COA Vision Blog


March 26, 2020 Uncategorized

Did you know that it’s World Optometry Week? And, at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates, we’re celebrating optometrists for all their incredible work! Today, we’re paying tribute to COA’s Director of Optometry, Dr. Dawn Hartman. A leader and educator for the next generation of optometry students, she is a wonderful doctor who we are proud to have on our COA team.

Ever since she was 12 years old, Dr. Hartman knew she wanted to be an optometrist. “Science and math were my favorite subjects in school. I felt that helping people see better and caring for the health of their eyes would be a great way to spend my days.”

Today, Dr. Hartman is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice for The Ohio State University College of Optometry. She is a clinical instructor for the fourth-year optometry students during their externship and is passionate about preparing her students for an optometric career.

“I really enjoy being able to teach them some of the things I had to learn on my own over the twenty years I have been practicing. COA has amazing doctors and staff (and patients!), and it is an environment that enables them to leave a much more confident clinician than when they arrived.  They also keep me up to date with the latest training and studies at the College of Optometry, so I feel very lucky to work with them, too.”

During their externships, students gain invaluable experiences. One of Dr. Hartman’s recent senior students is Karina Miller. During Karina’s time at our office, she gained experience in all areas of the practice to enhance her ability to diagnose and manage eye disease. She observed our surgeons performing procedures, took patient history, performed diagnostic tests, and reviewed her findings with Dr. Hartman.

Dr. Hartman and one of her senior optometry students, Karina Miller, pose for a picture.

Passionate about education, Dr. Hartman also enjoys lecturing and presenting at various events. She has presented at COA’s annual Hot Topics in Eyecare Continuing Education Event, has spoken at the Optometric Educators, Inc. program, and lectures annually at the East West Destinations Conference. “My favorite topics and cases to discuss are those that require the specialties of both optometrists and ophthalmologists.”

Outside of her clinical duties, Dr. Hartman is a very talented vocalist. “I come from a very musical family and have been singing since age 5 when my mom and brother decided it was time I learn to harmonize. Family time always meant music and those memories are so precious.” 

Dr. Hartman, her husband, Jason, and kids, Nick, Andrew, and Caroline, enjoy the big game!

When she was 16, her a cappella group, the Ypsilanti High School Chamber Singers, won the top honor at The International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria. “The beauty of so much a cappella harmony echoing in so many cathedrals in Europe is hard to match. I still enjoy performing once in a while, but do not pursue it for myself. I enjoy encouraging my kids in music, and we partner every year for the Hartman Thanksgiving Talent Show!”

This World Optometry Week, we thank Dr. Hartman and all optometrists for their hard work and dedication. We are grateful to have such a talented Director of Optometry at our practice.


March 22, 2020 Uncategorized

With everything going on around us, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the unsung heroes who help make our world a better place. Today, we’re paying tribute to Denise Allen, our longest serving employee who is celebrating more than 30 years at COA! We recently sat down with Denise to find out more about her experiences at our practice.

When Denise first joined our team, COA was considerably smaller—made up of just Dr. Orlando and five other staff members. Over the past three decades, Denise has grown with our practice and is so proud to have “been here through good and bad.” While she began her journey at COA on the operations side, working the front desk, the phones, and helping prepare charts, from there, she trained as an ophthalmic technician so she could continue to serve our patients in the exam rooms. To Denise, “patients come first.” And, in addition to spending time with patients and her work family, “learning how to work new machines in order to service patients better” is one of the best parts of her job.

Denise has been a wonderful constant to our many patients—known for her pleasant smile, demeanor, assistance, and her fluency in ASL. Loyal and flexible, she is always willing to step in to work at any of our offices and has helped train the next generation of COA staff members.

Denise is proud to align herself with COA’s values: “Being kind and considerate, always greeting people with a smile, and bringing patience and listening to patients and each other.” Whether she’s winning Employee of the Year at COA or singing in her local church choir,  we appreciate all that she does at our practice and in the community. We are so grateful to have her on our team!


March 19, 2020 Uncategorized

Dear Patients,

Since the day Dr. Orlando opened our office in 1983, our mission has been to preserve, protect, and restore vision in a caring atmosphere that always puts our patients and staff first. With that in mind, we must make some significant but short-term changes to allow us to continue this important calling. All elective surgery in the United States is being put on hold so we can protect patients, staff, surgeons, and the greater community—while also making sure vital equipment and medical supplies are available for those on the front lines of this crisis. Beginning Monday, March 23rd we will be making the changes outlined below. We have no firm date as to when we will be back at full operational levels, but we hope that by May 1st we will have a clear idea. Of course, we will update you on a regular basis and also try and provide some useful information to make the most of the downtime.  

1. We will have limited hours at our Dublin office: 8 am – 12 pm, Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, weekends, afternoons, and evenings, there will be a doctor on call for emergencies.

2. We are temporarily closing our East Office. 

3. We will be calling patients shortly to reschedule appointments and surgeries. To help us expedite this process, we ask that you please wait for our call rather than calling to reschedule yourself as we have limited phone operators available. 

4. We will not be seeing annual eye exam patients but will continue to care for all post-operative patients, glaucoma patients, and emergencies. All routine exams will be rescheduled by our operators. 

5. No cataract surgeries will be scheduled and those already scheduled will be moved to dates in May. Again, we will call you to handle all the rescheduling logistics.

6. For any acute problems, such as uncontrollable glaucoma that could cause further vision loss, we will still be performing surgery as those are sight-treating issues that cannot be delayed.

7. Our Optical Shoppes will remain closed. Any orders for glasses already taken will be unboxed after delivery by one of our opticians once a week and sent via FedEx to all patients who have paid in full. Once we re-open, our opticians will be available to adjust your frames. 

8. As always, we will be continuing the safe hygiene practices that were already in place to ensure the safety of our patients, staff, and doctors. 

We shall continue to monitor this situation closely and update you with information from the Ohio Department of Health, the CDC, and other governmental authorities—through email and the COA social media sites on Facebook and Instagram. We welcome you to join our Columbus Ophthalmology Associates community on both locations. 

During this difficult time, there is a wonderful quote by the British author, Simon Sinek, that is so appropriate… “The value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves. The value of our lives is determined by what we do for others.” We look around right now at how our world has changed so quickly, and what stands out are the brave people who are risking their lives to help us get through this crisis. Emergency room physicians trying to triage patients that could potentially carry this deadly virus, nurses in the Intensive Care Unit spending their 10-hour shifts making sure these same folks get through the night safely, and the members of the housekeeping staff that disinfect and sterilize those workplaces… Those are our true heroes. 

As we walk through a grocery store to grab those essentials for our family, there are dozens of people re-stocking the shelves, unloading trucks almost constantly, and cleaning the surfaces with gloves to protect us. We should all make a point to thank them for showing up during this time… of course, making sure that we maintain an acceptable 6 to 8 foot distance! The human spirit is remarkable and the world is filled with good people. Perhaps now we will have a different perspective on how many unsung heroes have always been there—the ones who keep us safe and make our lives easier. 

Together, we will get through this stressful time. We wish you good health and hope to see you soon.


The Team at COA


March 10, 2020 UncategorizedWorld

Having access to modern medicine is something that many of us take for granted. However, for millions of people around the world, living with treatable vision loss is often the reality. 

At Columbus Ophthalmology Associates (COA), our doctors are passionate about making a difference—donating their time and specialized skills to help those most in need. Dr. Robert Derick, the director of glaucoma at COA, is especially passionate about giving back in this way. In Jamaica, where the rates of vision loss from glaucoma are staggering, Dr. Derick’s surgical skills and specialities transform lives. During his 2019 medical mission trip, he had the privilege of working with two other Ohio surgeons to help patients experience the clear, healthy vision they deserve.

Dr. Derick examines a glaucoma patient during his 2019 medical mission trip to Jamaica.

Through medical mission trips, Dr. Derick has provided advanced eye surgery to hundreds of patients over the years who would otherwise not have access to modern medicine. Assembling an expert team for each trip, Dr. Derick has traveled to countries throughout the world, offering hope, expertise, and compassionate care.

From India, to Jamaica, and even Nicaragua, Dr. Derick and his team have provided life-changing and vision-restoring surgeries to people suffering from eye problems, like cataracts or glaucoma. Upon arriving at these locations, Dr. Derick and his team get to work. After carrying surgical equipment and supplies to the hospital (often weighing thousands of pounds), they then set up their operating rooms and begin performing surgery for as many patients as possible. 

Patients in Jamaica lined up for follow-ups after receiving their cataract and glaucoma surgeries.

During these trips, cases range from typical to complex. However, the joy of watching someone see for the first time in years makes every challenge worthwhile. Dr. Derick and his team are so grateful to provide these life-altering surgeries and look forward to helping even more people in the future.

COA Research Fund: 

The COA Research Fund was developed to help make a difference in the lives of others. While a portion of these funds is allocated toward education and training for students, residents, and eye care professionals, we also proudly support our staff members and their charitable endeavors.

Dr. Derick and two other Ohio surgeons pose with a happy patient in the operating room.

Though medical mission trips are self-funded by participants, costs associated with surgical supplies and equipment can quickly add up. Last month, the COA Research Fund was proud to help support Dr. Derick and his team, donating over $3,500 worth of medical supplies to their latest trip to Central America. It is a privilege to know that these supplies help patients get the clear, healthy vision they deserve.

To learn more about Dr. Derick’s work with medical mission trips, click here.


March 4, 2020 Uncategorized

Stephanie Bass is a Certified Ophthalmologist Assistant and surgical scheduler at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates. And, last month, we celebrated her 8th anniversary at this practice!

When Stephanie first joined our COA team, she had no eye care experience. Later, when one of our long-time surgical schedulers retired, Stephanie applied for the job and became a Certified Ophthalmologist Assistant. Her duties today involve scheduling surgeries, coordinating with patients’ insurance providers or Medicare, as well as helping patients understand their pre- and post-operative instructions. To celebrate her 8th anniversary at COA, we asked Stephanie some questions:

What do you like about working at COA?

I love working at COA. I feel like I am contributing to every patient whether I interact with them individually or not. I feel that is one thing we all strive to do on a daily basis.

What are some of the values you think COA has that you can align yourself with?

Patient care is always the most important to consider.

What is your most memorable moment at COA?

There are so many—I can’t list them all. However, any time that any of us are all together, it is special and memorable. It is like having a get together with your family. My work family is my family.

What is your proudest accomplishment in your career at COA so far?

When I was hired, I absolutely knew nothing about eye care. With the help of my trainers, coworkers, and doctors, I was able to become a Certified Ophthalmologist Assistant—which gave me an opportunity to provide the best care to all the patients I come into contact with.



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