During her second year at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Arieneh Tahmasian, OD ‘17, became involved with the intramural volleyball team. It wasn’t long, though, before she sensed that her teammates weren’t exactly enthralled with her volleyball skills — or lack thereof.

All except one. 

James and AreniahJames Komornik, OD ‘17, was on that team, too, and he thought she was trying her best and having fun. “James was the only one on the team that was like, ‘Oh, that’s OK, that was a tough one. I wouldn’t have gotten that one either.’ He was amazing at volleyball and I knew he was feeding me lies,” said Dr. Tahmasian.

Smooth approach, man. And, it worked.

“She definitely wasn’t that bad at volleyball, but I could tell she hadn’t played that much,” said Dr. Komornik. “But she seemed to have a lot of natural ability (she’s tall).” 

Soon thereafter the two of them found themselves in a study group together. A big fan of the television show “Seinfeld” — James made a couple of “Seinfeld” references that nobody in the study group understood, except Arieneh.

Add the exchanges on the volleyball court to the Seinfeld references that made her laugh and the sparks started to fly between the two in a hurry. “It was about a week later we ended up going to a picnic and he asked me to be his girlfriend. That was really cute and old-fashioned, which I loved,” said Arieneh. “We fell in love within two weeks. Not to talk like a fairytale, but it really felt like a soulmate type of moment, and that’s how he felt, too.”

James and ArienehThe two got engaged right after graduation from PCO/Salus and were married in 2018. She is originally from California and he is from Virginia. The couple married in California but then moved to Virginia, where Dr. Tahmasian works with pediatrics and vision therapy for Coastal Vision and Dr. Komornik has his own practice, Sea Eye Care, in Norfolk.

Having two optometrists in the family has been advantageous for the both of them. They share their days with each in the evenings, bounce ideas off of each other or offer second opinions. At this point, though, they both enjoy what they’re doing at different offices and have no plans to go into private practice together.

When they’re not talking about optometry, the couple keeps busy with their dog and cat, hiking nearby trails and binge-watching movies. Since they live close to the beach, they also try to get in as much beach time as possible. This will also be a special Valentine’s Day for them for another reason: they are expecting their first child, a daughter, in July 2021, a surprise they planned to spring on their families the day before Feb. 14.

They’re very much in love and looking forward to their lives and family together. “James is very sweet, very caring, very humble and encouraging. I’m lucky to have met him,” said Dr. Tahmasian.

He likewise is smitten with her.

James and Arieneh“Arieneh is the most caring and loving individual I have ever met. She puts others before herself and has the biggest heart,” said Dr. Komornik. “Her personality is fun, and we can have a great time doing anything, whether it be kayaking and hiking a new trail, or just sitting on the couch with our dog doing nothing all day.”

He does admit, however, that he had no idea he was going to meet his future wife in optometry school. James was focused on his studies at PCO/Salus, and said he remained so after he met Arieneh. It’s just that love had other ideas. 

“It turned out that optometry school was the perfect time in life to meet her,” he said. “We studied together, practiced clinical skills together, and in the small amount of time when we were not busy with those things, we made some fun memories.”