Ryan C. Knox is home.
The 26-year-old optometrist joined the family business at Meade Optical in August after spending years getting an education in southern Florida.
He knew he wanted to join his fathers practice when he realized he wanted to pursue optometry.
I always liked it, he said. It was something I grew up with and Ive been fascinated with the eye. You can see anything and everything. You can diagnose things from tumors to diabetes. Thats what impressed me.
His father, Ronald J. Knox, and mother, Susan B. Knox, own Meade Optical. Ronald started working there in 1995, and Ryan remembers the office as a second home.
However, his dad said he did not outright influence his sons decision to become an optometrist.
He was allowed to pursue whatever avenue he wanted, Ronald said. I figured it would be something in the health care avenue.
Ryan graduated from Watertown High School in 2004 and from Queens University with a bachelors degree in biology with honors in 2008. From there, he moved to Fort Lauderdale to attend Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry.
I missed the change in the seasons and the people, he said. People in the north county are good-natured folks.
He also missed seeing his family. His mother and father always flew to Florida to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with him.
He spent his time there working at a total of five offices to get on-the-job training before graduating this year. At Meade, he has the same job duties as his father, such as comprehensive exams, refractive surgery consultations and glaucoma follow-ups.
Sometimes, the patients look a little familiar. Ryan has seen former teachers and classmates on the job in the past few months.
I do like that a lot, he said. Its like seeing an old friend.
With his arrival came new technology in contacts. He introduced a nonsurgical response to Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery to the office that involves putting ridged contact lenses in overnight. When the contacts are taken out, the wearer can see clearly.
He also helps manage the office, an experience he says graduate school did not prepare him for.
Its not just about seeing patients, Ronald said. Hes been a real asset to the office already. We certainly are proud of him.
Ronald joked that Ryan will take his place as Meades owner when he retires. However, Ryan does not plan to pursue other job offers right now.
Im not going anywhere at this point,he said. Its always been home and it can always be home.
Meade Optical, 1000 Washington St., is having a holiday meet-and-greet from 6 to 8 p.m. today. Refreshments will be served.