Full name: Bridgitte Shen Lee, OD
Name of Practice: Vision Optique
Setting: Private practice started in 1999
Location: Houston, Texas
High School: North Dallas High School, Texas
College: University of Texas at Austin, 1994
Optometry School: University of Houston College of Optometry, 1998
8 Interesting Facts About Me
- I came to the U.S. in 1986 and attended high school in Dallas, where I learned English as a second language.
- Both of my parents are physicians who graduated from China’s most prestigious medical school, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC). My medical academia upbringing helped to shape my own career in eye care.
- I never had the chance to play sports growing up in communist China, but now I am a mom raising two athletic teens who are competitive fencers.
- I enjoy all forms of performing arts. The Mayor of Houston appointed me to the Miller Outdoor Theatre Advisory Board. I currently serve on the Houston Ballet Board of Trustees.
- I love to read, and I am happy to share this passion with my daughters.
- I love fashion and enjoy working with a talented Houston designer, David Peck, to create much of my consulting/teaching wardrobe.
- My business partner, Dr. Bradley S. Owens, and I were lab partners in optometry school. Now, we have entered our 20th year owning Vision Optique together and caring for over 20,000 patients.
- I founded iTravelCE after my first “CE in Italy” trip hosted by the fantastic trio of Drs. James Fanelli, Joe Pizzimenti, and Carlo Pelino. It was spring 2010, on a rooftop bar in Rome overlooking the Vatican, with a nice bottle of red. I talked about starting a CE company for Asia. Jim, Joe, and Carlo were very encouraging and helpful in starting me on the right track to create a unique destination education program for eye care professionals.
I have been married to Eugene Lee since 2000. We have two teen daughters who enjoy dancing, fencing and listening to music. They are growing up bi-cultural and multi-lingual, and they enjoy traveling around the world with us.
Father – internist, immunologist, cancer research scientist
Mother – internist, nephrologist, cancer/hypertension research scientist
Choosing optometry as a career
As physicians at Peking Union Medical College, my parents were among the first wave of scientists invited to the U.S. as research scholars in 1985. In 1986, I came to Dallas during freshman year of high school. Two years later, my parents were invited to permanently stay in the U.S. After one semester in college, I changed my major from International Business to Biology because I did well in science and medicine is a secure career path for an immigrant. During senior year, I learned about the optometry profession and decided to become an optometrist instead of a dermatologist. I have always been interested in both eye care and skin care. With optometry, the connection between fashion and medicine, the entrepreneurial opportunity, and the ability to manage time as a future mom provided additional reasons to pursue my passion for taking care of people’s precious sight! In 1999, I started Vision Optique with my classmate, Dr. Bradley S. Owens. Vision Optique was selected by Cooper Vision as one of the 2018 Best Practices.
Most rewarding aspects of my professional life
- Helping people see better and thus live better lives
- Inspiring others from all around the world
- Learning and educating, then repeating the process
Least rewarding aspects of my professional life
I love what I do, and I choose to see every challenge as a learning opportunity. My mother taught me to always choose optimism and positivity and to spread love and light everywhere I go. I hope to instill this practice in my daughters and those who I mentor.
Where I work now
Vision Optique: seeing patients 3 days a week and managing the practice
iTravelCE: one CE program to Asia each year
Eyecare Industry: various writing, teaching, consulting, advisory board roles
Mom-on-the-road: traveling with my daughters to their sports competitions
Professional Conferences I Enjoy
I enjoy going to all the major conferences: SECO, Vision Expo, AOA, and international ones
I am very excited to be an invited speaker for these two conferences: Optometric Management Symposium 2018 and SECO 2019.
My practice partner Brad Owens and I enjoyed our first Global Specialty Contact Lens Symposium because we are expanding our specialty contact lens services.
I will be attending my first AAO meeting in San Antonio in November 2018. I have co-authored one paper and one poster on Cequa (SunPharma, 0.09% cyclosporine), both being presented at AAO.
Practice Consultants/Software I Have Worked With
We were one of the original “think tank” practices for the MBA Academy Program by Essilor and Ciba Vision/Alcon Vision in 2007-2010. We learned a lot from that process. In addition, we belong to a private practice focus group called PMA (Practice Management Associates) whose members are all successful private practice owners. We meet twice a year to share best practices. We do not have a consultant.
For office software, we use OfficeMate (OM) & ExamWriter (EW). When Vision Optique opened in 1999, we were one of the original “beta” sites for OfficeMate for quite a few years. In January 2006, we went “paperless” with ExamWriter. We participated in another round of “beta” testing for OM/EW in the past few years.
For Contact Lens delivery/management, we have been one of the “beta” practice locations for CLX since 2016. Most of the features have now been launched.
For management software, we used GLIMPSE until 2017. Currently, we use Gateway EDGE PRO.
My Advice For Young people considering optometry
- Optometry is a great profession, and it provides opportunities for those with entrepreneurial spirits. The entire world will need more of us because of our digitally connected lifestyles and increasing screen time
- Specialize and never stop learning
- Prescribe innovations and share why
What you should know about me
Two quotes from Edward Everett Hale:
- “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
- “To look forward and not back; to look out and not in, and to lend a hand.”