Justin Holt, O.D.
Originally from Virginia, Dr. Justin Holt moved to Sandy, Utah with his family when he was 12 years old. As a kid, the move was welcomed, landing him right in the center of recreation as far as the eye could see. Between cycling, skiing, and track and field, his schedule was full of activity, but it wasn't until he started weightlifting that he found his true athletic passion.
He enrolled at BYU in Provo, Utah, when it came time for college and, though he was larger than half the football team, thanks to weightlifting, decided to join their cheerleading team instead. The football team ended up ranked fourth, while his cheer squad took second place in the country. During his time at BYU, he traveled to Spain for a semester abroad and fell in love with the country, its people, and its culture. The semester stretched into two years, and he returned to the U.S. fluent in Spanish with a newfound appreciation for the diversity of the world around him. He also found his calling in medicine and a passion for optometry with the only bi-lingual program in the country, he enrolled in Puerto Rico's Inter-American University to study optometry determined to one day diagnose and treat Spanish speakers in their native tongue. He graduated in 2003 and returned to Utah for residency at Salt Lake's Veterans' Memorial Hospital before studying at the University of Utah Moran Eye Center.
It was here that he met another young resident who would later co-found Ridge Eye Care, Dr. Isaac Barthelow.
Dr. Holt worked for the largest optometry and ophthalmology practice in Utah for 10 years before opening his own practice. He ran every facet of his small business for 10 more years before receiving an invitation from Dr. Barthelow to head up a new practice just north of Chico, in Anderson, California. He visited, loved the vibe, and accepted the offer.
"I love working at Anderson Eye Care," Dr. Holt began. "I'm much more interested in practicing eye care and medicine than running a business, and the move allowed me to finally do just that. I get to focus on patient care and just wear one hat rather than also moonlight as an accountant, HR team, etc. I also really enjoy the community. The people here are amazingly kind and generous. No disrespect to Utah, but it seems like wherever I am, from the freeways to the office, everyone is just so pleasant and thoughtful. I was really taken aback by it in the beginning." At Anderson Eye Care, Dr. Holt has finally been able to spread his bilingual wings. "I have a larger population of native Spanish speakers here." Dr. Holt said, "It's so rewarding to see their guards come down as soon as I enter the room and conduct their exam in Spanish. They are able to better explain their issues, and I can provide better treatment as there isn't a language barrier. Nothing is left to interpretation and they truly feel they are being heard, which makes a massive difference in not only diagnosing the issue but how completely we can treat it as well."
In regards to his new workplace, he continued, "In Anderson, we have the latest technology I didn't have in private practice; not just bells and whistles, but truly sight-saving technology. The earlier we can detect pathology, the sooner we can treat it and make sure things like macular degeneration don't turn into vision loss. It's a very underserved area, and we have a high quantity of patients, but all of our energy is spent on patient care, so we can do considerably more with our time. Each doctor spends at least one day at Shasta Community Health Center each month, helping folks that wouldn't have eyecare otherwise. We aren't just looking at the bottom line, we're looking at the patient's quality of life.
As a final note, he made sure to mention that truly effective care is more than just one doctor's work. "Doctors Barthelow and Rudick have both done a great job at putting together a group of providers with the same mentality." Dr. Holt said, "We don't take ourselves too seriously, and everyone from the doctors to the staff are friendly and approachable. Patients feel comfortable because of it, and we always get compliments from staff while in the exam rooms. I have to give management all the credit for it. They really found the most amazing individuals." Though Dr. Holt loves our non-sub-zero winters, he is still undecided about our summer heat waves.