Gayle Karanges, OD
I choose Optometry because I am able to help patients improve their vision and maintain healthy eyes.The eyes reflect so much about our general health and I promote good health and wellness in my eye care practice. I have been in practice here in Arlington for over 30 years and am considered one of the leading eye care practitioners in this area. I am trained to diagnose and manage very complex vision disorders including Keratoconus, Diabetic eye conditions and dry eyes.
In my free time, I enjoy time with my daughters, Kelsey and Karli. My interests include fitness training, yoga, running, and competing in cutting horse events. I also enjoy traveling and attending continuing education in the field of Optometry.
In my journey, I always wanted to be self-employed. Growing up, I taught riding lessons as I was a skilled equestrian at a very young age. I competed in equestrian events since the age of 5. I also found I had a passion for helping people. The human body was also very interesting to me, so I wanted to pursue a profession in healthcare.
My role model was my mom. She was a registered nurse and eventually ran a primary care physician’s office. She always told me I could do anything I set my mind to. There are no boundaries even as a woman. You can have a family and have a successful career as well. I can remember her working all throughout my childhood, which was not that common in the 1960s. In many ways, she was ahead of her time when she became a nurse and an office manager, raising 3 girls and being our strongest advocate at the same time.
Besides my mom as a role model, I always loved historical women such as Joan of Arc, who led an army in France, and Susan B Anthony, who rallied for women’s rights.
I feel Dr. Nguyen and I do very thorough eye exams and spend more time evaluating a person’s vision and how their general health affects their eyes long term. We have full diagnostic capabilities and can detect conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions at the time of the eye exam. We work closely with PCP’s in our area, co-managing patients who are diabetic or have other health issues which affect their eyes. We also have a full service optical and can handle all prescription needs regarding eyewear and contact lenses. We have a very affordable selection of frames, including high-end designers like Tom Ford, Tiffany, and Ferragamo to name a few.
I want to inspire women to believe they can have it all if they are willing to work hard and be disciplined in life. I have 2 daughters who I encourage daily to do their best, take risks and push thru all life’s challenges that come along.
And be passionate about your work. Then, it doesn’t really feel like work:
- Tell us the journey that has brought you to where you are today.
- I am actually an immigrant to the United States. I was born in Vietnam, and when I was only 5 months old, my parents and some relatives fled in a small boat, trying to make it to America. We ended up in a refugee camp in the Philippines for a couple of years before we were supposed to come to the US. I am the oldest of 4 siblings, and the only one who was born in Vietnam. My parents tell us stories about the trip and why they decided to leave their home country in search of a “better life” for their children. I would say my journey started the day that my parents decided to leave Vietnam for better opportunities for their family. I always try to remember how hard they worked to provide for a family of 7 with one working parent, making minimum wage. However, in the end, they did it! As a child, I didn’t understand how difficult it was, but now, I do. That pushed me to do well in school and do everything I can to make them proud. I was the very first for everything; first to drive, first to have a job, and first to graduate from school. I had to make sure that I was setting a good example for my brothers and sisters as well.
- Who was your role model as a child?
- My mom, of course! She had to take care of 5 kids while sewing at home to make money. I remember sometimes coming home from school and helping her cut thread or fold the patterns, so she could sew them together. She was the true definition of a super mom.
- When you were a young woman or child, what did you aspire to become?
- The stigma that Asian parents want their kids to become doctors is true! My parents hoped that I would go to medical school and become a doctor, and I wanted to become that for them and for myself. Eventually, I realized that med school wasn’t for me, so instead of being a medical doctor, I became an eye doctor instead.
- What would you say sets you apart from others in the industry?
- We are not just doing glasses and contacts! We are a full medical practice that can diagnose and treat ocular diseases. We evaluate for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, keratoconus, infections and so much more. What I am really excited about is that we do cosmetic procedures, such as eyelash extensions, lash lift, microblading, and Thermi eye in our office! Everyone should feel good and confident in their appearance, and I am so happy we can help with that.
- Where does your professional experience lie?
- I have practiced in all types of practices; retail, ophthalmology and now private practice.
- Do you have any words of wisdom that might inspire someone?
- “Be good.” Be good to others, be good to yourself, be good to your patients, and be good to your family. That’s the first step to achieving greatness in anything you do. And listen! Don’t just hear what the patients are saying, but listen to what, how and why! Being able to connect with your patients is the first step in building a good relationship and foundation for them to trust in your care.