Full name: Thomas P. Arnold, OD, FSLS
Name of Practice: Today’s Vision Sugar Land, P.A.
Setting: A private group practice started in 1992
Location: Sugar Land, Texas
DOB: Oct. 12, 1952
High School: Westchester High School – Houston, Texas
College: Univ. of Northern Colorado – 1976 and Univ. of Colorado – 1978
Optometry School: Univ. of Houston – 1984
Interesting Facts About Me:
♦Spent one year after high school studying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my guru, to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. In Spain and Italy
♦Hunted in Alaska with my grandfather when I was 10 and 12 years of age. Floated down the Yukon River from Dawson, Yukon to Eagle, Alaska (1965). Shot moose, caribou, Dall sheep and Rocky Mountain goat
♦Grew up surfing Texas, California and Mexico
♦Avid snow skier: Colorado, Utah, California, New Mexico, Switzerland, British Columbia and Chile (9 times in Chile)
♦Completed 17 full marathons and many half-marathons
♦Spent a weekend hosting Daniel Ellsberg, author of the Pentagon Papers, when he came to Houston in 1983 for a conference on limiting nuclear weapons at Univ. of Houston. It was the break-in of Dr. Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office by Richard Nixon’s “plumbers” that became known as “Watergate” leading to President Nixon’s resignation. I got to treat Dr. Ellsberg to Tex-Mex cuisine as well as the Ragin’ Cajun. One of the most brilliant and fascinating men I have ever met.
♦I have lectured on scleral lenses at conferences in: Russia, India, Jordan, South Africa, Colombia and Italy as well as VEE, VEW, GSLS and the Cornea, Contact Lens and Contemporary Vision.
Married to Donna Hunt Arnold for 42 years
One daughter – Meredith McCrindle and twin grandsons, William and Alexander. Meredith is a professional harpist and makes her home with her husband, Simon, in Scotland. Together they own a music store.
Father – a salesman
Mother – a homemaker
Choosing optometry as a career: Long story. The short version is that I graduated with a finance degree, sold peripheral computer devices (1970’s) in Denver for two years. Did not like sales……wanted a skill, a concrete trade. As a high-myope, I was very familiar with optometry. Thought that it was a profession that my wife and I could do together and make a living in the mountains of Colorado….she as an optician, optical manager and me as the doctor. I am licensed in Colorado but stayed in Houston (my home) after graduation.
Most rewarding aspects of my professional life: Helping people, of course. Problem-solving and finding a way to improve our patients’ quality of life. I enjoy going “one step beyond” for my patients when their cases are more challenging. We have developed a robust specialty contact lens practice.
Least rewarding aspects of my professional life: Dealing with insurance companies and complying with HIPAA demands.
Where I work now: After working in research (Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy – ETDRS) for two years, I joined a large, multi-doctor practice as a staff OD. Afterward worked with a large ophthalmology group. Eight years out of optometry school, I started my own private practice solo in 1992. We now have three full-time OD’s and one part-time. Our office is staffed by fourteen full-time employees, one part-time. We also are an extern site for the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS).
I opened my own practice because I saw the tremendous growth potential of the community and the desire to create a truly special practice experience.
Professional Conferences I Enjoy:
Nathan Schramm, Bill Trattler and I created the International Congress of Scleral Contacts (ICSC) in 2016. Organized with the help of Bryn Mawr Communications, it was the first conference fully dedicated to scleral contact lenses. Our third annual meeting in July 2018 was well received. We plan to make it two full days next year.
The Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) held each year in Las Vegas. Totally dedicated to specialty lens, it is exciting to meet practitioners from around the world who are truly at the forefront of our profession. The latest information can be found at GSLS along with some amazing people.
The Cornea, Contact Lens and Contemporary Vision Care conference in Houston every December is a great overview of all things relating to topics involving the entire anterior segment. Dr. Jan Bergmanson has been organizing this for 35 years and it is one of my favorites.
Practice Consultants I Have Worked With:
I have used the Cleinman Associates. Currently, I am working with Gary Gerber’s Power Practice. I think that the majority of private practices can benefit from working with a consulting group. It is like having a partner with no personal or professional drama. The consultants are dedicated 100% to your success. Highly recommended.
For management software, we use Gateway PN “EDGE PRO”. It’s a wonderful tool to dig into the specifics of your practice – sales, margins, profitability benchmarks, employee incentives, trends, etc. EDGE PRO can extract relevant data that is useful to doctors and staff with just a few keystrokes.
My Advice For Young people considering optometry: I love optometry and am thankful for all the opportunities it has brought me. After 34 years of practice, I am still passionate and excited to go to work every day.
To be successful, in my opinion, you must specialize, find a niche and hit it hard. You must continually add new skills and push your boundaries. Young doctors can expect their career to change continuously throughout their practice life. It’s hard work sometimes but the challenge is also very rewarding, especially when you make a visible difference in someone’s life. The gift of sight is not to be taken for granted.
What you should know about me:
“It is only a little planet, but how beautiful it is.” – Robinson Jeffers
“There is no means of purification, found in this world, that is equal to knowledge.” – Bhagavad-Gita