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Meet your Optometrists in Long Island | Optix Family Eyecare Blog

Meet your Optometrists in Long Island
Meghan Schiffer, OD

An Interview with your Optometrists in Long Island at Optix Eyecare

Dr. Joel Kestenbaum

Dr Joel Kestenbaum Optometrist

Interviewer: When did your interest in optometry begin?

Dr. Kestenbaum: When I was a young boy I hated to read.  I had to read things more than once to comprehend what I was reading.  My mother, being a concerned parent, took me for my first eye examination.  The doctor discovered a problem with my eye coordination which was affecting my reading comprehension.  He prescribed eye exercises for me which made a major difference in my school work.  Later on, while in college, I volunteered at the Association for the Blind in Albany, NY.  It was there that I was fascinated as to why people could not see and how many reasons there were for vision problems.  On a personal level, I love helping people.  These were the three main catalysts for my application to optometry school.

Interviewer: What is your favorite part of being an optometrist?

Dr. Kestenbaum: Along with the fact that I get to help people see well, I love to solve problems.  Every patient is unique with unique medical and visual issues.  Listening to a person’s personal history along with their current needs are pieces to a puzzle that I used to resolve their issues.  Developing relationships over time was very meaningful to me.  I’ve always tried my best to remember something special about the person with whom I was interacting.

Interviewer: At which school of optometry did you obtain your degree?

Dr. Kestenbaum: NEWENCO – New England College of Optometry

Interviewer: Do you specialize in a particular area of optometry?

Dr. Kestenbaum: My interests evolved over time.  Along with developing a proficiency in fitting contact lenses to those people who were hard to fit, I consider my specialty in being an excellent diagnostician.  I could take a patient’s history and current findings and always know whether their issues were normal or not.  I always know if I need to refer that patient on for specialized care or whether I or an associate were confidently able to care for the needs of the patient.

Interviewer: Where in the world has the profession of optometry taken you?

Dr. Kestenbaum: Optometry has been good to me and my family.  The confidence that patients have had in me over the years has allowed me to build a practice growing to involve more doctors and a support team providing the same type of care that I was able to deliver.  On the personal side, I have a great family, live in a nice home and have been able to travel to places that I never dreamed that I would visit.  I love writing professionally about the business of eye care for my colleagues.  For patients, I am doing my best to educate them on the hottest topic in eye care.  That is the effects of harmful blue light on the eyes and on general health.  This issue is now my passion.  In addition, I enjoy volunteering my time to examine people who cannot afford care.  Last year I traveled to the Dominican Republic. Along with 9 other optometrists, we provided care to over 2500 underprivileged people.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Dr. Kestenbaum: Firstly, I love to be with my family.  I now have two granddaughters and love to spend time with them.  I am an avid golfer and tennis player and enjoy cycling and photography.  Travel is also high on the list.  My wife and I are now able to take the time to travel a couple of times per year.

Dr. Michelle Zalaznick

Dr. Michelle Zalaznick

Interviewer: When did your interest in optometry begin?

Dr. Zalaznick: I first became interested in optometry when I was a teenager. My father is an optician and I worked with him on Sundays in Chinatown, NY when I was in high school. I was fascinated by the diverse population of people and their different eye problems. I enjoyed interacting with people and seeing how happy they were when they received proper eye care. This inspired me to become an optometrist.

Interviewer: What is  your favorite part of being an optometrist?

Dr. Zalaznick: I love meeting and educating people about optometry. Optometry has evolved so much since I attended school.  Eye examinations can detect so many diseases like diabetes, hypertension, macula degeneration and glaucoma. Computers, iphones and ipads have added a whole new area of visual concerns for our patients. The practice of optometry is constantly changing and I am challenged with creating solutions to help patients adapt to new technology.

Interviewer: At which school did you obtain your degree?

Dr. Zalaznick: New England College of Optometry in Boston, MA

Interviewer: Do you specialize in a particular area of optometry?

Dr. Zalaznick: Each day in practice I might examine patients from 2-90 years old. Each patient has their individual needs. I try to provide the best care for each patient, whether they need medical care, glasses and/ or contact lenses.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Dr. Zalaznick: I enjoy traveling the world. I recently visited Iceland and intend to go to Australia and New Zealand this winter.  I always investigate optical stores when I visit different countries. I am on the lookout for new trends in optometry.

Dr. Meghan Schiffer

Optometrist in Plainview NY - Dr. Meghan Schiffer

Interviewer: When did your interest in optometry start, and why?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer: I first became interested in optometry school while I was an undergraduate student at Penn State University. I grew up wearing glasses myself. I actually enjoyed my trips to the optometrist, and I realized the tremendous impact that glasses, and eventually contact lenses, have had on my life. While researching careers as an undergraduate student, I felt connected to the profession of optometry. I thought I would enjoy both the medical and small business aspects of the profession. I started working on weekends at a private optometry practice near my Penn State campus and truly fell in love with optometry.

Interviewer: What is your favorite part of being an optometrist?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer: As an optometrist, I am afforded more personal time in the exam room with my patients than most physicians are lucky enough to have. I really enjoy the personal relationships I’ve developed with many of my patients over the years.

Interviewer: At which school of optometry did you obtain your degree?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer: SUNY College of Optometry in New York, NY

Interviewer: Do you specialize in a particular area of optometry?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer:  I specialize in fitting rigid contact lenses including RGPs and scleral contact lenses for patients with corneal irregularities. I also have experience fitting Ortho-K lenses, another type of rigid contact lens worn overnight to slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness).

Interviewer: Where in the world has the profession of optometry taken you?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer: While in optometry school, I participated in a mission trip to provide eye care and glasses to patients in Chiapa De Corzo, Mexico. It was such a rewarding experience, and I hope to return there for another mission trip in the future.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Dr. Meghan Schiffer: Outside of the office, I am an active member of the American Optometric Association, the New York State Optometric Association, and the Nassau County Optometric Association. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, and running.

Dr. Suchi Matalia

dr-suchi-matalia

Interviewer: When did your interest in optometry begin, and why?

Dr. Matalia:  My initial interest in Optometry began at a very young age when I first got glasses.  I think it was around 4th grade.  I remember how amazed I was when the doctor put lenses in front of my eyes, and how much better I could see!  I couldn’t believe what I was missing out on.  From there, I continued my annual appointments, and asked questions about Optometry each time.  In high school, I shadowed many medical professions, including general practitioners, dentists, nurses, radiology techinicans, along with optometrists in different work environments.  I think it was around that time I confirmed my interest in Optometry.

Interviewer: What is your favorite part of being an optometrist?

Dr. Matalia:  The instant gratification of helping others see.  It’s great seeing patient’s facial expressions and hearing their reactions when they put on a new pair of glasses or updated contacts.

Interviewer: At which school of optometry did you obtain your degree?

Dr. MataliaNova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Interviewer: Do you specialize in a particular area of optometry?

Dr. Matalia:  My training is well rounded in all aspects of optometry.  I have recently started doing orthokeratology in the practice.  Orthokeratology is the fitting of special shaping contact lenses which corrects your vision overnight, and slows down the progression of near-sightedness.

Interviewer: Where in the world has the profession of optometry taken you?

Dr. Matalia:  While in undergrad, I participated in Bidada Medical Camp in India.  The annual camp runs throughout the year to serve the poor in Kutch, a small village in Gujurat.  There I performed vision screenings on students in the schools in that area.  Working at the camp was one of the most rewarding experiences and eye opening experiences in my life.  I realized how lucky I am to have what I have – more than one pair of clothes, food for me to eat everyday, and a place to live.  I realized that we tend to take advantage of many things – constant electricity and running water that is safe to drink.  It was amazing to see the gratitude and appreciation the patients at Bidada had when they were treated.  They were so grateful that they were willing to give thanks by giving away the little that they owned.  As an optometrist, I can’t wait to return back to that camp, and hopefully participate in other similar programs around the world.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Dr. Matalia:  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends the most.  I’m a new mother, so most of my free time is spent with my 10-month old son, who is always up to new adventures and keeping me on my toes!   My husband and I enjoy traveling – we try to visit a new place every year.  I try to go back to my home country, India, to visit my extended family as often as I can, but haven’t been able to go back for few years.  I hope to visit again soon.

Dr. Michelle Battaglia-Capogna

dr-michelle-battaglia-copogna

Interviewer: When did your interest in optometry begin?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna: After I finished my undergraduate degree I took a research position at the State University of New York College of Optometry.  I was involved with imaging, obtaining, analyzing data I acquired with various eye imaging devices that have become incorporated into the standard of eye care today.  It was during that time I realized how amazing and complex the eye is! Becoming an optometrist had soon become a passion of mine.

Interviewer: What is your favorite part of being an optometrist?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna:  Knowing that what I do makes a visual impact on every one of my patients’ daily routine.   I truly enjoy solving vision problems whether it is an eyeglass or contact lens prescription, contact lens comfort issue or a true ocular emergency.  Meeting people and developing a great relationship with my patients is extremely is important to me as well.

Interviewer:  At which School of optometry did you obtain your degree?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna:  NEWENCO –New England College of Optometry

Interviewer:  Do you specialize in a particular area of optometry?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna: I have many different interests in optometry that I enjoy.  I have a strong background in contact lens fittings, vision therapy, ocular disease, refractive surgery co-management and utilizing/interpreting ocular imaging devices.  Being an associate at Optix Family Eyecare allows me to practice full-scope optometry with advanced imaging technology.

Interviewer:  Where in the world has the profession of optometry taken you?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna: Being an optometrist has allowed to me to feel fulfilled personally and professionally.  Helping my patients with their visual needs and developing good relationships with my patients gives me a sense of instant gratification.  I have practiced in various settings in optometry such as retail/optometric medical practice, nursing home, and at a refractive surgery site. This profession has allowed me to work close to home and have a good work life balance here on Long Island.  I have always been a firm believer in doing what you enjoy. Optometry has given me the gift to enjoy being at work.

Interviewer:  What do you enjoy outside the office?

Dr. Battaglia-Capogna:  I enjoy spending time with my family.  I have 2 wonderful young daughters and husband that I look forward to making great memories with.  I also enjoy visiting museums and nature walks.

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