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Benedictine University alumni are extraordinary! To view all of our Featured Alumni click here.
Pranali (Mehta) Sirohi, O.D., C05, earned her B.S. in Health Science from Benedictine University. She was featured in the Winter 2016 issue of Voices magazine.
When Pranali Sirohi reflects on her time as a student at Benedictine, it’s the career guidance and preparation for her future she received that stands out the most. Today, she is an accomplished optometrist and small business owner in Naperville. She runs her own practice, The Eye World, along with her husband and is the proud parent of a newborn son.
“Benedictine really prepared me for my future experiences,” Sirohi said. “It was not only the detailed knowledge I gained from my classes, but in interacting with classmates and studying together that helped prepare me as well. My professors were also instrumental in guiding me in the right direction.”
As a member of the Optometry Club, she formed a close network with other like-minded students and consulted with them on which classes to take, asked questions about the profession, found a job shadowing opportunity and was able to research and compare notes on different optometry schools.
While in school, Sirohi became an optician at a local vision center at which she was able to shadow an optometrist, interact with patients, sell eyewear and learn more about the eye care profession. “It was an exciting opportunity,” Sirohi said. “I learned all the ins and outs of this fi¬eld before I started optometry school. The experience made my transition to my career smoother as I knew what to expect.”
After earning her Doctor of Optometry, she started working for a retail vision services chain. While she was able to gain important experience in the position, she soon realized this particular work environment, which drew an exceptionally high volume of patients, wasn’t for her. After two years, she decided to open her own practice at which she could spend more time diagnosing and treating people on a more one-on-one and personal level.
“The journey was like a rollercoaster ride with all the ups and downs of starting a business,” Sirohi said. “Nevertheless, nothing stopped me from doing what I always wanted to do, and in January 2013 my husband and I opened The Eye World.
“I must say it is not an easy task to own and run a small business,” she added. “There are many small things in everyday operations that need to be taken care of, but the satisfaction of doing what you love overcomes the stress you go through. I spend most of my time with patients, medical billing and continuing education to keep myself up-to-date with current medical research. Balancing both roles after three years is getting better with each coming month.”
At her practice, she provides comprehensive eye exams and consults with patients who have various eye injuries and diseases, such as glaucoma. She also provides free eye exams and eyeglasses to low-income patients, and for every patient who purchases a pair of glasses, she donates a pair to a resident of the community in fi¬nancial need.
Her medical expertise has also helped underprivileged people thousands of miles away. While on a mission trip to India, she and other medical professionals provided eye exams to 500 people living in a remote village, 100 of whom needed cataract surgery.
“My education in optometry made me realize how important our vision is and how some things should not be taken for granted,” Sirohi said. “I wanted to be able to give back to the poor and needy, and the gift of improved eyesight is the most rewarding thing to anyone who cannot see clearly.”
For students who are interested in following her footsteps, Sirohi recommends completing prerequisites in Health Science or Biology during the fi¬rst two years of undergraduate study to have the time to prepare for the Optometry Admission Test, visit optometry schools, shadow optometrists or work as an optician to get more experience.
She stays connected to Benedictine through faculty and friends and has hired Benedictine students who are interested in becoming future optometrists. “As an alumnus and someone who values time spent at Benedictine, I think it is important to help prospective students come one step closer toward their dreams for a profession,” Sirohi said.
“I love everything about my profession,” she added. “Owning my practice has allowed me to spend more time with patients and educate them about their eyes. Spending quality time, diagnosing, treating and providing quality eye care is what I enjoy most.”