UW Mentorship: Dr. Nikolakakis

Authors: Lucy Huang, Betty Chen, Vanessa Tsui

Reading week could not have had a better start than with spending a chilly Saturday morning at Mind’s Eye Neuro-Visual Optometry with Dr. Nikolakakis and his amazing team. The decor inside the office was refreshing and modern, yet was also very cozy, and we had no doubt that any patient that walked in through those doors would feel welcome, not only from the interior, but from the bright smiles from friendly staff.

Dr. Nikolakakis started our visit with asking us a single question: Why did we choose optometry? While seemingly a simple question, this question soon became the basis of our mentorship visit. We began digging deeper at our individual motivations and passions so that we could start to understand how we wanted to shape optometry as our vocation and extend it beyond just the technical and theoretical concepts that we learn in school. Shaped by his own passions and personal experiences, Dr. Nikolokakis shared how his practice is set apart through its specialization in neuro-visual optometry – which revolves around the notion that our eyes and our brain do not function as separate units, and that our vision hinges upon our eyes helping us to see and our brain making use of that information to help us function.

During our tour of the practice, we had the opportunity to not only see some of the latest imaging technology and a large selection of frames in the frame gallery, but also an entire floor of his practice dedicated as a space to perform vision therapy. Dr Nikolokakis gave us many demonstrations of different techniques he and his team use to help those who have binocular vision insufficiencies strengthen their neural connections, realign their visual world, and regain their confidence in seeing. It was a privilege to see and hear how the team at Mind’s Eye is changing lives in a big way each and every day.

It’s definitely safe to say that we were all very happy to see such an inspiring figure practicing in the field of optometry. Dr. Nikolakakis has definitely inspired all of us to continue to push the boundaries on traditional optometry and find a way to integrate our passions into the way we practice. Thank you to CAOS and Mind’s Eye for such an eye-opening experience!

Lucy Huang (1st year), Betty Chen (1st year), Dr. Nikolakakis, Vanessa Tsui (2nd year)