 years down the road. With schooling and the right opportunities, you can make impressive strides. However, to really take your career to the next level, you need great mentors.

Here are the details we recently shared with Review of Optometric Business Editor-in-Chief Margery Weinstein about how the organization we both joined, AEG Vision, helped us connect with each other, and other ODs, to give and get just the right mentoring we needed to thrive.

Finding One Another

MW: What makes the two of you a good mentoring match?

AP: “We are passionate about the same things, neuro-rehabilitation and vision therapy, and we have a similar doctoring philosophy and agree on what the culture of a practice should be.

We both agree that a good clinician is a constant learner. We discover what we do not know and learn from each other. If neither of us knows the answer to a question, we research together and consult other sources to find out.

We also both believe strongly in respecting each other, and never belittling a colleague. If we have a disagreement, we are transparent with each other about it, and resolve it together.”

SY: “I ask him a lot of questions, and he guides me. Dr. Pang considers us equals and colleagues. We have our own sub-specialties. My primary reason for joining AEG was to work with him!

We both want to actually change the lives of our patients. If the prism lenses he prescribes don’t work, I do the other half of rehab work by providing vision therapy. It’s nice to be able to work with someone with 30 years of experience in neuro-rehab.”

Finding an Organization that Makes it Easy to Find Each Other

MW: What is it about AEG that makes it so good at facilitating these kinds of relationships between doctors?

AP: “An organization like AEG has a better human resources department than a smaller organization to recruit doctors, and also provides a better benefit program to attract talent. AEG also has a culture that makes it easy to recruit good clinicians to their team. That greater pool of colleagues makes it much simpler to find like-minded doctors to learn from and teach.”

SY: “AEG has been connecting doctors for years through continuing education. Dr. Pang and I have lectured together to AEG peers. There are also monthly meetings with other doctors, and there is the opportunity to participate in study groups in areas like myopia control and dry eye, and other sub-specialties.”

Meeting Challenges Together

MW: What are some doctoring challenges the two of you work through together?

SY: “We bounce ideas off each other. I might ask him, “If you put in this amount of vertical prism, would you split it equally in each eye?” Or I might ask: “A patient’s Ortho-K lenses are getting de-centered or causing blurry vision. Do you know why?”

Dr. Pang teaches the way I learn. We both like to understand things from top to bottom. What I like about his style of giving advice or suggestions is he doesn’t try to treat the diagnosis; he tries to treat the underlying cause—which nerve was affected causing double vision as opposed to slapping on glasses or sending to rehab.

We think along the same lines because our ultimate goal is to impact the patient’s quality of life.”

An Organization Mentors & Mentees Can Really Partner With

MW: What is it about the culture of AEG that makes it so ideal for creating great professional relationships between doctors?

AP: “We are able to be transparent about our struggles, as well as our weaknesses. And since we do not have to deal with the business side of the practice, such as cash flow and HR issues, we are able to put our full effort into the doctoring side of optometry and let AEG take care of the business side of the practice.”

SY: “Whenever you’re in neuro-rehab territory, it can be difficult to navigate insurance policies and protocols. Dr. Pang and I work together through these challenges, and AEG helps us too. AEG is currently trying to create a standard protocol for its practices that provide vision therapy.

We have a team of experts supporting us, and that’s the way it should be. Healthcare should be more intertwined. Combining everyone’s expertise ultimately leads to the best outcome for our patients.”

Albert Pang, OD, and Sylvianne Youngblood, OD, practice together at Trinity Eye Care in Plano, Texas. The practice is part of the AEG Vision family. To contact Dr. Pang: To contact Dr. Youngblood:




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