Our Smarty team ADORES the team at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists. Smarties Jen, Cynthia, and I have all been patients there and have walked away with LASIK surgery happily and FREE. Free of glasses, contacts, solutions, and blurry vision. Dr. Mozayeni is a gem – he’s one of the most caring and knowledgeable doctors in the city. And, it should be no surprise that he hires some of the most caring and knowledgeable doctors. We’re thrilled to introduce you to one right now – not only is she an amazing optometrist, but she’s also one Smarty Mama.
Thanks to Dr. Mills for sharing her story and her family with us!
Smarty Mom Dr. Vanessa Mills
Married to: Jason Mills-15 yrs married and 20 yrs together…over half of our lives together!! We started dating in high schoolJ
Children – Isaac 4.5 yrs and Avis 2.5 yrs (those half years are too important not to count in these young ages!)
Years in Charlotte: 13 yrs in Charlotte
Hometown: Turbotville, Pennsylvania (central PA)
Alma Mater: Pennsylvania College of Optometry for optometry and East Stroudsburg University for undergraduate
We just HAVE to know – did you get LASIK done? If so, when did you do it? Was it life changing? Of course! I actually had a procedure called PRK that is very similar to LASIK but a little safer for me since I had thinner corneas. I had it done a little over 10 years ago by Dr. Mozayeni and would do it again without question! I struggled with wearing contacts comfortably and disliked wearing glasses so I am now ecstatic that I can wake up and see clearly without the hassles of dealing with glasses and contacts. I despised glasses and contacts so much that even on my wedding day I chose to walk down the aisle being a little blurry. I wish I would have had my vision now back then so I could have seen everyone a little more clearly that day, including my now husband! My vision wasn’t horrible and I could get by walking around the house without correction, but I definitely wasn’t legal to drive.
A few Smarties on the team (Jen P. and Cynthia) and I have undergone LASIK, love it, and have been shouting it from the rooftops. But, some people are still really nervous about it. What do you tell people to calm their nerves about surgery? Get educated! Come in for a consultation, which is free, and learn about the process, see if you are a good candidate, and ask questions. At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, we really do a thorough job educating our patients about what the procedure is like, what to expect during as well as afterwards. We also make sure it’s the right decision and right time for you to have it done. General online information is good to a certain extent, but a lot of it is very outdated, like decades outdated! Talk to friends or family members if they’ve had it done as well.
As someone who NEVER wore glasses – always contacts – one of the things that prevented me from investigating LASIK was the fact that I’d have to wear my glasses for months before the surgery, but that’s not always true. For how long do patients generally need to be contacts-free before surgery? Generally speaking, most patients only need to be out of them 1-3 weeks for soft contact lens wearers. Discontinuing overnight wear of contacts also helps to shorten the time out of contacts leading up to surgery…but nobody should be sleeping in contacts anyway!!! We want the corneas in their most natural shape to better evaluate for surgery and since contacts can slightly change the shape of the cornea, hence the reason for needing to be out of them. Short term pain for long term gain!
How likely is it that you’ll have 20/20 vision after surgery? A lot of factors go into this outcome so not every practice is the same. Technology, surgeon experience, determining the right fit of procedure for a patient, the entire evaluation process and doing the things necessary to better prepare someone for surgery makes a huge difference in the outcome results. It is extremely likely that if you find a practice that meets these criteria you will be 20/20 after the surgery.
Is it hard to sit still through surgery? No. We offer a small “happy pill” to calm you down but it’s just enough to take the edge off and not make you feel “out of it.” We generally play music during surgery so that is also nice to help as a distraction.
What are some things you can expect in the days after LASIK? You should be able to see pretty clearly within a few hours after surgery. Minor fluctuations in vision are common in the first few weeks but generally the vision is quite good even at the 24-hour mark. We promote using artificial tears often the first few weeks as mild dryness is also a normal side effect, but typically that gets better over time. Night glare/halos are also common but these also typically improve, especially over the first month, and shouldn’t inhibit any night driving.
You do more than LASIK. What made you become an optometrist, and what makes you love your job? Optometry is a wonderful profession since it gives me the privilege to take care of one of the most important senses we have, vision. I love the relationships I have built with my patients and am honored that they frequently refer to me their family and friends. I like the challenges that this profession brings since the eye often shows the first signs of many systemic diseases and early detection of disease can help save lives. This profession, along with Providence Eye, has been very gracious to give me the flexibility to also have a well balanced and healthy work/family life too. I truly love coming to work!
What are some things middle-aged parents can do to protect their eye health? Have an annual eye health examination to ensure there are no early signs of any eye-related or systemic diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol to just name a few. Wearing sunglasses is key to protect the eyes and skin tissue around the eyes from damaging UV sunlight. A diet rich in antioxidants (spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens) and omega 3 fatty acids also help to protect the structures within the eye.
What are some things we can do to protect our children’s eye health? A baseline eye examination is recommended for children even as early as the infant and preschool years to ensure their eyes are on track to develop clear vision throughout their life. Amblyopia, or not being able to see perfect even with glasses often due to a “lazy eye,” can frequently be prevented with proper correction and sometimes patching. Sunglasses are paramount in these early years to protect the eyes since most damage from UV sun happens in the younger years. Eye protection while playing contact sports is also important in keeping our little one’s eyes healthy.
Now on for some fun Smarty questions…
Favorite sunglasses brand? Maui Jim by far. Can’t beat the optical quality of this brand. Unfortunately, my husband just lost his in the ocean…was it really worth it diving for that football???? 🙂
Beach or mountains? While I like the beach, my heart is in the mountains having grown up in central PA. The mountains have a calming effect for me and it’s just so peaceful. I also love to ski and grew up trout fishing so it’s a perfect place to do both. Who doesn’t love to snuggle up on a cool fall evening next to a fire, surrounded by our beautiful NC Mountains, while drinking a glass of red wine?
What would you be doing if you weren’t an optometrist? On the golf course more…as I definitely need more practice! I would spend time volunteering at school or local charities as well and of course more time with my kiddosJ
Family’s favorite homecooked dinner? Homemade pasta sauce and meatballs or tortellini soup. I love to cook so Sunday nights are always the night I make a nice home cooked meal and relax with my family at home to re-charge for the week.
SUV or minivan? SUV
Smoothie or fresh-pressed juice? Smoothie. Our staple smoothie for breakfast is spinach, frozen pineapple, half banana, and coconut milk-great way to get the kids to eat their spinach!
Bagel sandwich or Panini? Panini if I have to pick. Usually go for a salad.
Best place for a date night in Charlotte? Good Food on Montford or 5 Church for restaurants, but we just as well love to play golf and grab a quick dinner after.
Movie quote you say again and again in your head? “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” (Dory from Finding Nemo)
Best part of raising your family in Charlotte? The weather! Also all the options of schools, activities, and culture my kids get to experience living in a large city. Love that we are so close to both the mountains and beaches living here as well.
Number one on your family’s Summer Bucket List? Lots of pool time and of course the annual summer beach trip.