Spring 2018
ICO Matters essentials with Molly O'Shaughnessy Johnson Spring 2018

Essentials: Molly O’Shaughnessy Johnson, OD ’13, FAAO

While the profession of optometry boasts many modes of practice, some are perceived as more glamorous than others. One area that definitely deserves more attention is the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This government agency provides near-comprehensive medical care to eligible people who served in the military. ICO’s Practice Opportunities Symposium brings VA optometrists to campus each year to celebrate this important work.

Following her graduation, Molly O’Shaughnessy Johnson, OD ’13, FAAO, completed an Ocular Disease and Low Vision Residency at the Jesse Brown and Hines VA Medical Centers in Chicago. Having grown up in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Johnson now cares for American heroes closer to home. She practices at the VA Medical Center in Miami.

Dr. Johnson’s job responsibilities are wide. Her duties at the Miami VAMC include primary care optometry, student externship coordination, and resident oversight. It takes a special personality to do things “The VA way.” Here are Dr. Johnson’s Essentials for VA practice:

Sharing the Symphony

“My husband works at the symphony on South Beach. One of my favorite events is when they broadcast the concerts on their 7000-square foot outdoor wall for the whole family to enjoy. Factor in a picnic, bottle of wine, and an ocean breeze… who could ask for more?”


The Three Bears

“I still talk almost daily with my co-residents, despite us living across the country from one another. We discuss interesting cases, stressful patient encounters, and exciting life events.”


ICO alumnus Molly with her baby and husband

It’s The VA Way

“All processes seem to take twice as long as expected, and have three times as many steps as seem necessary. Luckily, we save a lot of time not having to deal with the worries and restrictions of insurance.”


A Nationwide Network

“No matter how short of a walk I’m taking through the halls of the VA, I’m never been greeted by less than 5 people. Thanks to our sense of community, I have the ability to instant message any employee in any VA across the country. I can even ask questions to my best friend, a pharmacist in South Carolina.”


VA Hospital

Chart Stalking

“We are able to take continuity of care to the next level at the VA thanks to having access to all the patients’ records, labs, radiology images etc. This has allowed systemic connections to ocular disease that might otherwise have been missed. I even check medication compliance by seeing how frequently they request refills from the pharmacy.”



“If you’ve been wondering if the hype about Cuban coffee is true, yes. Yes, it is. It’s love at first sip.” 


ICO alumnus Molly with her baby

Second Hand Hand I’ll Rock That

“An unexpected perk of snow birds: there is great thrifting to be done in South Florida! Most of our furniture has come from thrift shops.”


(Jon) Snow Days

“Miami is notorious for traffic (due to bad drivers aplenty), but I keep calm by listening to audiobooks. I’m currently enjoying Game of Thrones.”


Watch Out For Falling Coconuts!

“We love to use a free evening or weekend to spend time at the beach, but most of the time we stick to our backyard. We just have to stay clear of our palm tree that has a tendency to throw big coconuts at us. My husband has a hard hat for mowing the lawn!”

coconut tree

Don’t Cry, Baby

“My most listened to song of all time is Cry Baby by CeeLo Green. I know that sounds like a strange choice, but ever since my son was one week old, he will stop crying every time it is played. Every. Time. Without fail. Fourteen months later, and well… I trust you get the point.”

CeeLo Green portrait

The “Diabetes Drawer”

“In addition to the Munchies mix that can be perpetually found in my desk, we have a communal drawer stocked with chocolate in the optometry office.”

picture of chocolate

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