Article Date: 10/1/2013

O.D. Scene
O.D. Scene



Rat Pack member Sammy Davis, Jr., once said, “The success of the Rat Pack, or the clan, was due to the camaraderie, the three guys who work together and kid each other and love each other.” The same can be said of the “Rat Pack: Eye Division.” Our love and passion for the profession, in addition to our love and respect for one another, has lead to our collective success.

This month, I wrap up the Rat Pack Eye Division series by speaking with members Paul Karpecki, O.D., F.A.A.O., and Scot Morris, O.D. Paul has mentored many as a KOL; he lectures, writes, advises, has developed strategic plans for several new products and companies and is always involved and present at all the major eyecare meetings. In addition, Paul is a true family man and a very thoughtful friend. For instance at his wedding, he provided individual bottles of wine to each guest he had shared and enjoyed with him/her in the past.

Scot is a writer, speaker, teacher, inventor and, most recently, chief optometric editor of this publication. He has not only done all that can be done as a clinical educator, he has also built one of the premier eyecare practices in the country. I really do not know how he has the time to do it all. And like Paul, he too is a true family man. He is a regular on red-eye flights, so he can ensure he’s home for his boys’ sporting events and family outings — although his kids would rather ski with me.


Key Opinion Leaders Weigh in...

Paul Karpecki, O.D., F.A.A.O., Lexington, Ky. and Scot Morris, O.D., Conifer, Colo.


Dr. Karpecki with wife Chandria and their twins Lauren and Paige.

Q: Can you describe your practice?

PK: The practice is a one-optometrist and two-ophthalmologist practice. Our primary focus is on cornea, [then] secondary care, external disease and tertiary surgery. More than 80% to 90% of the patients in my clinic, which is dedicated to advanced ocular surface and corneal disease, are referred from colleagues. That said, I also treat a significant amount of glaucoma and other eye diseases.

SM: It’s a two-doctor private practice in the foothills outside of Denver that specializes in ocular surface disease and specialty contact lenses.

Q: What are your responsibilities as a key optometric leader?

PK: ... I think any leadership really requires leading by example. Leadership can’t be said, only shown through actions of integrity, compassion, honesty, hard work, caring, etc. But I think the best definition I’ve ever heard of leadership is from John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, who said that “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

SM: Three things: (1) Help further the profession through political and corporate program initiatives, (2) communicate what is important to our peers to corporate entities and (3) communicate with our peers about items that can help improve their practices and further the profession.

Q: What do the other KOL members mean to you?

PK: It comes down to friendships and relationships... The optometric profession is filled with wonderful individuals and, as a whole, our collective values seem to be relatively well aligned.

SM: We have a fraternity of sorts because of the trials we have all gone through to get to this point in our careers. My peer group is composed of my most trusted and respected friends.

Q: What drives you to get on the road to lecture, and how many lectures do you give a year?


The Morris family at Lake Dillon in Frisco, Colo.

PK: I admit that there are times I get on the road or on a plane and wonder why am I doing this again. And yet, when I lecture, and colleagues come up and talk about how much [the lecturing] helps them professionally or that something they read or heard made a difference to a patient or lives, it really keeps me going and makes me realize immediately why I do this. I conduct roughly 150 lectures a year.

SM: The hope that I change the viewpoint and practice of one doctor that affects one patient in some positive way. I give more than 100 lectures a year.

Q: What advice would you give to a new graduate?

PK: One, I would tell him/her to take pride in the profession. It is [comprised of] a wonderful group of colleagues. Two, I would recommend he/she advances his/her knowledge as much as possible, whether through a residency or just gaining insights of practices when the graduate starts his/her own professional work. Three, I think he/she should try to stay in touch with colleagues, read, attend major meetings and continue to play a role in the profession’s advancement. Also, I would advise the new graduate to stay humble as he/she gets successful, work hard, and always maintain integrity and have fun.


Drs. Gaddie and Karpecki, and respective daughters hanging out.

SM: Find someone to teach him/her the ropes of the multifaceted career of optometry. Though we may learn a great deal in school about the didactic side of our profession, most graduates have a great deal to learn about communicating the politics of the profession and, most of all, the business side. Also, residencies are crucial in my opinion, but I am biased. I would not be where I am today, had I not done a residency. I met my wife during my residency, my best friend (Dr. Gaddie) and some of my best mentors.

Q: What is your prediction for the future of our profession?

PK: ... Even in light of concerns, such as too many optometry schools and online contact lens and spectacle sales, I think the future is extremely bright. For one, the size of the baby boomer generation is just getting to the point at which the need for eye care will increase significantly. As an example, there will be more cataract surgeries than there are surgeons, and, therefore, most of ophthalmology will focus on surgery... I would like to see optometry own medical eye care in addition to contact lenses and the optical. Thus, I see a very vibrant, exciting future for optometry, if we are proactive.

SM: As long as we keep our focus on providing great vision with a great experience, our future is bright.

Q: Who are the members of your family, and what do you do for fun?

PK: I am very blessed. I am married to the woman of my dreams, who I met roughly eight years ago through an ophthalmology/optometry group. I have beautiful twin girls who are almost two years old and a baby boy expected this month. Ultimately, this is the greatest gift that has happened to me and is something I take great pride in as a dedicated father and husband.

In terms of fun, I enjoy traveling and experiencing new things and being around friends and family. I have studied wine for many years and appreciate the aspect of continued learning and to enjoy good wines with friends.

SM: I have two boys, Andrew, 10, and A.J., age eight, who are the best things in my life (after my wife). They are good students, great athletes and love the outdoors. I could not be prouder of the outstanding young men they are becoming. My wife, Kelly, is a surgical rep for Bausch + Lomb and one of the best in the business for close to 20 years now. She is not only my best friend, but she is also an incredible businesswoman, who has been instrumental in many of the things that I have accomplished in my life.

With regard to fun, I am a total outdoorsman. I can go hiking, camping and hunting and be so incredibly happy. In another life, I must have been a frontiersman.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, living or deceased, who would it be and why?


The Morris family “horsing around” on their ranch.

PK: Jesus. I mean, I am not only a strong Christian, but also the fact that He is one of the few people who truly changed the world forever. No matter your religion, there is respect and understanding of what Jesus did. Next, it would be my father. I miss him greatly, and it would be wonderful to have one more dinner with him.

SM: God. There are a lot of questions I want to ask — not that I deserve the answers, but I sure am curious.

Q: What is the last book you read?

PK: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don’t (HarperBusiness, 2001). I first read this book at least a decade or more ago and thought there were a lot of good notes and points to it that have helped me from a business stand-point. I decided to go back and look at my notes and where I had highlighted and written things to the side. I still think this is an incredible book that helps any company or practice understand the basics of what makes a difference to succeed as a business.


The Morris clan “chilling out” atop an Alaskan glacier.

SM: The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care (Basic Books, 2012). Thank you, Leo Semes, O.D. Our future is already in our hands.

Q: What kind of music do you have on your iPod or iPad?

PK: I have a variety for sure. I like classical music, Christian music, jazz, country and classic rock.

SM: I like it all. Right now, I have Garth Brooks, Gotye, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Alison Krauss, Nickelback, Rihanna, Ottmar Liebert, Zac Brown and Louis Armstrong on there.

Q: Any last thoughts about the profession of optometry?

PK: I feel very privileged to be able to contribute to a profession with so many wonderful individuals. There is an incredible warmth and kindness among our profession. We have a very good and honest group of individuals who work hard and want to do the best for their patients. I am humbled to be able to contribute and hope that the values of our profession remain consistent no matter how successful the profession may get.

SM: Life order (the six Fs): Faith, Family, Fitness, Friends, Finances and Future. Do your best at these (in that order), and forget the rest. They just don’t matter.

Travel, Food & Wine


Kirk L. Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O., Morrow, Ga.

Best Places to Eat

My absolute favorite restaurants

Each year, S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna reveal “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” at My personal top restaurants in the United States are:

▪ ALINEA (Chicago, III.) American chef and restaurateur Grant Achatz is best know for his deconstructions of classic flavors. He blends food with science and art at his Michelin 3 star restaurant.


Alinea, in Chicago, III., holds 3 stars.

▪ DANIEL (New York, N.Y.) Chef Daniel Boulud is simply the best traditional French chef in America. If you want a special meal for an anniversary or birthday, this is the place. Be prepared to relax for at least three hours for this meal.

▪ ELEVEN MADISON PARK (New York, N.Y.) Some argue this is #1. The dining room is flooded with light, and the winter photograph of Madison Park is captivating. Try this for lunch.


NYC is home to five faves.

▪ JEAN-GEORGES (New York, N.Y.) One of the most famous chefs in America, his Alsatian upbringing is reflected in his culinary creations.

▪ LE BERNARDIN (New York, N.Y.) Fish. Glorious fish. French chef Eric Ripert creates the best seafood dishes ever. The newly decorated dining room is a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy this Michelin 3 star cuisine.


Getting a reservation at The French Laundry is a challenge.

▪ PER SE (New York, N.Y.) As much as I dislike superlatives, this is the best restaurant in the United States. The daily menu is an inspiration to the art of food.

▪ THE FRENCH LAUNDRY (Yountville, Calif.) Surely the most difficult restaurant reservation in the United States. American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller’s original location continues to please even the most difficult of palates.

▪ THE RESTAURANT AT MEADOWOOD (St. Helena, Calif.) If there is a unique “California Cuisine” this would be the place to sample it. The menu is full of favorite recipes using only the freshest of ingredients.


I only recently discovered Trentino-Alto Adige from the northernmost regions of eastern Italy. This DOC (Denominzione di Origine Controllata) varietal is also referred to as Sud-Tirol. These crisp, dry white wines are wonderful with fish and pasta dishes, and, surprisingly, with asparagus presentations, which is a very difficult trick to pull off. The chlorophyll-driven green flavor that’s part of what makes it delightful clashes with a lot of wines. Besides the Alto Adige you could go for a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume from France’s Loire Valley, a Gruner Veltliner from Austria (mentioned in a previous article) or an Alsatian Riesling. Stay away from the oaky chardonnays or tannic reds.


Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: October 2013, page(s): 38 - 41