Dr. Maggie Gibb, Optometrist

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My IRIS clinic is IRIS 628 Lethbridge.  Lethbridge is a medium-sized city of about 100,000 people but services a large agricultural surrounding area here in sunny southern Alberta. One of the advantages of practicing here is the autonomy we have with patient care with great support of local ophthalmologists. We have a great professional community and a local society of optometrists with regular meetings and community involvement.  We service every patient demographic with a large retirement community, many young families, as well as both the Lethbridge college and the University of Lethbridge, bringing in lots of students to the area. This demographic lends itself to having a well-balanced practice in terms of age and pathology. Personally, Lethbridge has everything to offer, being someone who loves being outdoors without a big city's traffic.  This makes it easy to have more family time and take advantage of the proximity to the amazing Canadian Rockies.  We take full advantage of the great outdoors as a family. We love skiing, snowshoeing, winter and summer camping!  My husband and amazing two daughters love rural acreage living with only a 10-minute commute to the office!

 

I am a university of Waterloo optometry grad in 2005 and did my undergrad at Queen's, where I enjoyed rowing out on Lake Ontario and Rideau water system. I was drawn out west even though I'm a northern Ontarian at heart by the skiing, hiking, and biking in the Rockies. I joined IRIS in 2005 and operated between three southern Alberta IRIS locations, opening both the Okotoks and Lethbridge locations. I sealed the deal to join IRIS with our past president and founder, Dr. Jean, over a grilled cheese sandwich and famous double-handed shake.

 

Initially, I had thought about going into orthopedic surgery as a former ski racer; after having many knee surgeries, I was fascinated with sports medicine.  After job shadowing two surgeons for a day in the life of reconstructive surgery, I knew this just wasn't for me. From the smells to the saws, I knew I preferred something a little "neater."  I started down a path in neurophysiology, working with non-human primate animal models and eye movement behaviour in different human disease pathology. I looked so forward to seeing my human patients that I decided I wanted to leave research and focus on patient care.  Optics and math were always my passion, and optometry, with all its new innovations, its rapidly expanding scope, the interaction with patients, and the pleasant office environment, was a real attraction. I also remember my Dad mentioning the optometrists he knew seemed to have a lot of time for golf! 

 

I have been working with IRIS since 2005 and a partner since 2006.  I also have taken an interest in the whole IRIS model and have learned and grown in patient care, running dry eye clinics, and knowing the business in and out from inventory, staffing, to running a closed office from my smartphone during the pandemic!  For the last couple of years, I have had the role of the regional optometric coordinator for southern Alberta, which is a unique role to IRIS. We try and link the professional challenges we face to the operational evolution of an optical company.  I also have a special project in developing a dry eye protocol for IRIS ODs in this growing area of optometry scope. I assist in recruiting new ODs, helping them grow their practice, supporting them with new guidelines, and organizing learning opportunities or even act as a professional opinion. This is a new evolving role to IRIS and shows how innovative and forward-thinking the company is.