Dr. Anna Griffith: Strengthening Eyes for Learning

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Dr. Anna Griffith, optometrist at Family Eye Care Optometry in Chico, has a passion for children and her work. “I love children and thought that I might become a teacher,” she says. “Then I became interested in optometry and vision therapy. The work fits me in so many ways. I work with children, I teach, and I am in a healthcare field.”

Following her undergraduate work at UC Davis, her degree in optometry from UC Berkeley, and her residency at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, Anna moved to Chico where she was born and raised. She found it stimulating and challenging to return to her hometown and become the only optometrist doing vision therapy.

“Vision therapy has lots of different facets,” explains Anna. “I treat conditions that putting on a pair of glasses won’t correct, like eye tracking and focusing problems, eye turns and ‘lazy’ eyes, or poor ability of the eyes to work well together.” Anna further reports that she learns about her patients and their problem and customizes treatment to meet the individual needs and personality. Jenny Johnston, mother of one of Anna’s patients, says, “Anna always has the best interest of my daughter at heart. She is excellent at knowing what energy should be exerted and what techniques to use each week.”

Anna discovered her interest in optometry toward the end of college. In one of her classes she learned not only about the physiology of the eye but also how important the eyes are in understanding general health.

art-1213-btc3Through further study, she gained a greater awareness of the difficulties children have in school, both academically and with self-esteem, in cases where even though a child has 20/20 vision, the child’s eyes don’t work correctly. She knew she wanted to help. “I loved school,” says Anna, “and I want to give children who are struggling and becoming discouraged a chance to like school, too.  I don’t want a visual skill problem to keep them from reaching their full potential.”

Dr. David Clarke, optometrist and owner of Family Eye Care, says, “I’ve been impressed with the success Anna has had with vision therapy and the difference it has made in the lives of the kids she has worked with.” Jenny Johnston couldn’t agree more. “A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought that my daughter Alli would be able to read the way that she does now.”

As a person who loves activity and the outdoors, Anna enjoys camping, hiking, nature photography and team sports. She played on the women’s basketball team at UC Davis and currently plays on volleyball and ultimate Frisbee teams through the Chico Area Recreation and Park District. In the future, she plans to use her knowledge of sports and vision training to train local athletes.

Anna enjoys reading for professional growth and pleasure. “I generally read light fiction at the end of the day,” she says. “It’s very relaxing.” She draws inspiration from her family and other key relationships: “My parents, my brother, and other important people in my life have made me who I am,” she says. “I’m fortunate.”

Anna authors professional articles and has written for Scientific American, The Enterprise Record and other publications. She wants to educate parents and teachers about vision problems through her writing. “I’m hoping awareness increases so that more children will be helped,” she says. In October, she was awarded a fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry, an honor for her clinical and academic work.

Dr. Anna Griffith with Family Eye Care Optometry owner Dr. David Clarke.

Dr. Anna Griffith with Family Eye Care Optometry owner Dr. David Clarke.

Involvement in the Active 20/30 Club of Chico, an organization with the goal of improving the quality of life for the children in the local community, gives Anna an additional way of serving children.

As a professional, as a friend and as a family person, what Anna wants people to know about her is that she cares. That is reflected by Dr. Clarke who says, “Anna is caring, thoughtful, and conscientious … she is a joy to work with.”  In her first year practicing in Chico, Anna has helped many children who were struggling in school as a result of their vision problems. She hopes to help many more in the future.

To contact Anna call (530) 899-3939. 

[sws_blue_box box_size=”590″]The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature a community member from the North State who is actively making a difference in the lives of children and families. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to pn@northstateparent.com. [/sws_blue_box]

 

Carolyn Warnemuende
About Carolyn Warnemuende

Author Carolyn Warnemuende has two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Redding. She writes parenting and educational articles, sponsors a school in Uganda, and visits Africa twice a year. She receives great joy in taking daily care of her four-year-old granddaughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.

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