Skip to main content
Career Profile

Rachel Gardiner

Optometrist
Rachel Gardiner | Optométriste
Rachel Gardiner | Optométriste
Sector
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway
School Subject

Rachel Gardiner is an Optometrist located in Newfoundland.

About me

I was born/grew up in: St. John's, NL, Canada

I now live in: St. John's, NL, Canada

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Doctor of Optometry, University of Waterloo

What I do at work

I provide routine eye exams - prescribing glasses and treating diseases of the eye within my abilities and training. If a patient requires further expertise or surgery I refer them on to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). A routine eye exam usually involves checking the person’s vision and looking for any issues. If issues are noted, I will try to find the cause and potential solutions. This involves knowledge of the biology of the eye and visual system. It also includes the use of evidence-based medicine to determine the best course of treatment. The most important part of this is making sure the patient understands the diagnosis and the plan of action so that any of their questions are answered.

I also have to make sure I keep up to date with practice standards as well as with newly developed drugs and techniques. This helps me make sure I’m providing the best care to my patients. Keeping up to date involves research and continued education. If you’ve ever visited an optometrist you will know that I use specialized equipment to figure out the prescription for glasses. I also use specialized equipment to examine the health of the eye ball (i.e., a slit lamp similar to a microscope). Depending on the issue a patient might have, there are other advanced technologies that I might use to learn more about the health and structures of that person’s eyeball. These technologies help diagnose and monitor eye conditions. This helps me make better decisions for care.

My job is as a solo-practitioner meaning I work with my own patients. However, there is a team of staff working with me to do the necessary work-up prior to their appointment. Once I see the patient they may require follow-up with a specialist. Or they may have an issue that is related to their general health. In these cases I may need to communicate with other health professions. I often talk with my colleagues about challenging cases. Sometimes it just require a fresh perspective to get to the diagnosis and make a treatment plan.

My career path is

During high school and undergrad I was very unsure of where I wanted to end up career wise. When I finished high school I decided to do a Bachelor of Science. I really didn’t know exactly what I would do after but figured I would most likely go on from it to do some further specialization. I thought I would be most fit to the health care industry but didn’t know what exactly that would look like. It was only when I began taking some entrance tests and exploring the options in my last year of my science degree that Optometry really stood out to me. I liked the idea of interaction with patients, the potential for a flexible schedule, and the intrigue of the visual system. After I completed my undergrad degree, I went on to do my doctor of Optometry at the only school for English speaking students in Canada - University of Waterloo. During my last year, there was a series of internships in different modes of practices. The mentors I had in those situations helped give me the insights about career choices after I graduated.

I am motivated by

In my career I am motivated by the ability to help the patients I see every day. This can range from the simple act of prescribing glasses that help a child see better at school to giving an older adult a better quality of life. It can also involve more complex issues such as the discovery of a systemic disease through evaluation of eye related conditions. In short, my days are never dull! I find the cases that involve problem solving and the ones that don’t have a simple answer the most interesting. The challenge is always worth it when the patient’s complaints are addressed and they feel we are working together towards a solution. The thing I love most about my job is the personal interactions. I enjoy getting to know my patients on a personal level while also being able to help them with their eye health using my science background - it’s the perfect mix for me. Personally, the most rewarding part of my job is the smile on someone’s face when they can see clearly again!

How I affect peoples’ lives

My career as an optometrist is important in assisting people to see as clear as possible when they require glasses. It is also important in helping my patients maintain good eye health by routinely screening for eye disease and treating any issues that come up. The help I am able to provide makes my job more than fulfilling. I feel that optometrists are an important part of the whole health care team acting as advocates for our patients.

Outside of work I

Outside of work I love to spend time with family and friends socializing. I like to keep active through running and yoga. I relax with a good book and for fun I love board games and trivia nights. Over the past few years I have been involved with several volunteer eye care missions in under-serviced areas of the world.

My advice to others

Job shadowing would be a huge benefit before deciding to pursue this career - both to confirm your interest and to fulfill requirements for admission to Optometry Schools. Looking into the course requirements for all schools to plan your degree accordingly would also be wise.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Drama
  • Foreign languages
  • Math
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades

Related Topics

Explore Career Profiles

  • Kim TallBear headshot

    Kim TallBear

    Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Society, Faculty of Native Studies

    I teach university and do research on science and technology from an Indigenous perspective.
  • Mahesh Rachamalla in his lab wearing white lab coat

    Mahesh Rachamalla (he/him)

    Graduate Student (Toxicology)

    My research will help find solutions for protecting aquatic species from the effects of heavy metals.
  • Dr. Molly Shoichet headshot

    Molly Shoichet (she/her)

    Professor and Research Team Lead

    I teach undergraduate students in engineering and I lead a research team in biomedical and chemical engineering.
  • Kaitlin Guitard working on site of an aquaculture setting.

    Kaitlin Guitard

    Water Quality Technician

    I monitor the sea water at salmon farms for harmful plankton and jellyfish.
  • Devon Hardy headshot

    Devon Hardy (she/her/elle)

    Program Director

    I run a non-profit program that supports environmental sustainability in the arts.
  • Mike Bryan on walkway over fish tank

    Mike Bryan (he/him)

    Hatchery Technician

    I work at a fish hatchery in the aquaculture industry.
  • Megan Coles headshot with blurred buildings and landscape in the background

    Megan Coles

    Pediatric Nurse

    I care for the inpatients admitted to the medical-surgical units at my local children's hospital.
  • Nicole Redvers headshot

    Nicole Redvers (she/her)

    Associate Professor and Director of Planetary Health

    I carry out Indigenous health research and support Indigenous communities and organizations in their health research needs.
  • Gabriel Hould Gosselin headshot take outside in arctic setting

    Gabriel Hould Gosselin

    Research Associate

    I support teams that collect data on the melting permafrost layer in the arctic.
  • Rhiannon Cooper headshot taken outside with trees and plans in the background

    Rhiannon Cooper

    Epidemiologist

    I monitor the patterns and trends of infectious diseases across the province.
  • Khashayar Farzam headshot

    Khashayar Farzam (he/him)

    Emergency Medicine Doctor

    As an ER doctor, I take care of any patient who comes through the hospital door for literally anything!
  • Peter Vlasveld headshot

    Peter Vlasveld

    Intermediate Software Developer

    I write backend code for web apps that help in Cyclica's drug discovery efforts.
  • Andrea Brack recycling at work

    Andrea Brack

    Environmental and Regulatory Team Coordinator

    I lead a team of environmental professionals at a large petrochemical manufacturing facility.
  • Pamela Power photo taken outside in winter with trees in background

    Pamela Power (she/her)

    Water Resources Specialist

    I provide technical review of projects that may affect water resources to ensure your community’s rights and interests are being considered and protected.
  • Sara Knox headshot

    Sara Knox (she/her)

    Assistant Professor (biometeorology)

    I study ways to restore and protect ecosystems to help fight climate change.
  • Samantha Yammine

    Samantha Yammine (she/her)

    Science Communicator

    I create and share engaging science content on social media.
  • Corey Nislow headshot

    Corey Nislow (he/him)

    Professor and Genomics Research Chair

    I study how drugs work and how an individual’s genetic makeup can affect their response to drug treatment.
  • L. Creighton Avery looking at specimen using a microscope in her lab.

    L. Creighton Avery

    Osteoarchaeologist

    I examine human skeletal remains from archaeological sites to learn about their lives.
  • Yetong Dong headshot wearing lab coat

    Yetong Dong

    Research Assistant/Graduate Student

    I am studying to become a scientific researcher.
  • Portrait de Andrea Goldson-Barnaby

    Andrea Goldson-Barnaby

    Head of the Food division

    I teach and do research on the topics of Food Chemistry and Food Processing.