Name: Brandon Cohenmehr 2025 Student Visionary Spotlight

Class Year: 2025

List the award(s) / scholarship(s) you have received
Gregory Hess Scholarship

What does receiving this award or scholarship mean to you?
As an optometry student, my true goal is to become an excellent clinician to provide the best possible care for my future patients. I am elated to receive the Gregory Hess Scholarship, as it affirms to me that my hard work at SUNY thus far is leading to that goal. I am honored to receive this award and will continue to dedicate myself with diligence and pride to the future of optometry.

What are your plans following graduation?
Following graduation, I plan to complete a Cornea and Contact Lens residency at either SUNY or in my hometown, Los Angeles, CA. Struggling from chronic dry eye myself, I have come to appreciate the complexity of the ocular surface and the unfortunate, but common, under-management of ocular surface pathologies. I plan to work in private practice, where I intend to bridge this gap in patient care.

What was your most transformative experience during optometry school?
My most transformative experience during optometry school occurred while scribing for a patient exam in the retina clinic. The patient was a male in his mid-30s with a multitude of pathologies including a Central Retinal Vein Occlusion he encountered while bungee jumping on vacation, a rare type of glaucoma, and fluid building up behind his eye. Here I saw someone who was otherwise a healthy athlete, but was now scared to lift weights out of fear that his ocular pressure will increase further. The patient had reduced vision in that eye and lived with constant fear of complete visual impairment. This experience taught me that we can never assume what people are going through in their lives. Every day, patients around the world are faced with unexpected news. As a provider, it is our job not only to manage disease, but also to treat each individual patient with empathy and compassion.