When she was young, Chandni Patel, OD ‘21, ‘22Resident
, and her three siblings kept their parents busy, especially when it came time to scheduling eye appointments for all four children. Fortunately, all the kids had good vision, so the challenge of rounding them all up for a trip to the eye doctor wasn’t as high of a priority.
When Dr. Patel was 16 years old and returned to high school from summer break, she noticed she was having trouble seeing the blackboard.
“I thought I was tired at first because I hadn’t been sleeping too well. Then it persisted,” said Dr. Patel. “I told my dad and we ended up going to an optometrist, where he gave me a full eye exam. At that point I realized just how gradual my vision had changed. I was fascinated by the fact that I hadn’t noticed it at all.”
It was that fascination that set her on the path to becoming an optometrist. After getting a degree in Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Dr. Patel took a gap year during which she shadowed a few optometrists. That sealed the deal for her next career move and she ended up at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University.
And, after graduating in the Spring of 2021, she decided to stay right at PCO/Salus to complete her residency.
“Salus was my first choice for my residency. I wanted to go somewhere close to home,” said Dr. Patel. “I’m able to stay here and dedicate all my time to my residency. I don’t have any other distractions. And, over the weekend if I want to go home, I can.”
She’s working in primary care and ocular disease during her residency and she considers the experience — like the experience she received during her graduate work at PCO/Salus — invaluable.
“I feel like I’m seeing a multitude of different cases. I love the opportunity to rotate through the different specialties like glaucoma, emergency, neurology, pediatrics, retina, and contact lenses just to name a few. I think this will make me a more well-rounded and confident doctor in the future,” said Dr. Patel.
She is still uncertain of her plans after her residency, but is keeping all options open.
When she’s not at The Eye Institute
, the University’s main clinical optometric facility, she likes to go on long walks, go hiking and listen to music, particularly R&B and hip-hop.
“I like the fact that Salus is a small, close-knit community,” said Dr. Patel. “The faculty are very nice. It has always felt like home to me. All the doctors are so approachable here that I knew I was surrounded by a great support system.”