Pediatric Optometry with Dr. Sarah Galt
Sarah Galt, OD, FAAO, grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Georgia and was on the pre-med track, then attended the University of Houston College of Optometry, where she earned her doctorate. Here, she was “lucky” to participate in pediatric, special needs, and severe traumatic brain injury clinics. This experience helped direct Dr. Galt towards her residency and ultimately her career:
The clinics were held on Wednesdays. When the clinic let out each day, Dr. Galt carried a particular level of energy and excitement about her, as well as new stories and ideas. When she was trying to decide on the direction of her residency, a friend asked Dr. Galt what it was she did on Wednesdays; whatever it was, she should do that.
Dr. Galt went to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry for her residency and, as she says, she had the most fabulous, wonderful residency director who provided the most fruitful and educational residency. Through the program, Dr. Galt did a lot of work with the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and gained specific experience in mild brain injury and concussions by working with the university football team.
These early experiences shaped not only Dr. Galt’s career, but also her views on the most important aspects of what she does. For instance, she believes that a genuine interest in a patient’s outcome is the foundation of what makes someone a good optometrist. Attention to detail and an ability to communicate are important, too. And when it comes to pediatric optometry, you need patience, the ability to lose your ego and be silly, and more patience. At the Eye Center of Northern Colorado, where she sees a variety of patients referred from local optometrists and pediatricians, Dr. Galt and her highly skilled and trained team are enthusiastic about working with kids. It’s not easy, she says, but it’s exciting and it’s fun. “The diversity of patient care gets me excited to get up in the morning.” Dr. Galt also notes that there’s an energy when a toddler is around that is just so fun.
As a pediatric optometrist offering comprehensive optometric care, Dr. Galt looks at the picture of ocular health, including each refractive surface and making sure her patients are getting a good, crisp image through the eye to the optic nerve and into the brain. Because it’s the brain that actually does the visual processing; it’s the brain that “sees.” This is one thing Dr. Galt hopes everyone comes to understand, that the visual system is ultimately a brain system of control and functions, which is an example of how everything in the human body is connected and works together. That said, all the things you know are good for your body are good for your eyes, too – red, orange, purple, and green foods are good for your ocular system; daily activity and going outside are good for your vascular system, which is highly involved in the health of your eyes.
Dr. Galt also wants parents to remember that their kids are incredibly adaptable. When the Eye Center team asks that kids patch or wear glasses full time, with the help of their parents’ positive and encouraging attitude, the kids tend to be really great about it, because they’re intrinsically good at adapting to their circumstances. This also means that kids may be able to function very well without their best possible vision, which is why it’s important for young kids to have an eye exam. Dr. Galt herself didn’t get glasses until she was in her early 20s and found out she has hyperopia (farsightedness); she probably should have had glasses much earlier.
When she’s not at the Eye Center, Dr. Galt can be found in the mountains – they’re what drew her to Colorado, after all. She finds a great sense of balance between hiking, skiing, and backpacking, and helping her patients and their families at the Eye Center.