“I never thought I wanted to study optometry!” said Leah Johnson, as she reflected on her professional journey. Johnson, a University of Texas at Austin and University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) graduate never knew that one day she would be walking across the same stage she witnessed her father walk across when she was a child.
The native Houstonian recognized her interest in the bodily structure of humans, particularly the eyes, was more than just a course credit after taking a required anatomy course during undergraduate studies. Johnson desired to learn more, and she wanted a quality education. It didn’t take long for her to realize UHCO was the best choice.
After gaining more knowledge about the corneal anatomy and the effects of corneal diseases, Johnson was on a mission to help make a difference in the lives of people with vision impairments. A major opportunity emerged during her fourth year at UHCO. Working closely with her attending doctor and mentor, Jan Bergmanson, Johnson helped design special contact lenses for a 21-year-old woman whose driver’s license was revoked due to the corneal disease, keratoconus. The new lenses not only allowed the patient to drive again, she could also read at the near perfect line.
This experience was engrained in Johnson’s mind and motivated her to continue learning and researching.
As a post-doctoral fellow at UHCO, she works with Bergmanson daily to examine and treat patients with serious visual complications.
During her studies, there have been numerous ocular disease discoveries that Bergmanson and other accomplished specialists are diligently researching to treat effectively and efficiently. Johnson is thrilled to be a part of a dynamic team. “I couldn’t have asked for a better post graduate year than being involved in the great research that is going on at the University of Houston.”